James Beard Award-winning chef Zach Engel is leaving Alon Shaya’s Pomegranate Hospitality at the end of September to open a modern Israeli restaurant of his own in Chicago, reports the Chicago Tribune. Galit restaurant (Galit, Hebrew for wave, is Engel’s daughter’s nickname) will open in the DePaul area in 2019.
Engel won the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef while he was chef de cuisine at Shaya, the modern Israeli restaurant Alon Shaya opened with John Besh. When Besh’s restaurant group fired Alon Shaya from his namesake restaurant (allegedly for talking to a reporter about sexual harassment in the restaurant group), Engel ran Shaya as executive chef.
Before long, Engel left Shaya restaurant to join Alon Shaya as culinary director in his new hospitality group, Pomegranate Hospitality, which quickly opened modern Israeli restaurants Safta in Denver and Saba in New Orleans.
According to Pomegranate Hospitality’s Facebook page:
The whole Pomegranate Hospitality family could not be any happier or more proud of chef Zach Engel’s plan to open Galit in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. This has been a dream of his for years and he is more deserving of this opportunity than anyone. He has taught us all invaluable lessons through the years with his natural ability to connect with people and cook incredible Israeli food.
He is a founding member of Pomegranate Hospitality and is one of the architects of our core values and mission. We all look forward to learning more from him in the years to come.
Engel originally came to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, where he earned a business degree. He’s originally from Orlando.
Do you have a hot restaurant tip? Noticed a spot in your neighborhood opening or closing? Send an email. Let us get the facts.·
Looking for restaurant recs or a place to chat about favorite restaurants? Join Eater NOLA’s Facebook group.