“It takes me flying across the country to make Shabbat dinner,” Michael Solomonov, the owner and chef behind the wildly popular Philadelphia restaurant, Zahav, tells a delighted (and hungry) crowd in Los Angeles. “Tonight’s dinner is Israeli style. In true Israeli fashion, you need to roll up your sleeves and yell as loud as you can.”
To that, we said a small prayer and broke off a piece of steaming challah bread. We toasted to the chef, the night, and the event that brought us together: Three by Centurion.
Our dinner was just one in a three-night dinner series put on by the Centurion Card by American Express in partnership with Summit, an entrepreneurial summit hosted in downtown Los Angeles. The dinner—which is just one of the many events Centurion Members have access to throughout the year—brought just a few hundred select people together, including Card Members, stakeholders in Summit Series, and a few celebrities sprinkled in for good measure (hey this is Los Angeles we’re talking about).
Throughout the night, people chatted over the family-style dinner, and because this was an event packed to the gills with entrepreneurs, we also discussed what’s next in tech, politics, travel, and more. And that got us thinking—what’s next in food? Departures sat down with two of the series participating chefs, Solomonov and critically-acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow, the man behind The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa, California, to find out.
What is one food trend you think will peak in 2020?
Though Kostow says he tries to steer clear of “it” food items, he hopes “chefs will continue to pursue their own personal vision and make those visions financially and emotionally viable.” Solomonov has a bit more of a direct vision for the future adding, “I see Middle Eastern and Persian cuisine continuing to rise. There is just such a rich history there behind the melting pot of flavors that have shaped both incredibly inspiring worlds.”
Are there any new ingredients you think people will fall in love with next year?
According to Kostow, 2020 will be all about Cherimoya. "It’s a custard apple. When ripe it has a texture similar texture to a banana. It’s delicious.” Solomonov believes one more thing should be added to your 2020 dining list: Carob molasses.
“I’ve been so excited about carob molasses. It’s an insanely versatile, natural sweetener made from soaking and cooking the pods from the carob tree,” he says. “The carob provides such intense flavors like chocolate and caramel. Simply add it to a little bit of tahini to top a dessert, or incorporate it to salads and marinades to develop a sweet balance.”
What about styles of cooking? Anything new coming our way?
According to Kostow, 2020 may be the year we see more regional Chinese cooking make an entry into the world food scene. “There is so much unexplored in the western market,” he says. Meanwhile, Solomonov plans to keep it simple, because he knows his favorite dishes will also be popular. “I’m so tied to my roots,” he says. “Like my ancestors, I just need hot coals and a wood-fired taboon.”
If you had to name one food destination of 2020 what would it be?
Kostow says it’s nearly impossible to name just one spot to travel to for food this year because there are simply too many delicious destinations to ignore. “It would be difficult to name just one food destination for 2020,” he says. “People plan their travels around the meals they can have across different states and countries around the world. The most exciting part about travel is taking in the history and culture of a place and seeing how that is translated through the food of that place.”
Solomonov believes the same, save for one big exception: Napa and Kostow’s restaurant. “There are some incredible restaurants in Napa Valley—it’s not just all about wine,” he shares. “I’m excited about The Restaurant at Meadowood. They laser focus on the relationships between artisans, growers, and foragers to create community, and that’s what it’s all about.”