"The BTUs are unstoppable and I have the freedom to create any menu without feeling limited by my cooking power."

Alon Shaya

BlueStar Chef

New Orleans, LA

Alon Shaya is Executive Chef and Partner of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya, a modern Israeli restaurant. Alon discovered his passion for cooking at an early age, spending most of his time in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother in Philadelphia, where he was raised. After training at the Culinary Institute of America, Alon interned at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and worked at Antonio’s Ristorante in St. Louis where he began working with his friend and future business partner, Octavio Mantilla.

In 2003, Octavio lured Alon to New Orleans, where he began training under Chef John Besh, serving as the Chef du Cuisine at Besh Steak. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, Alon made the decision move to Italy to continue to explore his passion for Italian cooking. In 2009, Alon, along with the Besh Restaurant Group, formed a partnership to open Domenica, a regional Italian restaurant in the New Orleans Historic Roosevelt Hotel.

Gayot featured Domenica as one of its hottest restaurants for 2014, and the restaurant has been included in prestigious epicurean publications such as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Food52. Alon was named one of the “50 people changing the South” by Southern Living Magazine in 2015. In 2015, Alon was awarded a coveted James Beard Foundation Award, in the “Best Chef – South” category as well as named one of “50 most influential American Jews in America” by The Forward.

After several visits to Israel, Alon was inspired to go back to his roots of cooking and in February of 2015, he opened his namesake Israeli restaurant. Shaya is an innovative restaurant with a warm and welcoming approach to the dining culture inspired by Chef Alon Shaya’s Israeli upbringing and New Orleans’ local ingredients. Esquire named Shaya “The Best New Restaurant in America” in 2015 and was awarded his second James Beard Award in May of 2016 for “Best New Restaurant”.

What is your favorite ingredient and why?

Extra-virgin olive oil.  I feel like I use it on almost everything I cook.  Even desserts.  I love cooking Italian and Israeli food the most, and that ingredient allows me to bridge the two cuisines through an underlying flavor.

Why did you choose Bluestar?  What has been your favorite feature so far?

Because I can cook at home with the same power that I use at my restaurants.  The BTUs are unstoppable and I have the freedom to create any menu without feeling limited by my cooking power.  My favorite feature is being able to use all 8 burners at once when I need to, or add on the grill and griddle when I want to add some more diversity to my menus for friends and family.

What is the most unusual item in your cooking tool box?

I love my immersion blender.  It can fit in one of my kitchen drawers and when I want to do some low and slow cooking, like 36 hour braised short ribs, it fits the bill.   I then will heat the flat top griddle on the BlueStar stovetop and get a nice dark crust on the outside before I serve.

What is your favorite recipe and why?

I love to make hummus.  It is the perfect comfort food to me.  It reminds me of my family, my friends and now my restaurant.

As someone who loves to entertain, are there any dishes you are looking forward to recreating on your new BlueStar range at home?

I really look forward to roasting a whole porchetta in the oven just as I do for special events at my restaurant Domenica.  I will pair that up with some crispy cast iron seared potatoes on the stovetop with sage and sea salt.  Meanwhile, in the smaller oven, I want to bake some blueberry and almond tarts for dessert.

What did you use as inspiration when designing your BlueStar range within your kitchen?

We did lots of white marble and dark blue kitchen cabinets throughout our kitchen with copper light fixtures.  We thought the copper finished BlueStar would complement the rest of our kitchen and also act as a centerpiece to see from several other rooms in the house.

Favorite Products
Recipe

Hummus with Tahini

Ingredients:
For Hummus

Step 1:

  • 1 pound garbanzo beans, dried
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 6 cups water

Step 2:

  • Soaked garbanso beans
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

Step 3:

  • 10 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled

Step 4:

  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons tahini, mixed well
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine the beans, baking soda and water in a large bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours.  After the beans have soaked, drain and place into a large saute pan.
  2. Dust the soaked garbanzos with the tablespoon of baking soda.  Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In a colander, rinse excess baking soda from the beans and place into a large pot.
  3. To the large pot, add the water, garlic cloves, remaining teaspoon of baking soda and turn heat to medium.  Bring the water to a simmer, cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour stirring approximately ever 20 minutes.  As you stir, the skins will come to the top, use a fine mesh strainer to remove as much of the skins from the top of the pot as possible.  The beans should be just splitting apart and have a very creamy texture.  Drain the beans and place with the cooked garlic into a food processor for 5 minutes.
  4. While the food processor is still on, add water, lemon juice cumin and salt.  Let all combine until very smooth.  Slowly pour in the tahini and then the olive oil.  The hummus should be light and airy.  It’s best served warm that day but can be refrigerated for up to two days.

To plate hummus with tahini, place approximately one cup of hummus on a plate and use a large spoon to make a well in the center of the hummus.  Drizzle a 1/4 cup of thinned tahini sauce (see recipe below) in the center of the well and garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

 

For Tahini Sauce

  • 1 2/3 cup raw tahini
  • 2/3 cup garlic lemon juice (see below)
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Place raw tahini in a stand mixer with whip attachment and whip for 5 minutes on high speed.  Add the lemon juice slowly while it is whipping.  Next, add the salt and cold water slowly.  Occasionally, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure even mixing.  Thin this sauce with an additional 1/4 cup of cold water to make a thin sauce that can be drizzled over your hummus.

 

For Garlic Lemon Juice

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cloves unpeeled garlic

Crush unpeeled garlic cloves with a knife and place in a blender with the lemon juice.  Blend on the highest setting for three minutes.  Once blended let the mixture rest for 30 minutes then strain through a fine mesh strainer.