Tasting New Orleans: Shaya

Mardi Gras is almost here.  Let’s continue tasting New Orleans!


What a delightful honor to interview the highly acclaimed Chef Alon Shaya at his modern Israeli restaurant, Shaya, which was awarded the 2016 James Beard Best New Restaurant of the Year.  

Shaya’s menu features favorite dishes such as Lutenitsa, a Bulgarian puree of roasted pepper, eggplant, garlic and tomato and Curried Fried Cauliflower Hummus. As Chef Alon says, “This food is part of who I am.”  His favorite childhood food memory was walking into his home and being greeted by the fragrance of his grandmother’s eggplants roasting in the oven.  These days Chef Alon roasts up to 48 eggplants a day at Shaya!

Chef Shaya’s shares three tips for home chefs:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients.  Visit your local Asian or Central American grocery store and pick up things you don’t know how to cook.  Look for recipes online.
  2. Enjoy the versatility of tomatillos.  Roast them in the oven as an ingredient for salsa.  Braise them down with pork shoulders or make a tomatillo vinaigrette and drizzle over roasted fish.
  3. Spice up your meals.  Chef Alon likes the peanuts in spicy chili and oil from an Asian grocery store.  He likes to put this sauce on his scrambled eggs at home for breakfast.

As we all know. charity begins in the kitchen.  Chef Alon has a heart for empowering high school students to have access to culinary education resources. He and his former high school teacher and mentor, Donna Barnett launched Shaya/Barnett Initiative in 2016.  Follow Chef Alon on Twitter @AlonShaya and on Facebook to keep updated on current and future projects for Shaya/Barnett Initiative.

And look for Chef Alon Shaya’s cookbook My Journey Back to Israel in the near future.


What are your favorite tastes of New Orleans?


Savor the day!



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