Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Was Celebrity Chef Alon Shaya Fired For Backing Sex Harassment Whistle Blowers?

Image by Flickr

(JTA) — Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya says he was fired from his namesake New Orleans restaurant for alleged sexual harassment at the famed eatery and other affiliated restaurants.

Twenty-five current and former employees were interviewed for the expose in Times-Picayune about a culutre of harassment. 

Shaya spoke up in support of the women. He was later dismissed.

“I do feel like I was fired for talking … and for standing up,” he said.

Shaya, who has not been accused of any impropriety, was executive chef at the BRG restaurants Domenica, Pizza Domenica and his namesake restaurant, Shaya, said in the story that he asked co-owner John Besh and business partner Octavio Mantilla to set up a human resources department in order to deal with such issues. The group’s general counsel, Raymond Landry, disputes the claim.

Shaya told a Times-Picayune reporter in an interview he initiated in August that the issues of sexual harassment at the restaurants were “handled appropriately.”

“No one should feel unwelcome, afraid or unsafe in their place of work. The restaurant industry does not get a pass,” he wrote.

In May 2015, Shaya was named best chef in the South by the James Beard Foundation, the top prize for food. He broke through as the winner after being a finalist in the category for the preceding three years.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.