Lauren Gockley, Chief Innovation Officer/ Co-Founder, Coda Signature Digs Into Five Questions
The second time I ever went to Denver was roughly 2019, and I had a chance to visit Coda Signature when they were still in their infancy. That’s not to say they were inexperienced, far from… Just new to the world of fine cannabis edibles. A tangle of aromatics and flavors, leading into an opus of sweet to tangy to memorable. This company is interested in quality over sheer “tonnage” … I mean, anyone can get you high. Coda Signature takes the experience of cannabis and raises the bar to another level. It’s really a pleasure to introduce you to Lauren Gockley, the CIO, and Co-Founder of Coda Signature.
Thank you, WB
Warren Bobrow: Lauren, would you kindly tell me about your company? When did you get started? What was your inspiration? Did you have a mentor/advisor in business? Who? Did you have a culinary or retail background before taking on a project such as Coda Signature?
Lauren Gockley: Coda Signature was founded in 2015 with a clear vision: To set the standard of excellence in the cannabis industry. The brand is inspired by the language of music—a coda is the chef’s kiss that completes the story of the musical composition with an expressive flourish all its own. We believe the experience of cannabis should begin simply with the highest quality cannabis oil. Coda Signature’s collection of infused edibles and topicals tells a story through exciting colors, bold flavors, and luxurious aromas that harmonize seamlessly with impeccable craftsmanship and quality ingredients.
My father has been the biggest inspiration and mentor in my life. He committed his career to immortalizing the world of opera by creating the space for new and innovative productions of opera classics as well as opportunities for contemporary composers to tell their stories through song. He is a masterful listener and compassionate leader.
I have been working in the culinary world for almost 20 years. I have been blessed to have a wealth of different experiences, from my time in France at Valrhona’s L’ École Du Grand Chocolate and the Parisian pastry shops of Pierre Hermé to the fine-dining restaurants of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Thomas Keller. I also spent several years as a raw vegan chocolatier where I gained a totally new understanding of chocolate and flavor creation using unconventional ingredients. As I focused my work more on chocolate in the 2010s, I saw an opportunity in the regulated cannabis industry, which had just started taking off in Colorado. The chance to combine chocolate with cannabis was too amazing to pass up, and I knew I was in a unique position to bring my culinary expertise to an industry that was ready for it.
WB: Please tell me about your six and twelve-month goals? How do you intend to deal with obstacles regarding stigmas surrounding cannabis and edibles?
LG: Over the next six months, we will be expanding both our luxury and wellness product lines. In the next year, Coda is planning to expand into at least two new markets.
According to BDSA Consumer Research, 73% of adults nationwide are now “bought-in” to consuming cannabis. Understanding that many such individuals are unfamiliar with today’s infused products, Coda believes strongly that microdose products are an essential factor in safe and customizable experiences. We are one of the few companies in the edibles category to defy the industry “standard serving size” with our new 1mg THC Fruit Notes that launched earlier this year. We continue to introduce products into the market that showcase minor cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, CBC, and most recently, THCv. The market is no longer driven solely by milligrams of THC per dollar. Innovative products with minor cannabinoids are rapidly taking top-selling positions, allowing consumers to curate a cannabis experience that is just right for them.
WB: When you enjoy (Coda Signature’s) products, do you have any suggestions for their use? The bath products obviously are self-explanatory, but the chocolates? Maybe pairing with some kind of beverage or food? Or after a meal? Or during the day. What are your thoughts?
LG: There is a ton of opportunity to find culinary inspiration with our edibles. I love hearing when our customers develop their own creations using our products. In fact, that was a huge motivation behind our Fruit Notes line. Even though our Fruit Notes are a sweet confection, I love to pair them with a savory canape or a cocktail/mocktail. This elevates the cannabis edibles experience beyond just popping a gummy and invites cannabis consumers to join us in the kitchen. Some of my favorite pairings include the Strawberry & Rhubarb Fruit Note with goat cheese on a cracker and Coconut & Lime Fruit Note with grilled shrimp.
WB: What are your favorite foods for your cannabis journeys? Do you cook? What is your favorite thing to prepare? Do you have recipes from your family history that inspire you?
LG: When I am preparing for a cannabis journey, I always want to make sure I can have lots of different tastes and textures available. This may sound like a bizarre pairing, but a cheese plate and fresh oysters may be one of my favorite things to eat while experiencing cannabis—or anytime, for that matter. I am eagerly awaiting the invention of the cannabis-infused oyster.
(Author’s Note: Maybe down in Charleston; deep-fried in a cornmeal crust and napped with a canna-beurre blanc?)
Yes, I do cook a lot. I really enjoy making sauces. I love that in French kitchens there is an entire position, the Saucier, dedicated to just making sauces. It demands rigorous technique, a delicate hand, and a wealth of patience. A great sauce can elevate any meal, and as my grandmother, Mimi used to say, “can hide a multitude of sins.”
Mimi was a chef and caterer, and she made such incredible food. The one mainstay at every meal was her “Mimi Rolls.” Every time I make them, I am transported back to her dinner table. That simple roll is a perfect example of how food can act like a time machine bringing memories to life.
WB: What is your passion?
LG: Simply put, my passion comes from creating beautiful things and sharing them with others. Every day brings new opportunities to create. This industry is a constant source of inspiration, driving us to find new and exciting ways to exceed the desires of our customers for delicious flavors and bright experiences that elevate one’s well-being.
Lauren Gockley: Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Coda Signature