By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN
Chef Alon Shaya, who is the principal chef at Domenica Restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel, Pizza Domenica and the recently-opened Israeli and Middle Eastern themed restaurant Shaya, won the top honor as the James Beard Award recipient as Best Chef from the Southern Region.
Chef Alon Shaya, the recipient of the Best Chef of the South region as determined by the James A. Beard Awards committee. (Photo courtesy of the John Besh Group)
Shaya beat out a slate of other nominees including fellow New Orleanian Chef Justin Devillier from Le Petite Grocery to take home only the second James Beard Award presented to an Israeli.
Shaya’s friend, Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav Restaraurant in Pittsburgh was the first Israeli to win the highly coveted regional award as a nominee from the Mid-Atlantic region in 2011.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Shaya told the CCJN in an exclusive interview. “It’s really amazing,” he gasped.
Now in its 26th year, the James Beard Awards are named for a legendary food writer and are considered the “Oscars” of the restaurant and food writing world.