John Besh
Award-Winning Chef & Restauranteur
Call 424.288.2898

Biography Print Bio

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. His acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Domenica, Borgne, La Provence, Pizza Domenica, Lüke, Johnny Sánchez New Orleans, Johnny Sánchez Baltimore, Shaya, Willa Jean, The Caribbean Room, Pigeon & Prince, Bayou Bar, The Silver Whistle Cafe and Hot Tin) celebrate the bounty and traditions of the region.

From the outset of his career, Besh’s talent and drive have earned him continuous kudos. In 2014, the James Beard Foundation inducted him into “Who’s Who in Food & Beverage.” Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America,” and he won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006. In 2009, he was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans.

His flagship restaurant, August, is a Gayot Top 40 Restaurant and a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Restaurant, in addition to being a 2012 and 2013 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding National Restaurant (eligible only to restaurants open for ten years or more) and 2015 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding Service.

In 2015 Besh welcomed the latest addition to the BRG family: Willa Jean Bakery.

Later that year, the BRG announced an exciting new partnership with the beloved and historic Pontchartrain Hotel. The restaurant group executes all of the property’s food and beverage operations, including Bayou Bar, Silver Whistle Café, The Caribbean Room and Hot Tin. The renovated Pontchartrain Hotel opened in summer 2016.

In January 2016 the BRG announced the acquisition of a space in New Orleans to house a new private events venue, dubbed “Pigeon & Prince” in honor of the space’s previous incarnations as a pigeon roost and a bedsit for visiting royals.

Besh has authored four cookbooks: My New Orleans, My Family Table, Cooking from the Heart and most recently Besh Big Easy. The books were awarded the prestigious IACP Award in the American category (2010, My New Orleans) and the Children, Youth and Family category (2012, My Family Table), with a nomination in 2014 for Cooking from the Heart.

He hosted two national public television cooking shows, based on his award-winning cookbooks: Chef John Besh’s New Orleans, and Chef John Besh’s Family Table. He was more recently seen on Spike’s 2014 series Hungry Investors. He has also appeared on top television programs on The Food Network and the acclaimed Sundance Channel “Iconoclast” series alongside his longtime friend, jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

A 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 initiative promotes the Gulf Coast’s food culture as it elevates the Louisiana economy.

Besh’s non-profit organization, The John Besh Foundation, works to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and foodways of both New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region through culinary scholarships and microloans. In 2011, and as part of the Foundation, the John Besh and Jessica Bride Mayor Chefs Move! Scholarship was established to send minority recipients to the International Culinary Center (ICC) for a nine-month program in New York City. For the program, scholars pledge to return to New Orleans to work in the restaurant industry for (at least) two years and to promote and support diversity in the kitchen. The Foundation also provides microloans to financially assist and advise farmers and artisanal producers within a 200-mile radius  of New Orleans.

Official Site
My New Orleans
Besh Big Easy
Official Site: John Besh Foundation
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