2020 Culinary Trends

Food is like fashion - what is in vogue today, could be off the menu tomorrow.

In the Spring 2020 issue of Halal Consumer MagazineChef Demetrios Haralambatos, Corporate Executive Chef for Kontos Foods, provides a “dictionary” of culinary treasures expected to become prominent over the next five years.



Chef Demetrios, who is a regular contributor to Halal Consumer, a publication from the Islamic Food & Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), cites trending ethnic cuisines. For instance, Americans first embraced Italian and Chinese food and then Mexican and regional Southern and Tex Mex cuisines. More recently, he says, GreekIndianJamaicanJapanese and Thai cuisines have gained popularity as well.
The next ethnic cuisines expected to hit the American culinary spotlight include: EgyptianLebaneseMoroccanPalestinianPersian and Turkish cuisines. While these these cuisines are currently available in select demographic areas, more restaurants featuring them are opening, and it is anticipated that they will also become mainstream.





Specifically, Chef Demetrios explains how foods such as hummus, baba ghanoush, falafelgyros, lebneh (pressed or strained yogurt), shawarma, and shish taouk, became readily available in many restaurants, supermarkets and street vendors. Next expect to see a host of herbs, spices, and spice mixtures that, up to now, have only been available through mail order and a few ethnic markets. Duqqa, pomegranate molasses, and za’atar are found today, in select supermarkets, like Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

Za’atar is a highly valued spice mixture and typically used as a condiment. It is generally made with marjoram, oregano, and ground roasted thyme, mixed with salt, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac, known as za’atar akhdar (green). Some commercial varieties also include roasted flour, while other varieties may add coriander, cumin, fennel seed, or savory. One distinctively Palestinian variation of za’atar includes caraway seeds, while a Lebanese variety sometimes contains sumac berries, and has a distinct dark red color. Traditionally, pita that is dipped in olive oil and then za’atar is known as zeit ou za’atar. Za’atar is used as a seasoning for meats and vegetables or sprinkled onto hummus.

Baharat is a spice blend of black pepper, cardamom pods, cinnamon, clove, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg, and paprika. Used to season beef, chicken, fish, lamb, as well as soups, it is also used as a condiment. In Turkey, it will include mint, in the Persian Gulf Loomi (Limu Omani) and saffron are added to make Kebsa and it is referred to as Gulf Baharat, while in Tunisia, they use a simple blend of black pepper, ground cinnamon, and dried rosebuds.

Halloumi or Haloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese, with a distinctive layered texture and salty flavor. It is made with unpasteurized sheep and goat milk and is commonly garnished with mint. Halloumi has a very high melting-point and can be easily fried or grilled.

Baklava is a rich, sweet dessert pastry, made with fillo or kataifi dough, butter or ghee, a variety of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, or pistachios), and a sweet syrup (made from honey, orange blossom water, rosewater, and sugar). Some have saffron (with eggs) brushed on top. Some are layered, others rolled. Baklava is usually served at room temperature, often garnished with ground nuts.

Tahini is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. It is served by itself as a dip or as a major ingredient in baba ghanoush, halva, and hummus. Try it in brownies and other sweets.




These are just a few of the many up-and-coming foods that could be in demand in the next five years. Click below to view the full story from Chef Demetrios.