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Chefs Alon Shaya and John Besh

Shaya to purchase his namesake Israeli restaurant in Uptown



Chefs Alon Shaya and John Besh are "parting ways" at Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213;, a spokesperson for the Besh Restaurant Group confirmed Sept. 20.

  Alon Shaya (pictured) is in negotiations to purchase the Uptown restaurant bearing his name from the restaurant group.

  A spokesperson for the Besh Restaurant Group ( confirmed to Gambit that "the Group and Alon are parting ways," and that negotiations regarding the sale of the Magazine Street restaurant are underway. The spokesperson said Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020; and Pizza Domenica (4933 Magazine St., 504-301-4978;, of which Besh also is a co-owner, are not part of the negotiation.

  Shaya is no longer the executive chef of Shaya, Domenica and Pizza Domenica, the spokesperson confirmed Sept 21. Zachary Engel, who earlier this year won the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year award, has been promoted to executive chef at Shaya. Michael Wilson is now the executive chef at Domenica and Pizza Domenica.

  The partnership began in 2005, when Shaya began working for the group at Besh Steak in Harrah's New Orleans casino on Canal Street.

  The chefs went on to open the rustic Italian restaurant Domenica in the Central Business District and then Pizza Domenica in Uptown. Both restaurants garnered accolades and became beacons for modern Italian cooking in the city.

  Shaya opened in February 2015, and months later Alon Shaya was named Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation. The following year, the restaurant — an homage to his Israeli heritage — was named the best new restaurant in the country by the foundation.

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