Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya, Format PDF, EPUB, 0451494164

March 16, 2018

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel

An exciting debut cookbook that confirms the arrival of a new guru chef . . . A moving, deeply personal journey of survival and discovery that tells of the evolution of a cuisine and of the transformative power and magic of food and cooking. From the two-time James Beard Award-winning chef whose celebrated New Orleans restaurants have been hailed as the country’s most innovative and best by Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, GQ, and Esquire.

  *  “Alon’s journey is as gripping and as seductive as his cooking . . . Lovely stories, terrific food.”
Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook
  *  “Breathtaking. Bravo.” —Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon’s Table

Alon Shaya’s is no ordinary cookbook. It is a memoir of a culinary sensibility that begins in Israel and wends its way from the U.S.A. (Philadelphia) to Italy (Milan and Bergamo), back to Israel (Jerusalem) and comes together in the American South, in the heart of New Orleans. It’s a book that tells of how food saved the author’s life and how, through a circuitous path of (cooking) twists and (life-affirming) turns the author’s celebrated cuisine–food of his native Israel with a creole New Orleans kick came to be, along with his award-winning New Orleans restaurants: Shaya, Domenica, and Pizza Domenica, ranked by Esquire, Bon Appétit, and others as the best new restaurants in the United States.
     These are stories of place, of people, and of the food that connects them, a memoir of one man’s culinary sensibility, with food as the continuum throughout his journey–guiding his personal and professional decisions, punctuating every memory, choice, every turning point in his life. Interspersed with glorious full-color photographs and illustrations that follow the course of all the flavors Shaya has tried, places he’s traveled, things he’s experienced, lessons he’s learned–more than one hundred recipes–from Roasted Chicken with Harissa to Speckled Trout with Tahini and Pine Nuts; Crab Cakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli; Roasted Cast-Iron Ribeye; Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices; Buttermilk Biscuits; and Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Feta.


An early embrace of Alon Shaya’s SHAYA An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel   “Breathtaking. What makes this book dazzle is that Alon does not discard his food memories but transforms them into the recipes that so many of us have eaten at his restaurants Domenica and Shaya and can now enjoy by making them at home. Bravo!” —Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon’s Table   “The way Alon weaves his cuisine through different cultures that he has encountered should be an inspiration to all young cooks who strive to create their own style. His book is as refreshing as it is imaginative.” —Marc Vetri, author of Mastering Pasta   “Alon’s journey is as gripping and as seductive as his cooking: from his safta’s lamb kebabs to his liaisons with drug dealers at fifteen; from his blueberry rugelach or bright green falafel to the 500 crab cakes he lost to hurricane Katrina. Lovely stories, terrific food.” —Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook

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About the Author

ALON SHAYA is founder of Domenica, Pizza Domenica, and Shaya Restaurants. He opened Domenica, a regional Italian restaurant, in the New Orleans historic Roosevelt Hotel in 2009. Five years later, in 2014, he opened Pizza Domenica. After several visits to Israel, he was inspired to go back to his roots of cooking, and in 2015 opened his namesake Israeli restaurant, Shaya, in New Orleans.

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See all Editorial Reviews


A truly passionate chef who wrote a beautiful cook book!
Many successful and celebrity chefs tend to have troubled early lives that are resurrected and rebalanced through food, cooking, and culinary careers. I am thinking of Michael Solomonov’s Zahav and Anthony Bourdain’s works. Alon Shaya is no different and his anticipated cookbook is a story of not only recipes, but the path that led him from troubled youth in Philadelphia to success in New Orleans, LA. But, as he writes, it is not only recipes and a personal narrative in this book, but the story of the magnetic and “gumbo” quality of Israel; its varied cultures and faiths; and his Israeli, Romanian, Bulgarian strands of heritage that have been his muse. This book is not structured by meal, by holiday, by season, or by ingredient. It opens with notes… enlightening notes on which salts to use and how the recipes vary by your salt brand, notes on oils, butter, breadcrumbs, yogurt, knives, and more. Section One: ECHOES OF ISRAEL follows; it begins with “(1) My Grandmother’s Pepper and Eggplants.” It tells the story of her influences on him and has five recipes for items such as Lutenitsa (peppers and eggplants); Watermelon and Feta Salad with Harissa; and Bulgarian Lamb Kebabs. At age five, he moved from Israel to Philadelphia to join his father, and then to Narberth, as his parents separated. His English was accented by Elmo and Cookie Monster. A month-long visit from his mother’s Bulgarian-Israeli parents brought with them the smells of affection of family unity. His safta (grandmother), a pharmacist before escaping to Israel in 1948, would care for him, and he would cook with her and learn to use the C-clamp kitchen grinder. (His grandmother’s Jewish penicillin was Tomato and Rice soup.) In (2) Show-and-Tell Borekas, the four recipes recall a story of second grade show-and-tell, bullying, and a failed cooking demonstration. In (3) Solo Hamantashen, six recipes remind him of his first solo cooking adventure and a sense of independence at the age of nine. Recipes includes ones for Peach and Mascarpone Hamantashen; Israeli Salad; Schmaltzy Potatoes; Bulgarian Leek Patties; Labneh; and Yemenite (marinaded) Stewed Chicken. In (4) Fishing With My Father, Chef Shaya recounts the dates with his Romanian/Hungarian born father, bowling or fishing, that were redeemed when they cooked the fish they caught. Recipes include those for pan-fried fish; turkey sandwiches that are so much better than those of his youth; Hungarian Paprikash; and Tarragon Dumplings. In Section Two: REBELLION AND REDEMPTION, Chef Shaya recalls his first job at thirteen, at a butcher shop. He told them he was 16. Recipes include those for Kibbeh Nayeh; Malawach; Spicy Scallop Rolls; Yogurt Pound Cake with Cardamon-Lemon Syrup; and Blueberry Rugelach. Many recipes recall his teenage job at a bakery, which was heavenly compared to his home-life: a life of weed, vandalism, shoplifting, drug dealers, and chasing trouble. An arrest – related to cooking – led to community service in a hospital.. which led to working in its kitchen.. which leads to a recipe for… Shakshuka… which in turns leads to the story of Home Ec’ class and knife skills… and later to CIA, where he finds that although he had Israeli parents, a religious mother, and a Jewish community… he knew little of Jewish food (See his Kugel in Crisis recipe, in Chapter 9. Trayf and Tribulation: he once suggested that the Jewish Culture Club roast a whole pig as a fun activity.. he was clueless at that time in his life). Anyway.. I don’t want to give away spoilers of his fascinating life stories, so, to wrap up, Section Two’s chapters include (10) Vegas or Bust; (11) Steak for My Saba (Grandfather), featuring a Cast-Iron Ribeye and Vegetable “Pot Roast;” (12) Boss Man, featuring Five-Onion Soup, and Chicken Milanese (like his mother’s shnitzel, using yellow curry powder and watercress or arugula); and (13) Safta’s Last Lutenista. In Section Three: FINDING HOME IN THE SOUTH, recipes include ones for Roasted Speckled Trout, Crab Cakes with preserved Lemon Aioli, Israeli Couscous, Red Beans and Rice, Buttermilk Biscuits (in Chapter 16: Manischewitz for Willie Mae), Za’atar Fried Chicken, Date Pancakes with Rose Tahini, Smoked Chicken with Harissa, Schmaltzy Cornbread with Gribenes, and Banana Bread with Carob Molasses Butter. In Section Four, Chef Shaya ventures to Italy in “AN ITALIAN SOJOURN.” Here he shares stories and recipes for Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Spiced Couscous, Tortelli d’Erbetta, Fresh Pasta, Blackberry Torta della Nonna, Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo, Pizza Enzo, Pita, Sea Bass Cartoccio, Piemontese style Bagna Cauda (hot bath/dip), Chocolate Espresso Cookies, and more. In Section Five: HOMECOMING, readers are greeted with Sous Vide Turkey, Brussels Sprout Salad, Smoked Goat Tacos, Curried Sweet Potato and Leek Pie, Charoset, (reluctantly), Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Tahini Chicken Salad, Moroccan Carrot Salad, Matbucha (in Chapter 26: An Israeli Restaurant in New Orleans), Muhammmara, Avocado Toast with Smoked Whitefish, and more. Like the title says… it is an Odyssey. A very enjoyable one, with plenty of iliads and joys along the way


  • Title: Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel
  • Autor: Alon Shaya
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Knopf (March 13, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: | 0451494164
  • ISBN-13: | 978-0451494160
  • Download File Format: EPUB, PDF

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