Food Pairing Guide (FPG)

Ingredient profile




Best Cooking Method(s)

Some popular dishes

Key nutritional attributes

Complementary Ingredients

(ingredients in bold text are most compatible)

Herb Garden & Spice Rack
Vegetable & Fruit Garden Vegetables:Fruit:
Dairy Farm
Stocks & Consumes
Pasta, Legumes, & Grains
Poultry & Game
Fish & Shellfish
Condiments & Miscellaneous


“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” — Carl Jung


In the year 2000, when I first began my journey in search for creating that perfect bite, my curiosity quickly switched from grazing through countless recipes to tasting, testing, experimenting, and discovering ingredients to understand their respective flavor profiles – understanding the origin of each ingredient, true nature, seasonality, best cooking methods, cultural influences, nutritional benefits, best usage, and best way to use them in recipes without masking their true flavor, and finding complementary ingredient and flavor profiles that would help to highlight the essence of the ingredient.

In doing so, I began to appreciate the characteristics and uniqueness of each ingredient, and wanted nothing more than to preserve and honor the uniqueness…for selfish reasons of course, because I discovered how much better dishes taste when in creating the combination, pure, simple, fresh, clean combinations yielded a far superior flavor. As such, I found myself being more strategic in my selection of other ingredients as part of the recipe formation. When I develop a recipe and/or plan to reconstruct one, I question the purpose and role of every other ingredient in relation to the star ingredient.

This discovery encouraged me to try ingredients I would never have had it not been in effort to find ways of how I can enjoy, in every aspect, the texture, flavor, character, aroma, scent, and the true personality of the star ingredient.


“Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity.” — Frank Lloyd Wright


I soon began to make notes of all my observations, jotting down every experience as I made my way through countless ingredient and flavor combinations in search for that perfect bite for each respective ingredient. But as you can guess, what started as a list soon became a chart (for those who know me well, this was the obvious next step being a big fan of dashboards). The chart morphed into a snapshot spec sheet, so at-a-glance, I can quickly reference what worked best with each ingredient. This at-a-glance spec sheet or the Food Pairing Guide (FPG), is still growing and has served as my primary reference to develop recipes. Comes in very handy when I’m developing recipes and imagine it will help you as well.

I will be posting the chart for the various ingredients over time, and you’ll notice, too, that I will continue to add ingredients or fine tune the ones I’ve included. The latter is the result of my continual journey in search for creating that perfect bite.

I share this resource with my fellow culinarians who wish to develop recipes that honor the star ingredients while creating MidEasterranean dishes based on authentic values. An extended value of the FPG is that it also helps with substituting ingredients and streamlining food purchases, which of course, cuts costs.

Lastly, I agree that as Chefs or Professional Culinarians, we ultimately rely on our individual palates to invent our own creations, but like every other artist, it’s useful to have reliable tools along the way. I’ve used my own FPG methodology as idea generators for years and it works like a charm.

If you find this useful, stay tuned on for more Food Pairing Guides.