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.


John Besh was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in south Louisiana.

A chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana, John Besh preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one dish at a time in his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits and public activities.

Besh’s talent and drive have earned him kudos throughout his career: Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America.” He won the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef - Southeast in 2006 and was inducted into the Foundation’s “Who’s Who” in 2014. His twelve acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, Domenica, Pizza Domenica, Borgne, Johnny Sánchez New Orleans, Johnny Sánchez Baltimore, Shaya and Willa Jean) each celebrate the bounty and traditions of the region. His flagship restaurant, August, is a Gayot Top 40 Restaurant and a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Restaurant, in addition to being nominated in 2012 and 2013 for the James Beard "Outstanding Restaurant” award.

Besh is author of four award-winning cookbooks:, My New Orleans (October 2009) and My Family Table (November 2011), and Cooking From The Heart. He will release his forthcoming cookbook, Besh Big Easy, on September 29, 2015. He hosts two national public television cooking shows based on his books, “Chef John Besh’s New Orleans,” which began airing in 2011, and “Chef John Besh’s Family Table,” which debuted in April 2013. He hosted “Hungry Investors” on the Spike Network, in which he traveled around the country with Chef Tiffany Derry and Jon Taffer to assist “diamond in the rough” failing restaurants to meet their potential.

The John Besh Foundation, founded in 2011, works to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and foodways of New Orleans via initiatives such as the Chefs Move! culinary school scholarship and “Milk Money” microloans for local farmers.

He and his wife, Jenifer, live with their four sons in southern Louisiana.


Besh's restaurants include:[1]

  • 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 DomenicaUptown 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.
  • Shaya - New Orleans Garden District - Modern Israeli cuisine.
  • Willa Jean - The Paramount at South Market District - bakery and restaurant opening in August 2015.

John Besh Foundation[edit]


The John Besh Foundation was established in 2011.

The John Besh Foundation provides scholarships, grants and loans to individuals in the New Orleans community with the passion, creativity and knowledge to enact change in New Orleans and Louisiana. Chef John Besh created The John Besh Foundation in order to better serve his community by bringing a focus to his efforts in New Orleans.

Through essential partnerships and generous donations, the Foundation promotes the preservation of the culinary history and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana through the cultivation of new talent and the support of local endeavors.

Chefs Move! Scholarship

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

The mission of Chefs Move! is to diversify kitchen leadership by providing minority applicants the opportunity to train up and become leaders in restaurant kitchens and in their communities. The John Besh & Bride Mayor Scholarship provides two fully paid scholarships, one in Culinary Arts and one in Pastry Arts, for minority recipients from New Orleans to attend the International Culinary Center in New York City. The program at ICC is nine months and is followed by a two month internship with the Besh Restaurant Group. Once the internship has finished, Chefs Move! graduates stay and work in New Orleans for at least two years so that their advanced culinary skills benefit the local area.

Micro Loan Program

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

The main mission of the micro-loan program is to provide financial support to local farms who want to increase production and take their vegetables, milk, eggs or meat to the local farmers market, grocery store or restaurant kitchens while simultaneously assisting the farmers marketing and business strategy through local MBA programs.

Television appearances[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


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


External links[edit]