15 Weird Food Combinations Chefs Secretly Love
No one would ever think to combine these foods. But when these chefs did, they made mouthwatering dishes.
Red grapes and pimento-stuffed olives
Chef and owner of Angeline in New Orleans, Alex Harrell, loves to combine the sweet and salty flavors of red grapes and pimento-stuffed olives. He’ll pop them in his mouth one after the other. The flavors are even better if the olives are room temperature and the grapes are cold, Harrell says.
Corn on the cobb and cream cheese
“I like to slather Philly Cream Cheese on my corn on the cobb,” said Executive Chef Justin Cucci, Owner of Edible Beats Restaurant Group. “I love it because it’s tangy, it’s creamy, it’s like creamed corn with all the texture of regular corn.”
Marshmallows and popcorn
This sweet and salty food combo is the perfect movie snack. Chef Shawn Burnette, of Putnam’s Pub & Cooker in Brooklyn, has been a fan of marshmallows on popcorn since he was a child.
Chocolate and tuna
Chocolate-Covered Tuna Crudo is Celebrity Chef Frankie Terzoli’s go-to weird food combination. He coats fresh tuna in powdered dark chocolate with chili sauce, vinegar, and smoked salt to balance out the sweet and smoky flavors.
Fruit and cactus
Tropical Smoothie Café just introduced their new Citrus Cactus Smoothie. Don’t worry though; there won’t be any cactus spines in your drink. It’s a blend of fresh cactus, orange, apple, mango, pineapple and freshly squeezed lime juice. Fresh cactus is an extremely rare ingredient, and it’s only used in about two percent of restaurants, so you’ll want to try it before supplies run out.
Candied bacon and pickles
Chef David Burke, Executive Chef at Tavern62 by David Burke, serves this famous combination at his restaurant. He coats the bacon with maple and black pepper and serves it with pickles and a lime.
Chocolate and avocado
Everyone loves chocolate, so when you combine it with this trending food it’s guaranteed to be a crowd favorite. Leigh Anderson, food blogger and private chef, combines the ingredients to make delicious cookies. Check out the 10 cardinal rules of cooking, according to the professionals.
Eggplants and bananas
Chef Scott Walton of Acorn in Pittsburgh loves this weird food combo. “You can cook it down together for a caponata or simply place sliced eggplant and banana on a grilled baguette paired with a salad of mixed greens tossed with lime and Thai Basil,” says Walton. “The banana helps balance the bitterness in the eggplant.”
Balsamic vinegar and vanilla ice cream
This food combo is perfect for any sweet tooth that also loves savory flavors. Certified Master Chef for Colavita Ken Arnone loves to whip up this unique dish for many of his clients.
Coffee grinds and bacon
Nate Park, Star Chef at JUST, loves to coat bacon strips in coffee grinds before he fries them. He says it’s an “aroma-rich, elevated twist on a breakfast classic.”
Champagne and Watermelon
This delicious treat is perfect on a hot summer day. Corporate Chef Daniel England of OMG Hospitality Group recommends cutting the watermelon into large triangles, laying them flat on a baking tray and submerging them in your favorite champagne. Let the slices soak for 24 hours. Then, add some chopped mint and enjoy.
Beets and dark chocolate
“The earthiness of the beets highlights the sweetness of the chocolate,” says Executive Chef Sean Thompson of Chops Lobster. He loves to pair a dense, dark chocolate with beet sorbet.
Pears and blue cheese
Claudia Sidoti, Head Chef at Hello Fresh, thinks that pairings are best when they are done in small doses. One of her favorites is a pear with blue cheese. “The sweetness in the pear balances the strong robust flavor of the blue cheese and somehow they complement each other and bring out the best in both ingredients,” she says.
Oranges and chili flakes
“The combination is sweet, sour, salty, and spicy—every flavor at once in a single bite,” says Ethan Frisch, former chef and founder of Burlap & Barrel. The orange on the left is sprinkled with silk chili flakes and the one of the right has Urfa chili flakes.
Fried chicken and champagne
Confession: We want three orders of this dish! These two foods are the perfect combination of classy and greasy. “’The unique combination of buttermilk-fried chicken and fizzy champagne is more than a southern staple. The champagne’s effervescence and acidity actually keep your palate crisp as you enjoy the salty and savory chicken, making the combo the ultimate power couple,” says Chef Michael DeMaria co-owner of the food truck Fried & Fizzy. Next, find out how to make all your microwaved meals taste gourmet.