John Besh’s Thanksgiving Traditions

The famed New Orleans chef opens up about what he loves about the holiday
Inside August

On a journey to visit all of this year's nominees for the James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Award, we head to New Orleans


Chef John Besh is the man behind some of New Orleans' greatest restaurants (August, Luke, Domenica), but as opposed to some other chefs who spend their lives in restaurant kitchens, he also loves cooking at home. His newest TV show, in fact, Chef John Besh’s Family Table, draws on that passion for cooking with his family. It comes as no shock, then, that his Thanksgivings are filled with family, tradition, and surprisingly, lots of different varieties of stuffing.

"For me, Thanksgiving is all about family and friends getting together," Besh told The Daily Meal. "It’s the tradition of a menu never changing, and looking forward to the oyster dressing, the crabmeat and mirliton dressing, the Andouille cornmeal dressing — we just live by our sides — and down here in my neck of the woods we call stuffings dressings, so you have all these different kinds of stuffing, mainly seafood-driven, and almost nothing without a little bit of bacon or sausage in it."

And while the dressings might be the most anticipated items on the table, tradition doesn’t end there. "One tradition that we always have is to cook an extra turkey so we have it for the gumbo the day after Thanksgiving," he said. "Thanksgiving is one day, and we so look forward to the leftover turkey gumbo that we cook an extra turkey just to make sure we’ll have plenty left over, and both of those carcasses are used for rich turkey broth."

Any other items always on Besh’s Thanksgiving table? "There’s also the baked sweet potatoes cooked down with butter and steamed cane syrup," he added. "We always have a bisque or a soup of some kind, so a lot times it might be a wild duck gumbo or an oyster stew."

"Thanksgiving’s a time to revel in our soulful cooking," he said. "Those old family recipes that have been passed on for generations." 

Rate this Story