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The Man Behind Horseshoe Casino’s “Nawlins” Restaurant
Chef John Besh
by Jen Cuthbertson


  If you haven’t heard about Chef John Besh before you will now and again and again. He has been spotlighted nationally on TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine features across the country lately. In December you will find him and his recipes in the Wall Street Journal, and again in the February Issues of O Magazine (Oprah), and Gourmet Magazine. On Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 24, Besh was featured on The Today Show, cooking a Thanksgiving breakfast for the residents of Chalmette. Later that day, back at Restaurant August, Chef Besh was featured on CNN, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for his family, his staff, and their families.

 John Besh’s awards and accolades would cover a wall. Because I am a self proclaimed “chef groupie” having the pleasure to sit down and talk with Chef Besh was quite an honor. My interview with him was absolutely the most enjoyable interview ever. I walked away enriched by our paths crossing.

 John Besh brings an exciting interpretation to 100 year old recipes, mixes traditional with his own culinary art twist to create some of the most mouth watering, palette pleasing dishes you will ever taste. His talent lies in layering flavors and bringing taste to the max. (See Nawlins Review)

 Ahh but there is more to what goes into the pan. I call it Beshology. See, Chef Besh “gets it”. He understands what life is all about. His passions for his family, friends, his work, and the world around him are all blended into a huge sphere that encompasses him and everything he encounters. He is a good human being besides being one of the best chefs ever. During the aftermath of Katrina he could be found rowing thru the murky flood waters trying to rescue his employees. He fed hundreds of FEMA workers day after day. Plus he spearheaded a fund raiser in Washington selling PoBoy Sandwiches to raise funds for the Katrina relief efforts.

I found John Besh to be a humble, likable, easy going fellow with a huge smile. You can see in the sparkle in his eyes his love for life and his willingness to take on the challenges he has encountered.  

John owns and manages the Famous August Restaurant in New Orleans. August has just reopened and is bouncing back from Hurricane Katrina in style.

Plus at Harrah’s Casino New Orleans you will find Besh Steak House. Harrah’s New Orleans hopes to reopen in February of 2006.  In Tunica Resorts at Horseshoe Casino he is the consultant for Nawlins, where you will find two of his protégés Chef Kelly and Chef Heath at the helm.
Chef Besh has taught his skills to 10 protégés, making it possible for more people to enjoy the flavors and experience his extraordinary dishes.

 I can’t help but think that because of his love for food and people we are the lucky recipients of his culinary talents when we get to enjoy “Besh Food”.

It is no secret that I am “hooked on Besh Food”. I so hope in John’s busy life he takes time out to write a book. Not only is his cooking style intriguing but his life is full and interesting. From a boy growing up in the rural south, to studying in Europe, to working at Maximum’s in New York to rowing a boat in rescue efforts to being a dad of 4, I am sure he has a lot to share with all of us.

If you want more on Besh…you can Google him and find a gazillion reviews and articles.
Or click on the links below

Chef Heath Lanier who has studied under Chef John Besh is now the room Chef at Nawlins Horseshoe Tunica. Chef Kelly English is returning to New Orleans to help in the recovery of his hometown.

Besh, an overview
Horseshoe Tunica Nawlin’s Review
August Restaurant Website

Harrah's New Orleans Besh Steak House
N’awlins Executive Consulting Chef John Besh Honored With the Prestigious James Beard Award

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