Zachary Engel’s decision to attend New Orleans’ Tulane University turned out to be more fortuitous than he may have ever imagined. While earning a degree in business, the Orlando native worked the line at Alon Shaya’s Domenica. Engel found a mentor in Shaya and embarked on a career in food.
After college, Engel racked up experiences around the country. He learned the fundamentals of Israeli cooking from Michael Solmonov at Zahav in Philadelphia, worked under Jesse Mallgren at Madrona Manor in Healdsburg, California, and was the chef de cuisine at Federal Donuts back in Philly. In between, he spent a summer in Tel Aviv, Israel, staging alongside Chef Meir Adoni at Catit. Engel, hungry to continue to explore the foods of modern-day Israel and the Middle East, joined Shaya’s opening team for his new namesake concept in New Orleans.
At Shaya, Engel rose from sous chef to chef de cuisine in one short year. With a heartfelt obligation to honor the falafel and hummus he encountered in Israel (in a city known for gumbo and etouffée) Engel helped reel in Shaya’s James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2016. In 2017, Engel won the James Beard Award for “Rising Star Chef of the Year,” was named to Forbes
’ “30 Under 30” list, and promoted to Executive Chef. In 2017, he joined the team at Pomegranate Hospitality as Culinary Director.
In October 2018, Engel announced he would be moving to Chicago to open his first restaurant, Galit, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood sometime in early 2019 with his close friend and business partner, Andrés Clavero.
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival is presented by the Tourism Leadership Council, a 501-(c) 6 organization, and The AdFish Group, with proceeds benefiting the TLC Scholarship Fund, with educational opportunities for hospitality program students in colleges and universities in the Coastal Empire and many local charitable organizations.
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