Chef John Besh’s Family Table (New TV Series)
I’m pretty excited to be able to tell you about Chef John Besh’s new TV series “Chef John Besh’s Family Table.” Earlier this week I attended a reception where we ate delicious food, drank amazing cocktails and caught a sneak peek of the new series. Needless to say, it was a fantastic evening. And the show – the show was so cool. More on that later.
Let’s take a step back here. Sometimes I just take for granted that everyone already knows who Chef John Besh is. He’s a highly skilled chef, a successful entrepreneur, well-respected cookbook author and sometimes reluctant TV host. He catapulted into national fame after Hurricane Katrina via the work he did on both a local and national stage. He’s had partnerships with Food Network and many national brands.
I want his kitchen!! #kitchenenvy
To us here in thew New Orleans food world, he’s a hero. He’s a very talented and highly respected chef. When I was in culinary school back in 2000-2002, he was already a big deal to us. And he hadn’t even opened his own first restaurant yet. In that time period, Restaurant August opened, owned at that time by the Robin family. It wasn’t until later (probably 2004-2005 time period) that Besh bought August, making it his first official restaurant.
I’ve casually known Chef Besh for years and have followed his work mainly via dining in his restaurants here in New Orleans. He’s up to seven here in New Orleans with two more located elsewhere (Lacombe, La. and San Antonio, Tx.). I’m proud to say I’ve eaten at all of them except the one in San Antonio. Haven’t gotten there yet but I will one day!
Oh look, it’s me and Chef Besh. hehehehehehe
Okay, so quite enough gushing from me. Let’s get on to why you’re here – the food! So the event I attended took place at the National World War II Museum’s Stage Door Canteen – a lovely venue that’s great for live shows as well as watching “big screen” shows, etc. Below is a montage of the food items I tried.
I’ll do my best to describe each item for you:
- Barbecue pork slider with creamy coleslaw – YUM! This might have even been pork belly because it was like a slab of pork doused in sauce.
- Baked oyster on the half shell topped with crabmeat and bread crumbs – I love oysters so this one was a winner!
- Mini slider burgers with pickled onions and foie gras – there was more to this but I cannot recall. It was tasty and well-seasoned.
- Bacon cupcakes – enough said!
- Creamy cauliflower soup with lemon oil and Cajun caviar – the lemon and cauliflower were such a delightful combination. I’ll have to keep this in mind next winter!
- Shrimp ring – a creation of Chef Todd from Besh Steak. It’s chopped shrimp molded and deep-fried to look like an onion ring. The sauce is a buffalo ranch sauce. OMGGGG, yes.
- Bacon wrapped jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese – a well-executed classic. The jalapeño was manageably spicy. Just how I like it.
- Fried oyster sandwich with arugula – I was getting fairly full by this point so I only ate the oysters. Which were delicious. I love fried oysters and this sandwich also had a tasty, tangy sauce on it.
This party of course had an open bar, and they were serving basically whatever anyone wanted. But more importantly, they pulled out three signature cocktails for easy ordering. The list included: Manhattan, French 75 and Americano cocktails. While I love all three, I decided to stick with the Americano. It’s basically Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda. WINNER! I had two; was tempted to do three; thought better of it; glad I did.
So while we ate and drank to our heart’s content, we actually got to see an episode of Chef Besh’s new show. It’s set in his own expansive, beautiful home kitchen (want, want, want). He carefully and thoughtfully prepares recipes from his recent book My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking.
Each episode contains three recipes, and Besh makes them from start to finish right there in the episode. Below is a tomato and avocado salad that he prepared. Notice the grill marks on the avocado. Oh yeah, he went there. YUM. This is just one example of the deliciousness that will be in this show.
I really liked the episode I saw. The tone is relaxed and comfortable. While cooking, Chef Besh teaches about technique and gives tips and tricks for being a successful cook. To him, it’s not about recipes but about cooking good healthy food from the heart.
I can relate to that. I only do recipes here on the site because I need to be able to share them with you somehow! But just knowing what you like and executing it with a lot of heart is the only real way to cook.
So check out the new show if you’re so inclined. If you’re a fan of cooking shows, you’ll love this one. The series starts in early April on PBS affiliates of American Public Television nationwide. Check your local station for more information.
And a little bonus/lagniappe section for you - Here’s some other cool stuff going on with Chef Besh and his restaurants:
- Chef Alon Shaya of Domenica is serving a special Passover menu each evening from March 25-April 2. Check it out.
- For those in NOLA who love NOWFE (New Orleans Wine and Food Experience), The Chef John Besh Foundation is holding a fundraiser on May 25 for the Chef’s Move scholarship. The event will feature delicious food, wine and entertainment from the likes of Kermit Ruffins, Mia Borders and more. Read more about the event here.
- Chef Todd Pulsinelli has moved from the American Sector to Besh Steak recently. He’s taking his love of fine dining to new heights with the upscale environment and clientele that Besh Steak offers. We wish him well! (He’s a good friend of this blog).
- Most of Chef Besh’s restaurants feature amazing happy hours. Most are discounts on drinks and food. Great deals. Our favorite one is at the American Sector – discounted beer, wine, cocktails along with $0.75 BBQ pork sliders, meat pies and Chappapeela Farms duck wings. Check it out if you’re here in NOLA. Another favorite is Domenica who does half price pizzas (swoon!) with drink discounts.
Are you a big fan of Chef John Besh? Share your story or experiences with us in the comments section!