Chef Alon Shaya of Domenica - Biography

New Orleans, LA

August 2014

The smell of roasting peppers and eggplants over an open flame is ingrained in Alon Shaya’s memory. Born in Israel and raised in Philadelphia, Shaya spent much of his time in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother. And while those early days of cooking may not have been wholly focused on Italy, they inspired a passion for rustic Italian cooking that’s remains with Shaya to this day.

It’s passion that intensified with posts in Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Italy, where he spent a year exploring the local cuisine. However, Shaya’s most important mentorship came in New Orleans, where Shaya began cooking with the guidance of Chef John Besh, with whom he owns Domenica.

After Hurricane Katrina hit, Shaya actually stayed with Besh, and later in an apartment above Restaurant August. The storm didn’t slow him down. Shaya has received several James Beard Award nominations, was named “Chef to Watch” by Esquire, and earned a 2012 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award for his work at Domenica. In 2014, Shaya opened his second restaurant, Pizza Domenica, where he continues to combine an incessant, meticulous ability to innovate with that old school intuition for the kind of rustic, comfort cuisine people crave.