John Besh

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John Besh
John Besh.jpg
Besh in 2012
Born (1968-05-14) May 14, 1968 (age 53)
EducationCulinary Institute of America
Spouse(s)Jenifer Berrigan Besh

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.


Besh was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in Slidell.[1][2] He has been married to Jenifer Berrigan Besh since 1991; together they have four children.[3][4] The family are practicing Catholics 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 owing to his serving in the Gulf War.[6][3]

In 1999, Food & Wine magazine named Besh among the "Best New Chefs" based on his food at restaurant Artesia.[7]

John Besh was a co-owner with Octavio Mantilla of Besh Restaurant Group (BRG), the group formed after they bought out the original investors of the acclaimed restaurant August.[7]

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]

In 2017, the BRG managers and owners were accused of perpetuating "a culture of sexual harassment" and sexual misconduct at the restaurants, publicized by 25 current and former employees.[2][8][9]

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."[10] 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".[11]

Two days after the allegations were made public, Besh stepped down from BRG.[12][13] BRG executive Shannon White replaced Besh as CEO of the restaurant group.[14][15] BRG was renamed as BRG Hospitality, after the departure of Besh.[16]

In October 2017, in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct, Besh stepped down from the executive advisory board for the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame.[4] According to the National Catholic Reporter, "Other Catholic entities that have been affiliated with Besh have not released statements about their future relationship".[4] Besh also served as a judge (alongside fellow chef Giada De Laurentiis) on an episode of the Food Network series Iron Chef Showdown that was originally set to air on December 13, 2017; however, the episode got pushed back to January 10, 2018, with Besh having been digitally edited out.[17][18]

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 the national #MeToo movement as 2017's Time Person of the Year.[19]


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

The following active restaurants are associated with Besh:[20]

  • 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.
  • Lüke – New Orleans Central Business District – French, German and Creole cuisine.
  • Pizza DomenicaUptown New Orleans – A casual spinoff of Domenica.
  • Shaya – New Orleans Uptown – 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.
  • Eunice – "Cajun, Creole brasserie", opening "late Fall 2017" in Houston, Texas[21][22]

The following restaurants associated with Besh are now closed or no longer feature Besh:

  • Artesia – was located in Abita Springs, Louisiana.[7]
  • 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.[23]
  • La ProvenceLacombe, Louisiana – French, Besh sold the restaurant in May 2017; the restaurant closed in 2018.[24]
  • Lüke – San Antonio location(closed in 2017) [25]
  • Johnny Sánchez Baltimore – Mexican-Inspired fare, co-owned with Aarón Sánchez, closed in 2017.[26]
  • Johnny Sánchez – located in New Orleans, Mexican-Inspired fare opened in October 2014, this was co-owned with Aarón Sánchez. But as of February 2019 Besh is no longer involved with this restaurant, he was replaced by long time employees Miles Landrem, and Drew Mire.[27]

Television appearances[edit]

Year released Television show title Network Notes
2005 Chefs A' Field Warner Hanson Television & KCTS Episode 307, broadcast January 1, 2005, episode takes place on a shrimp boat
2006 Iron Chef America Food Network Season 3, Episode 1[28]
2007 Food Network Challenge Food Network Season 5, Episode 9, role of judge of the mac and cheese challenge[29]
2007 Iconoclasts Sundance Channel Episode 17, broadcast November 22, 2007
2007 The Next Iron Chef Food Network Season 1, runner up contestant
2009 – 2014 Top Chef Bravo Network Appears in the Season 5 Finale, as well as Seasons 8, 9 and 11; always as a guest judge.[30]
2009 Top Chef Masters Bravo Network Season 1, contestant
2010 Treme HBO Season 1, Episode 7, "Smoke My Peace Pipe", plays self
2010 Inedible To Incredible TLC host
2011 Chef John Besh's New Orleans Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Premiered in April 2011, host of the 26-part cooking series.[31][32]
2013 Chef John Besh's Family Table WYES-New Orleans premiered in 2013, host of the 26-part cooking series.[33]
2014 Hungry Investors Paramount Network reality tv host
2016 NCIS: New Orleans CBS Season 2, Episode 22 , "Help Wanted", broadcast May 3, 2016



  • My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4494-0787-2.[33]
  • My New Orleans: The Cookbook: 200 of My Favorite Recipes & Stories from My Hometown, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7407-8413-2.[33]
  • Cooking From The Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way, 2013, ISBN 978-1449430566.
  • Besh Big Easy: 101 Home-Cooked New Orleans Recipes, September 2015, ISBN 978-1449469177.


Besh has contributed writing, 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.
  • 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
  • New Orleans Program: Eat, Exercise, and Enjoy Life, with David A., M.D. Newsome, 2006, ISBN 978-1-58980-344-2.


  1. ^ a b c "Chef John Besh". New Orleans Online. New Orleans Tourism Marketing. Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. 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. ^ a b c "From combat Marine to celebrity chef: How John Besh built a restaurant empire post-Katrina". Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  8. ^ Report: Chef John Besh accused of allowing culture of sexual harassment at his restaurants OCT 21, 2017 The Advocate
  9. ^ 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, October 21, 2017
  10. ^ Celebrity Chef John Besh's Restaurant Group Accused of Fostering Sexual Harassment People, LINDSAY KIMBLE, OCTOBER 22, 2017
  11. ^ Twitter
  12. ^ "Celebrity chef John Besh resigns amid sexual harassment allegations". CBS News. October 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "Chef John Besh Steps Down Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal". The New York Times. 2017-10-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  14. ^ McNulty, Ian (October 23, 2017). "Chef John Besh, facing sexual harassment allegations, leaves the restaurant company he founded". The Advocate. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  15. ^ 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, October 23, 2017
  16. ^ Carter, Stephanie (May 21, 2018). "Despite Tempestuous Year, John Besh's Restaurant Group Pushes Ahead With Opening". Eater New Orleans. Retrieved 2018-06-09. John Besh’s restaurant group (now called BRG Hospitality)
  17. ^ Morabito, Greg (January 9, 2018). "John Besh Gets Edited Out of 'Iron Chef Showdown,' Finally - Eater". Eater. Vox Media. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Myers, Dan (January 11, 2018). "It sure looks like John Besh was edited out of this week's 'Iron Chef Showdown' - LA Times". LA Times. Tronc. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Carter, Stephanie (December 7, 2017). "Time Magazine Spotlights Besh Whistle-Blower Lindsey Reynolds". Eater New Orleans.
  20. ^ "Besh Restaurant Group". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  21. ^ McCarthy, Amy (2016-06-07). "New Orleans Chef John Besh Is Officially Headed To Houston". Eater Houston. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  22. ^ Para, Jen (Sep 27, 2017). "Houston serving up a slate of new restaurants this fall and beyond". Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "La Provence, A Lacombe Institution, Is Closed and For Sale for $1 Million [Updated]". Eater New Orleans. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  25. ^ Chaudhury, Nadia (2017-02-20). "New Orleans Chef John Besh Is Closing Lüke San Antonio". Eater Austin. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  26. ^ "Johnny Sanchez Baltimore, Co-Owned By John Besh, Closes Its Doors". Eater New Orleans. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  27. ^ McNulty, Ian (2019-02-16). "John Besh out at Johnny Sanchez; chef Aaron Sanchez, partners to run New Orleans restaurant". The Advocate. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  28. ^ "Batali vs. Besh". Food Network. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  29. ^ "Food Network Challenge Mac and Cheese". Food Network. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  30. ^ Top Chef (TV Series 2006– ), retrieved 2017-12-11
  31. ^ "Chef John Besh's New Orleans | Cooking Shows | PBS Food". PBS Food. 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  32. ^ "John Besh's New Orleans, Series |". WYES New Orleans. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  33. ^ a b c "Press Release – John Besh's Family Table". WYES New Orleans. Retrieved 2017-01-07.

External links[edit]