Celebrity Chef Barza talks Lebanese cuisine in times of lockdown

Eman Youssef, Wednesday 8 Jul 2020

Celebrity master chef Joe Barza, President of Lebanese Chefs Association, culinary artist, brand Ambassador and former co-host and head judge of Top Chef, talks about current challenges in the world of cooking


Ambassador of Lebanese cuisine chef Joe Barza says that the future lies in online options, even in the world of cooking.

"People usually adapt, so the current situation has led to us using social media and websites to continue our work," said Barza, adding that he has held many online classes during the lockdown.

There are also new improvements and techniques, as well as advanced and computerised equipment in the kitchen.

Egypt and Lebanon have rich cultures; we both like spices, stuffed vegetables, fries, flour and corn. Other international cuisines share similarities with those of Egypt and Lebanon, such as Greek cuisine, which uses olive oil, olives, spices and vegetables.

“I like how Greek food is simple and authentic; you can find different specialties in the different regions there,” says Barza, who represented Lebanon when he was the guest of honour on the TV show Master Chef Greece.

The new generations of any country can modify the basics of a cuisine to get the best out of it, he says, advising young chefs to have loyalty, discipline and work to get noticed through their creativity.

Barza has won many competitions locally and internationally, and believes that every time you represent your country in a competition it is considered a win. For example, he won the honour prize in the sandwich championship in Lyon, France, as well as the tuna world cup in Sardinia.

Barza also asserted that the Lebanese Chefs Association aims to organise many competitions where people can learn from each other.

“Wherever we go, we reflect our culture and cuisine,” said Barza.

Barza presents us with a recipe for a dish that is often associated with Lebanon: the delicious Kibbeh.

Recipe for Kibbeh



500g minced beef, 500g burghul fine white, washed and drained, 6g fresh mint leaves, 50g white onions, 5g fresh basil leaves, 5g allspice powder, 2g cinnamon powder, 12g salt, crushed ice cubes.

The stuffing

250g diced eggplant, 50g diced white onions, 150g mozzarella cheese, 20g parmesan cheese, 25g chopped walnuts, 25g pomegranate molasses, 2g cumin powder, 5g salt.


Pomegranate seeds and rocket leaves


The kibbeh dough: Combine all the ingredients together, place them in a meat mincer for two rounds and add some crushed ice.

The stuffing: In a heated pan, add some sunflower oil, add the white onions and the eggplants, strain the mixture, then add the pomegranate molasses and the walnuts. Season with cumin and salt then add the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

To assemble: Carefully flatten and shape the dough into the desired shape, add about one tablespoon of the filling then place another layer of kibbeh dough, deep fry the kibbeh then garnish with rocket leaves and pomegranate seeds.

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