John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one mouth-watering dish at a time.
Besh grew up in southern Louisiana and has set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans – a town whose identity is bound to its food. Each of his eight acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector, The Soda Shop, Domenica and Lüke San Antonio) celebrates the bounty and traditions of the region.
From the outset of his career, Besh’s talent and drive have earned him continuous kudos: Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” and his flagship restaurant August has featured on the late great Gourmet magazine’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants” and “America’s Top 50 Restaurants.” Local publications keeping close tabs on the dining scene, like The Times-Picayune and New Orleans City Business, have applauded all his other restaurants as they have won the hearts and palates of discriminating diners. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006, and was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2009 for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. John Besh is a frequent guest chef on the NBC Today Show and has appeared on top programs on The Food Network and the Sundance Channel.
Besh’s devotion to local ingredients and cuisine also extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; the launch of a line of gourmet products; the publication of his first cookbook, My New Orleans (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2009) and the follow-up cookbook, My Family Table (Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 2011).
A former U.S. Marine, Besh is proud to have partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, for which he creates high quality ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world; the novel initiative promotes the Gulf Coast’s food culture as it elevates the Louisiana economy. In recognition of such far-reaching contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.
His sense of culinary and cultural stewardship and responsibility led him to create the John Besh Foundation in 2011, and the Chefs Move! scholarship program, which awards a scholarship to a minority student in New Orleans who has shown promise in the culinary arts. Another initiative of the Foundation is a micro-loan program to local farmers.
Whether served as far afield as North Africa or the Middle East, or by his own hands in one of his New Orleans restaurants, a meal created by John Besh is a thoughtful, flavorful, meaningful delight.