Globe-trotting chef, television personality and culinary consultant Joe Barza is credited with putting Lebanese cuisine on the global culinary map. We had the opportunity to catch up with him between flights to learn more about his exciting projects.
What news can you share with us
There’s been so much. In September, I teamed up with Fairmont Amman. We worked on a new menu for Nur Lebanese Dining. The new menu offers a true taste of Lebanon and helps guests experience a journey of flavors that transports them from Beirut to Amman.
Are there additional projects you’re working on or planning for the future?
I’m currently in Morocco, working on a new menu for Bushra by Buddha-Bar at Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort. In August, I will be reworking the menus for their branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
In October, I have several plans lined up. I’ll be working on Zale Mediterranean restaurant’s new menu at Kempinski Muscat. As the head judge, I’ll oversee the Hilton competition in Qatar for the Hilton’s best culinary team competition. I’ll also be accompanied by a chef from Greece, one from Spain and another from Lebanon for a one-week gastronomy event at Mandarin Oriental Qatar.
Following that, I’ll head to Kandolu hotel in the Maldives for a week of culinary adventures. Then, I’m off to Erbil for an exciting new project with Charles Azar. It’s a three-floor concept, with the first floor dedicated to a café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The second floor will feature an Asian open grill, while the third floor will showcase international cuisine. The project is scheduled to open in mid-August.
You’ve recently opened a new concept called Taste of Balou. What can you tell us about it?
Taste of Balou is a newly opened spot in Batroun; it is the brainchild of Merchak Group. The venue boasts a dreamy view, providing the perfect setting for a sunset experience. When it comes to the culinary offerings, the ahi tuna salad and paella are must-try dishes. Balou delivers an ideal combination of stunning sunsets, delightful cuisine and a captivating atmosphere, offering guests a truly harmonious experience.
As a Lebanese culinary ambassador, how do you envision the future of Lebanese cuisine on a local and global stage?
Being a Lebanese culinary ambassador is something I’m truly proud of. It’s like a snowball, it keeps on growing and evolving. We have taken Lebanese cuisine to new heights and expanded its reach. Now, it is embraced and celebrated everywhere.