Zachary Engel is the Chef De Cusine at the Shaya restaurant in New Orleans and is one of the Rising Star Chef nominees at this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards.
Engel, who currently works alongside his first mentor Alon Shaya, has a culinary focus on Israeli cuisine.
He started cooking in 2009, racking up experience with a number of America’s sharpest chefs, including Michael Solomonov and Jesse Mallgren. He also travelled to Israel where he spent a year in Tel Aviv working alongside chef Meir Adoni at his famous Catit restaurant.
In the video above, Engel reveals more about his own approach to food, his secret ingredient in the kitchen and just what he’ll do if he’s crowned the Rising Star Chef at the James Beard Award ceremony in Chicago on May 1st.
The Rising Star Chef Award, sponsored by S.Pellegrino, focuses on young talent across the U.S restaurant industry. It’s aimed at chefs 30 years or younger who are ‘likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.’ Previous winners have included Daniela Soto-Innes, Christina Tosi and David Chang.
To be eligible for this award, contending chefs must be aged 30 or younger and display an impressive talent, likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.