Alon Shaya (center) celebrates his win at the James Beard awards ceremony in Chicago earlier this month..
(photo credit: GALDONES PHOTOGRAPHY/JBF)
Fresh off his win for “Best New Restaurant in America” at the James Beard Awards earlier this month, Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya has inked his first book deal. The New Orleans-based cook and restaurateur will be publishing My Journey Back to Israel with Knopf, though no publication date has yet been announced.
Shaya, who was born in Israel and grew up in Philadelphia, has made his name in the US culinary world with his restaurant, Shaya, which offers his take on modern Israeli cuisine.
Shaya, which opened in February 2015, serves traditional Israeli dishes from shakshuka to falafel, hummus, sabich and lamb kebab, with Shaya’s own original twists and takes. The eatery has been booked solid since it opened its doors last year, and was named as one of the 50 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appétit magazine in August.
“Israeli food is finally coming across as something that people are excited about,” Shaya told JTA last year. “I think social media has played a big role in this, along with chefs like [Yotam] Ottolenghi who produce beautiful cookbooks.
“This is not trendy food; it’s food that people are discovering for the first time but that has been cooked the same way for generations,” he said. “The food in Israel makes up a diverse mosaic: Bulgarian, Turkish, Moroccan, Greek. You can’t boil it down to just one thing. It is diverse, and it has evolved.”