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.
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 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. In early 2018, chef Shaya announced the opening of two new restaurants: Saba in New Orleans and Safta in Denver. Saba opened it’s doors in May 2018 in Uptown New Orleans. Safta will open in Denver in Summer 2018.
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.