Mardi Gras may have come and gone, but thanks to advocates like chef John Besh, New Orleans cuisine will always be in style. The Louisiana-based culinary personality — who runs nine restaurants, has authored three cookbooks, runs a charitable foundation, and hosts a forthcoming show on PBS — has been one of Crescent City's biggest ambassadors. We caught up with the chef poolside in South Beach, where we discussed everything from life lessons to ingredient obsessions.
POPSUGAR: What's keeping you busy right now?
John Besh: I have a new series coming out this Spring on American Public Broadcasting, which is called John Besh's Family Table, filmed in my house. It's strictly the foods that my wife and I feed our four boys, and the way that we create menus around that idea of cooking and eating as a family. My third cookbook will be released in the Fall; it's called Cooking From the Heart. It's about anecdotes and delicious recipes from my apprenticeships in both Germany and France, a tribute to stepping back good, gutsy food like blanquette de veau, that style of cooking. I wanted to focus on the idea of eating, dining, and learning more about yourself in the process — life lessons about food.
PS: Sounds like John Besh's Family Table is inspired by your book My Family Table. Tell us more about it.
JB: I created a book because my wife challenged me to the fact that I was running all over, sourcing ingredients for all of our wonderful paying customers. But at home, I kind of left that up to my wife. [She said], "If you cared half as much about what we're eating as [you do] your customers, then we would be a lot better off." That had me really think about why is it that I do what I do. It can't be just to make a living; I need to spread this kind of passion, and it starts with family. So I started operating the kitchen at home like I would operate a professional kitchen. Let's say I'm making this great centerpiece with pork shoulder and black-eyed peas; I'll take that shoulder and create anything from a green chili to Vietnamese noodle bowls to Cuban sandwiches.
PS: Why public broadcasting?
Find out his answer when you keep reading.