John Besh rose to culinary fame based upon his contributions to modern Cajun and Creole cuisine. Besh’s incredible work ethic, as demonstrated by his empire of successful restaurants, and strength as a leader, as demonstrated by his actions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have made him a powerful influence across the food industry.
Besh was born Meriden, Miss. and raised in Slidell, La. After graduating from Pope John Paul II High School in 1986, he signed up for the Marines Corps as a reservist. From there, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America to pursue his passion for cooking. In 1990, Besh had to put his studies on hold was called to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. After serving as a Corporal in Kuwait for ten months, Besh returned to culinary school to finish his degree.
After graduation, Besh traveled to Europe, where he interned with Karl-Josef Fuchs at the Romantik Hotel Spielweg in Germany and Alain Assaud in St.-Remy in France. In 1994, Besh returned to the states to work briefly as the Chef de Cuisine at Graham’s in New Orleans. Next, he took on his first Executive Chef role at Artesia in Abita Springs. It was while working here that Food and Wine Magazine named Besh one of the Best New Chefs of 1999.
In 2001, Besh opened his first solo venture, Restaurant August. Since then, he has developed his empire as the owner of six restaurants in Louisiana, Texas and Las Vegas. In 2007, Besh was the runner-up on first season of The Food Network’s competition for The Next Iron Chef.
Besh has received many awards for culinary excellence. In 2006, the James Beard Foundation awarded Besh the award for Best Chef of the Southeast and Restaurant August was included in Gourmet Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Restaurants.
In addition to manufacturing a line of Chef John Besh gourmet products, Besh is the author of My New Orleans: The Cookbook. After his extensive involvement with the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina, Besh’s cathering company began a partnership with Arkel International. The result, Arkel Besh Food Services provides high-quality food to aide disaster-response efforts.
Culinary Style: Cajun/Creole and New American
Restaurants: Restaurant August, Besh Steak, La Provence, Lüke Restaurant, Domenica, The American Sector, Lüke Riverwalk
Did You Know? Besh beat Iron Chef Mario Batali in the “Battle Andouille Sausage” episode on the Food Network show, Iron Chef America.
John Besh Videos
American Express: Pairings with John Besh, Dave Matthews, and Genevieve Janssens.