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New Orleans Chef Alon Shaya wins Best Chef: South at the 2015 James Beard Awards 

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  New Orleans chef Alon Shaya (pictured) took home the title of Best Chef: South award at the 2015 James Beard Awards ( May 4.

  Shaya is the chef and co-owner of Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020;, Pizza Domenica (4933 Magazine Street; 504-301-4978; and the recently opened Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213;, 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 ( 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; and Justin Devillier, of Le Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St., 504-891-3377; and the recently opened Balise (640 Carondelet St., 504-459-4449; in the Warehouse District.   Other notable New Orleans nominees included Donald Link (, who was up for an Outstanding Chef award, and Upperline's (1413 Upperline St., 504-891-9822; JoAnn Clevenger, who was nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur award.

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