Celebrity chef coming to Dogwood

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

TV personality and cookbook author John Besh will make an appearance at the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival May 13. (Photo submitted)

John Besh, New Orleans ambassador, executive chef and founder of Besh Restaurant Group, TV personality and cookbook author, is coming to Dowagiac May 13 for the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.

Besh grew up in southern Louisiana, learning at an early age the essentials of Louisiana’s rich culinary traditions.

Besh set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans with six successful restaurants — Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Luke, La Provence, Domenica at The Roosevelt Hotel and The American Sector at The National World War II Museum.

Talent and drive earn Besh continuous kudos from the outset of his career: James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef Southeast” in 2006, Food and Wine’s “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America,” Gourmet’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants” and “America’s Top 50 Restaurants.”

In 2007, Besh was featured as a creative visionary whose passion helped transform a culture in the Sundance Iconoclasts series, along with jazz legend Winton Marsalis, a New Orleans native.

He hosted “Inedible to Incredible” on TLC last summer.

He was runner-up on the Food Network’s hit series “Next Iron Chef” and appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” to help raise money for and support the Make It Right Foundation.

His first solo-authored cookbook, My New Orleans, was released in fall 2009 and was awarded “American Cookbook of the Year” by the IACP.

As the father of four sons — Brendan, Jack, Luke and Andrew — Besh takes breaks from some of New Orleans’ most popular restaurants to continue a longstanding family tradition: fishing.

“My sons think I’m crazy,” he says, laughing, “because I want them to learn how to make a roux and a gumbo.”

Besh’s appreciation for local ingredients and local cuisine has only increased since Hurricane Katrina as he considers these essential to the survival of the people and cultural heritage of New Orleans.

Besh has been actively involved in efforts locally and national to raise funds for hurricane victims.