CHEF JOHN BESH
John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one mouth-watering dish at a time.
Besh’s talent and drive have earned him kudos throughout his career: Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America.” He won the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef - Southeast in 2006 and he will be inducted into the Foundation’s “Who’s Who” in 2014. His nine acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, Domenica, PIZZA Domenica, Borgne and Johnny Sánchez Baltimore) each celebrate the bounty and traditions of the region. His flagship restaurant, August, is a Gayot Top 40 Restaurant and a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Restaurant, in addition to being nominated in 2012 and 2013 for the James Beard "Outstanding Restaurant” award.
In August 2014, Besh partnered with his longtime friend, chef Aarón Sánchez, to open “Johnny Sánchez,” a farm-to-table taqueria with its first location in Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino, with a second New Orleans location to follow in the fall.
Besh is author of three award-winning cookbooks:, My New Orleans (October 2009) and My Family Table in (November 2011), and Cooking From The Heart. He hosts two national public television cooking shows based on his books, “Chef John Besh’s New Orleans,” which began airing in 2011, and “Chef John Besh’s Family Table,” which debuted in April 2013. He currently hosts “Hungry Investors” on the Spike Network, in which he travels around the country with Chef Tiffany Derry and Jon Taffer to assist “diamond in the rough” failing restaurants to meet their potential.
The John Besh Foundation, founded in 2011, works to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and foodways of New Orleans via initiatives such as the Chefs Move! culinary school scholarship and microloans for local farmers.
He and his wife, Jenifer, live with their four sons in southern Louisiana.
CHEF BRIAN LANDRY
Brian Landry, a New Orleans native, is a passionate chef, supporter of regional foodways, and dedicated conservationist of Gulf seafood. As the executive chef at Borgne, Landry pays homage to Louisiana’s coastal, indigenous cuisine while using the freshest local ingredients.
Being on the water surrounding New Orleans has always been part of Brian’s life. With uncles and cousins who were avid outdoorsmen, the Landrys would take regular family fishing trips. His earliest memories of food in New Orleans recall those large family gatherings, featuring oversized pots of gumbo and jambalaya.
Previously, Landry worked as the head chef for the Louisiana Seafood Board, where he acted as the spokesperson. Prior to that he worked for five years as the executive chef at the New Orleans institution, Galatoire’s, where he was frequently recognized for his creative talent and cuisine.
Octavio Mantilla was born in Nicaragua and moved to New Orleans as a child. At sixteen, he got his first job in a restaurant and has worked his way through all the managerial levels. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and an MBA from the University of New Orleans. He helped open Harrah’s Casino & Hotel in New Orleans; then to St. Louis as Harrah’s Director of Food Operations. He also opened numerous fine dining restaurants for Harrah’s nationwide. Octavio returned to New Orleans to be reunited with his old friend Chef John Besh at The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah’s. Octavio joined John as a partner in The Besh Restaurant Group, combining his vast experience in restaurant operations with a passion for customer service. Since becoming John’s partner, the Besh Restaurant Group has expanded to include Lüke San Antonio, Borgne, and Pizza Domenica with Johnny Sanchez Baltimore and Johnny Sanchez New Orleans opening in Fall 2014.