John Besh

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John Besh
Born (1968-05-14) May 14, 1968 (age 49)
Meridian, Mississippi, US
Education Culinary Institute of America
Spouse(s) Jenifer Besh
Website www.chefjohnbesh.com

John Besh (born May 14, 1968) is an American chef, TV personality, philanthropist, restaurateur and author. He is known for his efforts in preserving the culinary heritage of New Orleans cuisine.

Background[edit]

Besh was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in Southern Louisiana in Slidell.[1][2] He has been married to Jenifer Berrigan Besh since 1991, together they have four children.[3][4] The family is practicing Catholic, and parishioners of the St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Slidell, Louisiana.[4] Besh is a former US Marine.[5][3] In 1992 he graduated from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) but his schooling was cut short due to serving time in the Gulf war.[6][3]

In 2006, Besh won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, South”.[5] In 2008, he earned Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award for "revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans".[5]

Sexual misconduct controversy[edit]

John Besh was a co-owner of Besh Restaurant Group (BRG). In 2017, the BRG managers and owners were accused of allegations of perpetuating "a culture of sexual harassment" and sexual misconduct at the restaurants, publicized by 25 current and former employees.[2][7][8]

Besh addressed the accusations in a statement: “Two years ago, I deeply hurt those I love by thoughtlessly engaging in a consensual relationship with one member of my team. Since then I have been seeking to rebuild my marriage and come to terms with my reckless actions given the profound love I have for my wife, my boys and my Catholic faith.”[9] Celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain tweeted an image of the complaint filed against Besh's group, calling it, "the beginning of the end of institutionalized Meathead Culture in the restaurant business".[10]

Two days after the allegations were made public, Besh stepped down from BRG.[11][12][13][14][15][16] BRG executive Shannon White replaced Besh as CEO of the restaurant group.[17] In October 2017, in response to the sexual misconduct, Besh stepped down from the executive advisory board for the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame.[4] And according to the National Catholic Reporter, "Other Catholic entities that have been affiliated with Besh have not released statements about their future relationship".[4]

Lindsey Reynolds, the former Besh Restaurant Group staff member who helped expose the company’s culture of sexual harassment, is one of the people Time magazine named among of the national #MeToo movement as 2017’s Time Person of the Year.[18]

Restaurants[edit]

Many of his restaurants celebrate Louisiana regional cooking, including; Restaurant August, Besh Steakhouse, Lüke, La Provence, Domenica, Pizza Domenica, Johnny Sanchez, Shaya and Borgne.[1]

A list of Besh's active restaurants include:[19]

  • August – New Orleans’ Central Business District – his flagship restaurant, featuring contemporary French cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients. Featured in Gourmet magazine's "Guide to America's Best Restaurants," and "America's Top 50 Restaurants."[1]
  • BorgneHyatt Regency – coastal Louisiana cuisine, such as shrimp toast rissoles, oyster spaghetti and seafood stuffed flounder.
  • DomenicaRoosevelt Hotel – Italian; name means “Sunday” in Italian.
  • Pizza DomenicaUptown New Orleans - A casual spinoff of Domenica featuring counter service and a great beer selection.
  • La ProvenceLacombe, Louisiana – French.
  • Johnny Sanchez – New Orleans Central Business District - Mexican-Inspired.
  • Shaya – New Orleans Garden District - Modern Israeli cuisine.
  • Willa Jean – The Paramount at South Market District - bakery and restaurant opened in August 2015.
  • The Caribbean Room, Bayou Bar, Hot Tin, Silverwhistle Cafe – All located at the historic Pontchartrain Hotel opened summer of 2016 and represent the highest in fine dining, refined bar food, craft cocktails and palate pleasing New Orleans breakfast staples respectively.
  • Eunice – “Cajun, Creole brasserie”, opening "late Fall 2017" in Houston, Texas[20][21]

A list of Besh's closed restaurants include:

  • Besh SteakHarrah's New Orleans Casino – steakhouse. In October 2017, Harrah's announced that they would be terminating the relationship with Besh Restaurant Group (BRG) after the controversy around sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.[22]
  • Lüke – New Orleans Central Business District, previously a location in San Antonio (closed in 2017) – French, German and Creole cuisine.[23]
  • Johnny Sanchez Baltimore – Mexican-Inspired, co-owned with Aarón Sánchez, closed in 2017.[24]

Television appearances[edit]

Cookbooks[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • New Orleans Program: Eat, Exercise, and Enjoy Life, with David A., M.D. Newsome, 2006, ISBN 978-1-58980-344-2.
  • Introduction to Military High Life. Elegant Food Histories and Recipes by Agostino Von Hassell, 2006, ISBN 978-1-931948-60-9.
  • Forward to Trout Point Lodge Cookbook: Creole Cuisine from New Orleans to Nova Scotia, Random House, 2004

Contributions[edit]

Besh has contributed recipes or been featured in the following books:

  • The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook by Mimi Luebbermann, Robert Holmes, and Dan Mills, 2006, ISBN 978-0-8118-5355-2.
  • The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine by John D. Folse, 2004, p. 786, ISBN 978-0-9704457-1-1.
  • The Pleasure of Your Company: Entertaining in High Style by Kimberly Schlegel, 2004, p. 122, ISBN 978-1-58685-314-3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Chef John Besh". New Orleans Online. New Orleans Tourism Marketing. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  2. ^ a b Anderson, Brett (2017-10-21). "John Besh restaurants fostered culture of sexual harassment, 25 women say". Times-Picayune. NOLA Media Group. Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  3. ^ a b c Severson, Kim (2007-10-31). "From Disaster, a Chef Forges an Empire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Chef's Catholic connections in spotlight after sexual harassment allegations". National Catholic Reporter. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  5. ^ a b c "Chef John Besh of Besh Restaurant Group". StarChefs. 2012. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  6. ^ "Alumni, Besh, John". The Culinary Institute of America. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  7. ^ Report: Chef John Besh accused of allowing culture of sexual harassment at his restaurants OCT 21, 2017 The Advocate
  8. ^ 25 John Besh Employees Allege Sexual Harassment in His Restaurants: The New Orleans restaurant group, according to a report, fostered a culture that encouraged harassment and assault Erin DeJesus, eater.com October 21, 2017
  9. ^ Celebrity Chef John Besh’s Restaurant Group Accused of Fostering Sexual Harassment People, LINDSAY KIMBLE, OCTOBER 22, 2017
  10. ^ Twitter
  11. ^ Chef John Besh steps down from the restaurant company he founded amid sexual harassment allegations IAN MCNULTY, The Advocate, October 23, 2017
  12. ^ Anderson, Brett (Oct 23, 2017). "John Besh steps down from restaurant group after sexual harassment allegations". The Times-Picayune. NOLA.com. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  13. ^ Chef Besh steps down from company amid sexual harassment investigation, report says Erin Lowrey, WVUE, October 23, 2017
  14. ^ "Celebrity chef John Besh resigns amid sexual harassment allegations". CBS News. October 23, 2017. 
  15. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (October 23, 2017). "Chef John Besh Steps Down Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal". New York Times. 
  16. ^ Maynard, Micheline (October 23, 2017). "The Scandal Surrounding Celebrity Chef John Besh And The Perils Of A Family-Focused Brand". Forbes.com. 
  17. ^ John Besh Steps Down from Restaurant Group Following Sexual Harassment Allegations: 25 women accused the restaurants of creating a culture that allowed harassment and assault Monica Burton, eater.com October 23, 2017
  18. ^ Time Magazine Spotlights Besh Whistle-Blower Lindsey Reynolds Stephanie Carter, December 7, 2017
  19. ^ "Besh Restaurant Group". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  20. ^ McCarthy, Amy (2016-06-07). "New Orleans Chef John Besh Is Officially Headed To Houston". Eater Houston. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  21. ^ Para, Jen (Sep 27, 2017). "Houston serving up a slate of new restaurants this fall and beyond". BizJournals.com. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  22. ^ Masunaga, Samantha (2017-10-23). "Celebrity chef John Besh steps down from restaurant group amid sexual harassment allegations". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  23. ^ Chaudhury, Nadia (2017-02-20). "New Orleans Chef John Besh Is Closing Lüke San Antonio". Eater Austin. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  24. ^ "Johnny Sanchez Baltimore, Co-Owned By John Besh, Closes Its Doors". Eater New Orleans. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  25. ^ Food Network: Iron Chef America, "Batali vs. Besh"
  26. ^ Top Chef (TV Series 2006– ), retrieved 2017-12-11 
  27. ^ a b c "Press Release - John Besh's Family Table". WYES New Orleans. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  28. ^ "John Besh's New Orleans, Series". WYES New Orleans. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  29. ^ "Chef John Besh's New Orleans | Cooking Shows | PBS Food". PBS Food. 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 

External links[edit]