What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
At the center of the Shabbat table, indifferent to the discord and dismay passing above and around it, sits a brisket. In its tepid bath of brown broth, intoxicated with Lipton Onion Soup Mix, shvitzing deckle fat into its ancient Corelle casserole pan, it sits, an unmoved mover, oblivious. And why shouldn’t it? Jewish dining, at least in the home, has always been where the action happens away from the plate. Fights, arguments, appreciations, red-faced recrimination, poignant memories and tsoris fill the air, in a constantly varied storm of thought and emotion. But the food is all too often the same — flat, bland and heavy, the same weird lump of brown meat the sole constant, whether it’s Passover, Friday night, a funeral reception, or the day you came home from college.
In the final installment of our Chosen Chefs series, we head to New Orleans to catch up with chef Alon Shaya, executive chef of Domenica. Like all of the chefs we’ve profiled, Shaya is a member of the tribe who’s worth keeping on your radar. If we were the betting type, we could some James Beard Awards in his future.