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A popular Sicilian chef has been arrested on drug charges despite his protests that he was using them to explore contemporary flavours.

At Carmelo Chiaramonte’s home in Trecastagni, officers said that they found two marijuana plants and 500 grams of Indian hemp. Additionally, they said that they found wines, olives, coffee and tuna, all infused with cannabis.

Chiaramonte has been released pending trial, claiming that he was an “agro-food consultant for third millennium cuisine” and that the possession was a part of him “researching new flavours.”

Chiaramonte hosts several shows around Sicily and Italy and is known for his cuisine at the Katane Palace Hotel in Catania.