John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one dish at a time.
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 nineteen acclaimed restaurants and rooftop bar (August, Bayou Bar, Besh Steak, Borgne, Caribbean Room, Domenica, Johnny Sánchez New Orleans, Johnny Sánchez Baltimore, Hot Tin, Killebrew Coffee, L.A. Jackson, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, Marsh House, Pizza Domenica, Shaya, Silver Whistle Café, 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 and in 2014 for “Outstanding Service” award. In January 2016, the Besh Restaurant Group acquired a space in New Orleans to house a new private events venue, dubbed Pigeon & Prince. Executive Chef Erick Loos of La Provence is helming the culinary development for the space. In March 2016, the Besh Restaurant Group announced the creation of One House Hospitality, a division focused on creating and operating food and beverage concepts inside hotels and resorts. This arm of the Group is headed up by CEO Emery Whalen, the current COO of the Besh Restaurant Group, and Executive Chef Brian Landry of Borgne Restaurant. In June 2016, John and Our House Hospitality opened four food & beverage concepts within the iconic Pontchartrain Hotel: the Caribbean Room, the Bayou Bar, Hot Tin, and the Silver Whistle Café. In October 2016, John once again teamed up with OHH to expand to Nashville and open three food & beverage concepts within the new Thompson Nashville Hotel: seafood-focused restaurant Marsh House, a coffee shop called Killebrew Coffee, and a new rooftop bar atop the hotel named L.A. Jackson.
Besh is the author of four cookbooks: My New Orleans (October 2009) and My Family Table (November 2011), Cooking From The Heart and most recently Besh Big Easy (September 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.