Rising Star Chef Alon Shaya - Biography

September 2017

Israeli-born Alon Shaya first learned to cook from his mother and grandmother in Philadelphia, where he was raised. Though roasted peppers and eggplants were essential to his formative years, he’s created a global culinary vernacular that’s wholly his own.

After training at the Culinary Institute of America, Shaya developed an affinity for rustic Italian cooking, and pursued posts in Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Italy. He found his most influential position in New Orleans, under the guidance of John Besh, who would become an important mentor. In 2009, the duo opened regional Italian-inspired Domenica. Its fresh pastas and wood-fired pizzas earned Shaya several notices, including a StarChefs Rising Stars Award in 2012, and launched the opening of his second restaurant, Pizza Domenica, a casual spin-off that challenges traditional Italian comfort foods.

In 2015, inspired to return to his cooking roots, Shaya opened his namesake Israeli restaurant, paying tribute to the foods of his upbringing while imbuing them with New Orleans’ ingredients. Since opening its doors, Shaya’s innovative style has earned him a number of honors, including the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, South” in 2015 with the restaurant winning for “Best Restaurant” the following year.

Drawing from a collection of culinary adventures, Shaya is set to release his first cookbook in Spring 2018. Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel will consist of 26 short stories with accompanying recipes inspired by foods that changed his life.