60 Seconds with Alon Shaya
What inspired you to become a chef?
My grandmother’s amazing food!
What do you most often cook at home?
Breakfast of some type. Usually omelets,
with whatever is sitting around the
What does the Gulf mean to you?
A culture that is based on passion for
seafood and peoples’ hard work.
What was your most memorable meal?
At a Bulgarian restaurant in Israel with
Define your culinary style.
I like to cook the food people crave.
Italian country fare.
Who is your favorite chef (besides those at your restaurant)?
What is your earliest memory of food?
My mom roasting peppers on our gas stove.
What is your favorite ingredient to work with?
What is your favorite comfort food?
Macaroni and cheese with ketchup.
What is your favorite thing about New Orleans?
The passion people have about everything they do.
If you could only have one food item for the rest of your life, what would it
Are there any foods that you would refuse to eat?
Louisiana Black Drum
with ceci purée and tomato and caper berry salad
4 black drum filets, 6 ounces each, skin on and deboned
Kosher salt, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season liberally with salt. Place a
medium-sized sauté pan on the range at high heat. Let pan get hot and
pour in some of the olive oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil begins to
lightly smoke, place the fish in the pan with the skin side down. Turn
down the heat to medium. Let cook without moving the fish, until the
filet is about 85 percent cooked through. The skin will turn golden brown
and the fish should easily come off the pan using a spatula. Flip over and
cook for another minute, or until the fish is cooked through completely.
Be careful not to overcook. Serve the fish (skin side up) over Ceci Purée
(see recipe below) and top with Tomato and Caper Berry Salad (see recipe
1 cup garbanzo beans, cooked
¼ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until a very
smooth purée forms. Place purée into a sauce pot and heat up. Keep in a
warm place until ready to use.
Tomato and Caper Berry Salad
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
8 caper berries, cut in half (caper berries are fruits of the caper
bush, and shouldn’t be confused with capers; find them in the
Italian section of the grocery store)
8 olives, assorted and pitted
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
4 leaves fresh basil, sliced thin
½ shallot, sliced thin
Toss all salad ingredients together in a bowl.