New Orleans chef Alon Shaya (pictured) took home the title of Best Chef: South award at the 2015 James Beard Awards (www.jamesbeard.org) May 4.
Shaya is the chef and co-owner of Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020; www.domenicarstaurant.com), Pizza Domenica (4933 Magazine Street; 504-301-4978; www.pizzadomenica.com) and the recently opened Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213; www.shayarestaurant.com), which serves his take on modern Israeli cuisine.
Monday marked the 25th anniversary for the prestigious culinary awards, which were announced at a black-tie gala in Chicago.
Born in Israel and raised in Philadelphia, Shaya came to New Orleans in 2003 and worked under John Besh at Besh Steak (www.chefjohnbesh.com/restaurants/besh-steak) at Harrah's New Orleans. Shaya went on to open rustic Italian stunner Domenica and the spin-off restaurant Pizza Domenica last year.
In February, Shaya opened his namesake restaurant on Magazine Street, bringing the immigration -driven mix of Mediterranean and Eastern European flavors and dishes of contemporary Israel to New Orleans diners.
Runners-up for the Best Chef: South award from New Orleans included Slade Rushing of the newly reopened Brennan's (417 Royal St., 504-525-9711; www.brennansneworleans.com) and Justin Devillier, of Le Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St., 504-891-3377; www.lapetitegrocery.com) and the recently opened Balise (640 Carondelet St., 504-459-4449; www.balisenola.com) in the Warehouse District. Other notable New Orleans nominees included Donald Link (www.donaldlink.com), who was up for an Outstanding Chef award, and Upperline's (1413 Upperline St., 504-891-9822; www.upperline.com) JoAnn Clevenger, who was nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur award.