Alon Shaya

Founder, Pomegranate Hospitality

Alon Shaya really loves food.  He loves cooking it, being around it, learning about it, and teaching others about it.  Born in Israel and raised on cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, Alon now calls New Orleans his home. The three celebrated restaurants he started and helmed as executive chef/partner – Domenica, Pizza Domenica, and Shaya – all reflect his culinary journey and resounding love of Israeli and Italian cuisine.

In 2017, Alon formed Pomegranate Hospitality to create a space where meaningful, lasting relationships are created, community engagement prospers, and cultural differences are celebrated.  Pomegranate Hospitality hopes to foster opportunities for colleagues, partners and friends in a comfortable environment, helping all involved to achieve their personal and professional goals.

In 2016, Alon joined forces with Donna Barnett, his high school home economics teacher, to start the Shaya Barnett Foundation, committed to providing culinary education and resources to high school students. Tapping into the philanthropic community in New Orleans and beyond, Alon cooks to raise money for No Kid Hungry, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and DC Central Kitchen/Martha’s Table.  He is a recipient of the “Youth Advocate Award” from Liberty’s Kitchen, and was honored by InspireNOLA Schools for his work with Edna Karr Charter High School.

In March 2018, Alon published his debut cookbook, “Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel” (Knopf). Part memoir and part cookbook, Alon shares his deeply personal journey of survival and discovery, exploring the evolution of a cuisine and the transformative power and magic of food and cooking. Readers learn the secret to making Shaya’s acclaimed pita bread while hearing the food stories that have shaped his life.

Alon has been nominated for five James Beard Awards.  He has been named “Best Chef, South” while at Domenica in 2015, and Shaya won “Best New Restaurant” in 2016.  He was named one of the “50 People Who Are Changing the South” by Southern Living magazine in 2015, and one of the “50 Most Influential Jews in America” by The Forward.

Alon, his wife Emily, and their two dogs Henry and Ceci, live in New Orleans.  On their days off, they enjoying traveling for new food experiences, playing tennis, and fly fishing.

(Photo credit: Rush Jagoe)