An Israeli restaurant was crowned the best new restaurant in the United States in the food industry’s version of the Oscars last week.
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Shaya, launched by Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya in February last year, won the James Beard Award for the country’s best new restaurant for 2015.
It had previously been named restaurant of the year by several publications.
"Who would’ve thought hummus in New Orleans?" said Shaya in his acceptance speech.
This year’s awards proved auspicious for Israeli cuisine in general. Another Israeli-American chef, Michael Solomonov, won the prize for best new cookbook with “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking,” announced last week, based on the food at his award-winning restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia.
In addition, London-based Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi won the award for Cooking from a Professional Point of View for “NOPI: The Cookbook,” which he co-wrote with Ramael Scully.
Some 10 different Israeli restaurants, chefs and bakers made it to the semifinal phase of the awards.