Celebrated Chef Alon Shaya Opens Pomegranate Hospitality
NEW ORLEANS – Chef Alon Shaya released the following announcement:
“I could not be more excited to announce the launch of our new company, Pomegranate Hospitality. Together, we will work to create an organization of meaningful and lasting relationships, that will include dining, community engagement and opportunities for all involved to prosper and achieve their personal and professional goals. Throughout history, the pomegranate has been a symbol of fruitfulness and goodness in many different cultures around the world. It’s made up of hundreds of beautiful seeds, filled with life, all of which contribute equally to the ability of the plant, as a whole, to survive and prosper. I have always felt a connection to the pomegranate as a cook, but I also believe in it as a metaphor: I like what it stands for.
“Since I was child, it’s been my instinct to bring happiness, comfort and sustenance to people through cooking and serving them a meal. I cook all the time— and it still feels just as powerful an exercise now, as it did when I was younger. My career has required a great deal of sacrifice along the way, but it has also brought rewards that I could have never dreamed of when I was a kid. The openings of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya Restaurants taught me something about myself that is even more important than that lasting sense of pride and accomplishment I get from standing in front of a cutting board. Through being at the helm of these restaurants, I have found that I’m happiest when I’m around people that I can learn from—people who inspire me to do better. This work feels most meaningful to me now when I can inspire others to follow their dreams, help them reach their potential, and grow into something greater than any one of us could do on their own. Like a pomegranate, I can choose to be a part of something that will blossom into abundance, beyond the promise of each individual seed. Pomegranate Hospitality seeks to embody and uphold this philosophy—it will be the very measure of our success.
“New Orleans is and will always be my home. More than the physical city, though, it’s the people in this community who’ve been key to making the life Emily and I have built together here so wonderful. Though I am sadly no longer involved in the operations of the restaurants that I have labored in and loved so dearly for so long, my heart is still there, especially with the amazing people who work so hard to make them great. They have made my life better. Though I remain fully committed to the possibility of acquiring Shaya restaurant in the near future, I look forward to turning the page in my next chapter here in New Orleans and beyond. We have begun the Shaya Barnett Foundation to help high schools build better teaching kitchens and I cannot wait to share my life’s story with you in my upcoming cookbook “Shaya, an Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel”.
“There’s much more to come, and I hope you will stay tuned for updates on how to be involved.”
Shaya has been nominated for five James Beard Awards. He has been named "Best Chef, South" while at Domenica in 2015, and Shaya 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.
In 2016, Shaya 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, Shaya 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 Charter High School.
In March 2018, Shaya will publish his debut cookbook, "Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel" (Knopf). Part memoir and part cookbook, Shaya 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.