Chef John Besh was born in 1968 in Meridian, Mississippi, was raised in southeastern Louisiana, and graduated from Saint Stanislaus College High School. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, was called to active duty in 1990, served in Operation Desert Storm, and participated in the recapture of the Kuwait Airport.
John graduated from the Culinary Institute in 1992 and went to work for Great Chef Chris Kerageorgiou at La Provence in Lacomb, Louisiana, and then moved on to the Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. In 2000, he then went to Vicki Bayley’s Artesia Restaurant in Abita Springs, Louisiana where Great Chefs Television taped him preparing an appetizer, Terrine of Smoked Foie Gras and Apple Compote, and a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta dessert.
In 2001, Besh and his partner opened Restaurant August across the street from his old kitchen at the Windsor Court Hotel. Great Chefs returned to have Chef Besh prepare a Roasted Lobster at August for their Great Chefs of America series. Besh and his team have been on a roll ever since, first opening Besh Steak in Harrah’s Casino across the street, then a restaurant in the World War II Museum, then taking over the old restaurant in what was Great Chef Susan Spicer’s Cobalt restaurant in the Kimpton Hotel, renaming it Lüke, and then buying La Provence where he started, after his mentor had passed away. What followed were more restaurants in the Hyatt and Roosevelt Hotels in New Orleans.
In between, he taped two of his own series simultaneously, one for the local PBS station WYES and another for TLC Channel.