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 and his wife Emily 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. He now serves on the board of the New Orleans Career Center and the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus in Denver..
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 2018, chef Shaya & Pomegranate Hospitality opened two new restaurants: Saba in New Orleans and Safta in Denver. Saba opened it’s doors in May 2018 in Uptown New Orleans. Safta opened in the River North neighborhood of Denver in August 2018.
Alon has been nominated for five James Beard Awards. He has been named "Best Chef, South" in 2015, and his restaurant 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.
Pomegranate Hospitality will partner with the Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences New Orleans to open the hotel’s signature restaurant and lobby bar in mid 2021.
Alon, his wife Emily, and their two dogs Henry and Ceci, live in New Orleans. On their days off, they enjoy traveling for new food experiences, playing tennis and fly fishing.