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About John Besh
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 mouth-watering dish at a time.
Besh grew up in southern Louisiana and has set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans – a town whose identity is bound to its food. Each of his eight acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector, The Soda Shop, Domenica and Lüke San Antonio) celebrates the bounty and traditions of the region.
From the outset of his career, Besh’s talent and drive have earned him continuous kudos: Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” and his flagship restaurant August has featured on the late great Gourmet magazine’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants” and “America’s Top 50 Restaurants.” Local publications keeping close tabs on the dining scene, like The Times-Picayune and New Orleans City Business, have applauded all his other restaurants as they have won the hearts and palates of discriminating diners. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006, and was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2009 for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. John Besh is a frequent guest chef on the NBC Today Show and has appeared on top programs on The Food Network and the Sundance Channel.
Besh’s devotion to local ingredients and cuisine also extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; the launch of a line of gourmet products; the publication of his first cookbook, My New Orleans (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2009) and the follow-up cookbook, My Family Table (Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 2011).
A former U.S. Marine, Besh is proud to have partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, for which he creates high quality ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world; the novel initiative promotes the Gulf Coast’s food culture as it elevates the Louisiana economy. In recognition of such far-reaching contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.
His sense of culinary and cultural stewardship and responsibility led him to create the John Besh Foundation in 2011, and the Chefs Move! scholarship program, which awards a scholarship to a minority student in New Orleans who has shown promise in the culinary arts. Another initiative of the Foundation is a micro-loan program to local farmers.
Whether served as far afield as North Africa or the Middle East, or by his own hands in one of his New Orleans restaurants, a meal created by John Besh is a thoughtful, flavorful, meaningful delight.
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It's 16 chapters of culture, history, essay and insight, and pure goodness. Besh tells us the story of his New Orleans by the season and by the dish. Archival, four-color, location photography along with ingredient information make the Big Easy easy to tackle in home kitchens. Cooks will salivate over the 200 recipes that honor and celebrate everything New Orleans.
Bite by bite John Besh brings us New Orleans cooking like we've never tasted before. It's the perfect blend of contemporary French techniques with indigenous Southern Louisiana products and know-how. His amazing new offering is exclusively brought to fans and foodies everywhere by Andrews McMeel.
From Mardi Gras, to the shrimp season, to the urban garden, to gumbo weather, boucherie (the season of the pig), and everything tasty in between, Besh gives a sampling of New Orleans that will have us all craving for more.
The boy from the Bayou isn't just an acclaimed chef with an exceptional pallet. Besh is a chef with a heart. The ex-marine's passion for the Crescent City, its people, and its livelihood are main courses making him a leader of the city's culinary recovery and resilience after the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.
What People Are Saying
"John Besh is one of the best American chefs of his generation. His extensive knowledge of true Louisiana dishes and traditions adds tremendous credibility to his writing." --Paul Prudhomme, chef and owner of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen Magic Seasoning Blends
"In his definitive tome, My New Orleans, John Besh captures the true, sweet, and honest voice of a clarinet playing the jazzy song of one of our most deliciously exclusive regional American kitchens." --Mario Batali, Iron Chef, restaurateur, author
"This book is an act of soul. Maestro Besh lives the life he cooks; he doesn't just tell us how to prepare Louisiana favorites, he teaches us what these dishes mean, with an emphasis on how hospitality can enrich civilization." --Wynton Marsalis, musician
"John will take you into the heartland of the South, rich with traditions, stories, and of course, its amazing cuisine!" --Daniel Boulud, chef, restaurateur, and author
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Cafe Reconcile, a New Orleans-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing at-risk youth an opportunity to learn life and interpersonal skills, and operational training for successful entry into the hospitality and restaurant industries.
Besh Big Easy: 101 Home-Cooked New Orleans Recipes, is a fresh and delightful new look at his signature food. Besh Big Easy will feature all new recipes and easy dishes, published in a refreshing new flexibound format and accessible to cooks everywhere. Much has changed since Besh wrote his bestselling My New Orleans in 2009. His restaurant empire has grown from two to twelve acclaimed eateries, from the highly praised Restaurant August to the just opened farm-to-table taqueria, Johnny Sanchez. John's television career has blossomed as well. He’s become known to millions as host of two national public television cooking shows based on his books and of Hungry Investors on Spike TV. Besh Big Easy is dedicated to accessibility in home cooking and Orleans cuisine. "There's no reason a good jambalaya needs two dozen ingredients," John says. In this book, jambalaya has less than ten, but sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor and even offers exciting yet simple substitutions. With 101 original, personal recipes such as Mr. Sam’s Stuffed Crabs, Duck Camp Shrimp & Grits, and Silver Queen Corn Pudding, Besh Big Easy is chock-full of the vivid personality and Louisiana flavor that has made John Besh such a popular American culinary icon. Happy eating!
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2012: USA Winner, Best Easy Recipes Book
2012 IACP Award Winner in the Children, Youth and Family category
2012 James Beard Award Nominee
"Of the recently published books by gourmet chefs on home cooking (e.g., Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Home Cooking with Jean-Georges and Rick Tramonto's Steak with Friends), James Beard Award-winning Louisiana chef John Besh's latest is easily the most beautiful. This stunning volume is filled with intimate photographs of the Besh family in the kitchen, at the table, and outdoors with friends. Recipes like Risotto of Almost Anything and Whole Roasted Sole with Brown Butter reinforce Besh's Jamie Oliver-like argument that practical home cooking does not require reliance on processed products. Includes some excellent holiday recipes. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
Renowned chef and James Beard award-winner John Besh invites us into his home and shows us how we can put good, fresh, healthy food on the table for our families every day.
In My Family Table, the Iron Chef champion makes a case for the importance of home-cooked meals. "If I can help make a difference by cooking simply and sharing what I love to cook, I can possibly help us all use our passions and skills to make our lives better at almost every meal."
From organizing your kitchen and stocking your pantry to demystifying fish cookery, John Besh shares his favorite recipes he cooks with his family every day. Master recipes Risotto of Almost Anything and Creamy Any Vegetable Soup show you how to make the food without worrying about having the right ingredients or mastering complicated techniques. Filled with mouthwatering photographs of each recipe as well as showing John in his kitchen with his wife and four sons, My Family Table captures the spontaneity, intimacy, and fun of home-cooking and will inspire the nation back to the family table.