Meet James Beard award winner Zachary Engel

Shaya Restaurant won a Beard award for the second year in a row.

Zachary Engel is the Chef de Cuisine at Shaya Restaurant, and he is the 2017 James Beard award recipient for Rising Star Chef of the Year. We sat down with the talented chef to learn more about him, Shaya, and the whirlwind Beard award process. Here are some fun facts:

1. The Basics

Zach has a wife and infant daughter. He grew up in Florida and attended Tulane. After graduation, he went to work for Alon Shaya at Domenica before leaving town and eventually returning … to begin his current tenure at Shaya Restaurant.

2. His Culture

His father is a rabbi, and Zach spent a lot of time at Jewish summer camp and traveled to Israel quite a bit too … which made cooking Israeli and Jewish food as a career “a long time coming.”

3. His Work

Due to his father’s odd hours, Zach taught himself to cook and experimented in the kitchen growing up. ┬áHe inherited a strong work ethic; as he puts it himself, “If you’re expecting to see me anywhere but Shaya, you’re sadly mistaken.”

4. Two Good Tips

On Cooking:

“Don’t break the bank; don’t go crazy. Cook what’s comfortable and enjoy yourself.”

On Getting a Table at Shaya:

“Good luck! I can barely get my family in here when they’re in town.”

For more on Zachary Engel and Shaya Restaurant, be sure to watch the video above. And check out this demo Engel provided Nola Weekend on salmon deviled eggs.