John Besh is a poster boy native son. Growing up in southern Louisiana, the chef is passionately dedicated to the culinary riches of his hometown. And with nine restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, American Sector, Soda Shop, Domenica, and Borgne), a tireless entrepreneurial spirit, and a major public presence, Besh is more than giving back to the land that raised him.
And he’s been getting noticed for it from the get-go. Building on a regular influx of local love from The Times-Picayune and New Orleans City Business, Besh quickly earned national attention. Food & Wine named him one of America’s “Best New Chefs,” and his flagship restaurant August was featured on Gourmet’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants” and “America’s Top 50 Restaurants.” In 2006, Besh won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, South,” and three years later her earned Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans.
Besh’s devotion to local ingredients and cuisine extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; the launch of a line of gourmet products; and the publication of his first cookbook, My New Orleans, in October of 2009, followed by My Family Table in 2012. Unsurprisingly, Besh reaches beyond traditional industry boundaries.
A former U.S. Marine, Besh partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International to create high-quality, ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the United States and around the world. In recognition of such far-reaching contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him “Restaurateur of the Year” in 2008. Four years later, Besh still works tirelessly to nourish his city, all while teaching the next generation of chefs to cherish her as much as he does.