Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Katie Ayoub
January 9, 2020

The Exchange is a restaurant in Los Angeles housed in the Freehand LA hotel. It runs a multi-cultural menu inspired by California, but filtered through an Israeli lens. In other words, it serves global mash-ups.

But throughout the menu, and as seen in this Lamb Kebab, there’s a modern approach that captures the spirit of a few of our trends. Alex Chang, executive chef, reflects an elegance and focus in his flavor building.

In preparing the Lamb Kebab, he builds it almost like a modern bowl, starting with an unexpected sauce pipián, which is a green mole from Mexico. He adds flavorful braised Swiss chard, then perches a heavily seasoned and charred lamb kebab overtop, pulling from the Eastern Med and the Balkans with allspice, coriander, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom and cumin.

The final component brings in that Israeli flavor touch with a pistachio tahini. “The pistachio tahini is a bit sweet and has the texture of a thin nut butter,” says Chang. “It pairs nicely against the pipián, which is bright and spicy from the tomatillo and Serrano chiles.”

About The Author

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Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.