John Besh

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John Besh
Born (1968-05-14) May 14, 1968 (age 47)
Meridian, Mississippi, USA
Education Culinary Institute of America
Spouse(s) Jenifer Besh (attorney)

John Besh (born May 14, 1968 in Meridian, Mississippi) is an American chef, TV personality, philanthropist, restaurateur and author.


Besh was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in south Louisiana. He loved to hunt and also fish. In 1986, John graduated from St. Stanislaus College High School (Bay St Louis, MS), and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a reservist. He also attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.[1] He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1992.[2] Called to active duty for 10 months in 1990 to serve in the Middle East, he was a non-commissioned officer during Operation Desert Storm,[3][4] and participated in the capture of Kuwait International Airport.[1] He studied in Germany with Karl Josef Fuchs at the Michelin-starred Romantik Hotel Spielweg. Besh has also studied in the south of France with Alain Assaud.[3]

Besh is married to attorney Jenifer Besh. He has four sons: Brendan, Jack, Luke, and Andrew.


Besh was named one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 1999.[4] In 2006, he won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the Southeast [5] and was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2009[6] for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. A former U.S. Marine, Besh partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, producing ready-to-eat meals for distribution to emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world; the initiative promotes the Gulf Coast’s food culture. In recognition of his contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.[7]

Besh competed against seven other chefs in the first season of the Food Network's The Next Iron Chef. He was eliminated in the final versus Michael Symon.


Besh's restaurants include:[8]

  • August – New Orleans’ Central Business District – contemporary French cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients.
  • Besh SteakHarrah's New Orleans Casino – steakhouse.
  • 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 domenica" = Uptown New Orleans - A casual spinoff of Domenica featuring counter service and a great beer selection.
  • La ProvenceLacombe, Louisiana – French.
  • Lüke – New Orleans Central Business District and San Antonio – French, German and Creole cuisine.
  • Johnny Sanchez - New Orleans Central Business District- Mexican-Inspired

John Besh Foundation[edit]


The John Besh Foundation was established in 2011.

Chefs Move! Scholarship

John Besh co-founded, Chefs Move! with Jessica Bride.

Micro Loan Program

In 2011, John Besh set up a micro loan program to aid New Orleans farmers in rebuilding their businesses.

Television appearances[edit]


  • My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4494-0787-2.
  • My New Orleans: The Cookbook: 200 of My Favorite Recipes & Stories from My Hometown, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7407-8413-2.
  • 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


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


  1. ^ a b Thorn, Bret (2002). "John Besh: Switching gears from leading troops to leading cooks". Nation's Restaurant News. 
  2. ^ Culinary Institute of America: CIA Spotlight, John Besh.
  3. ^ a b Severson, Kim. "John Besh". New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Best New Chefs - 1999 - John Besh.
  5. ^ 2006 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards
  6. ^ Poris, Jim. "Food Arts". Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Waren, Wendy (August 5, 2008). "LRA Names John Besh Restaurateur of the Year". Louisiana Restaurant Association. 1 1 (1): 1. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Besh Restaurant Group". Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  9. ^ Episode IA0301, Batali vs. Besh, 'Battle Andouille'.

External links[edit]