We are thrilled to welcome acclaimed chef, author, and restaurateur, John Besh, to IFBC New Orleans! Chef Besh will speak about his career and passion for food during the special Saturday evening dinner.
About Chef Besh:
John Besh is a chef dedicated to the culinary riches of his native 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 has set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans – a town whose identity is bound to its food. Each of his six acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector, and Domenica) celebrates the bounty and traditions of the region.
From the outset of his career, Besh’s talent and drive have earned him continuous kudos: Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” and his flagship restaurant August has featured on the late great Gourmet magazine’s “Guide to America’s Best Restaurants,” and “America’s Top 50 Restaurants.” Local publications keeping close tabs on the dining scene, like The Times-Picayune and New Orleans City Business, have applauded all his other restaurants as they’ve appeared and won the hearts and palates of discriminating diners. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006, and was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2009 for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. John Besh is a frequent guest chef on the NBC Today Show, and has appeared on top programs on The Food Network and the Sundance Channel, as well.
Besh’s devotion to local ingredients and local cuisine also extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; the launch of a line of gourmet products; and the publication of his first cookbook, My New Orleans (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2009.) A former U.S. Marine, Besh is proud to have partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, for which he creates high quality ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world; the novel initiative promotes the Gulf Coast’s food culture as it elevates the Louisiana economy. In recognition of such far-reaching contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.
Chef John Folse, born in St. James Parish in 1946, learned early that the secrets of Cajun cooking lay in the unique ingredients of Louisiana’s swamp floor pantry. Folse seasoned these raw ingredients with his passion for Louisiana culture and cuisine, and from his cast iron pots emerged Chef John Folse & Company.
When Folse opened Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant in 1978 in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, he set out to market his restaurant by taking “a taste of Louisiana” worldwide. He introduced Louisiana’s indigenous cuisine to Japan in 1985, Beijing in 1986 and Hong Kong and Paris in 1987. In 1988, Folse made international headlines with the opening of “Lafitte’s Landing East” in Moscow during the Presidential Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1989, Folse was the first non-Italian chef to create the Vatican State Dinner in Rome. Promotional restaurants also included London in 1991 and 1993, Bogota in 1991, Taipei in 1992 and 1994 and Seoul in 1994. In 1988, the Sales and Marketing Executives of Greater Baton Rouge named Folse “Marketer of the Year” and the Louisiana Legislature gave him the title of “Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.”
The international success of Folse’s cornerstone property, Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant, spawned the incorporation of several other Chef John Folse & Company properties. White Oak Plantation in 1986 established Folse’s catering and events management division. Chef John Folse & Company Publishing, since 1989, has produced nine cookbooks in his Cajun and Creole series, plus a novel, two children’s books and a religious memoir by other authors. “A Taste of Louisiana” is Folse’s international television series produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting since 1990. Chef John Folse & Company Manufacturing, since 1991, is one of the few chef-owned food manufacturing companies in America producing custom-manufactured foods for restaurants as well as the retail and food service industries. In January 2005 a new USDA manufacturing plant opened in Donaldsonville, and in 2007 growing demands pushed the plant to expand. In 2008, Folse cut the ribbon of his expanded 68,000 square-foot manufacturing plant.
The John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, opened in October 1994 and is dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana's rich culinary and cultural heritage. In August 1996, Folse began broadcasting his radio cooking talk show, “Stirrin’ It Up.” In 2001, “Stirrin’ It Up” expanded to a television cooking segment during the 5 p.m. newscast on WAFB-TV Channel 9 in Baton Rouge.
Exceptional Endings, the pastry division of Chef John Folse & Company, was launched in 1996 to create specialty desserts, pastries and savories. In October 1998, a fire destroyed the 200-year-old Viala Plantation, which housed Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant, and in May 1999 Folse opened his former Donaldsonville home as Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant at Bittersweet Plantation, offering fine dining and bed and breakfast accommodations. In the year 2000, Folse incorporated Digi-Tek Productions, a full service digital recording studio. In 2002, Bittersweet Plantation Dairy opened, and offers a full line of fresh and aged cheeses, butters, yogurts and ice cream.
In 2010, Folse announced his business partnership with Chef Rick Tramonto and the formation of the new restaurant development company Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development, LLC. The partners will launch their first joint restaurant, Restaurant R’evolution, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans in the city’s renowned French Quarter in fall 2011. Restaurant R’evolution will offer modern, imaginative reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine.
Folse has received numerous national and international accolades over the course of his 30-plus year career. In 1990, the American Culinary Federation named Folse the “National Chef of the Year,” and in 1999, the Research Chefs Association (RCA) named Chef John Folse & Company "Pioneers in Culinology" due to the efforts of Folse's culinary research team. He is the only chef ever to serve as chairman or president of the American Culinary Federation (1994), DiRōNA (2000-2001), and the Research Chefs Association (2005-2007). In 2006, Folse was inducted into the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s College of Diplomates. In October 2008, Folse was awarded the Louisiana Governor’s Cultural Economic Development Arts Award. He holds honorary Doctorates of Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, and Baltimore International Culinary College.
Thirty years of culinary excellence later, Folse is still adding ingredients to the corporate gumbo he calls Chef John Folse & Company, which is as diverse as the Louisiana landscape, and he would not want it any other way.
Justin Devillier was raised in Dana Point California, a small beach town in south Orange County. Growing up, Justin enjoyed the laid back lifestyle of living on the beach. Summers were spent fishing for Yellowtail and Albacore tuna, and in the fall and winter he would free-dive for Lobsters just steps from the front door. This bounty of local seafood inspired Justin’s will to cook professionally and after cooking for a few years right out of high school, he decided it was time to focus on becoming a chef.
In 2003 he moved to New Orleans and worked in the kitchens of Bacco, Stella, and Peristyle. While working at Peristyle, Justin worked with Chef Anne Kearny-Sands and learned the ins and outs of French cuisine and was responsible for preparing daily charcuterie specials.
In June 2004, Devillier joined the restaurant staff at La Petite Grocery. He became sous chef in October 2005. After Hurricane Katrina, Justin helped re-establish La Petite Grocery, managing daily specials and training new line cooks. In February 2007, he became the Executive Chef. Justin was named a 2008 Chef to Watch by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine in August 2008, as well as a Chef to Watch by The Times-Picayune in 2008. In 2009, he was named one of New Orleans CityBusiness’ Culinary Connoisseurs for Best Executive Chef and Best Neighborhood Restaurant. Devillier “cooks in a manner so appropriate to New Orleans spirit: French bistro with a Southern twist.”[Also, according to Zagat, Chef Justin Devillier makes “clever use of local ingredients in his expertly crafted Contemporary Louisiana-French dinners.”
Justin works hard to support local farmers and fisherman and really enjoys grass fed beef, Berkshire hogs and really hoppy Ales. He credits his hard working staff for any accolades the restaurant might receive. When Justin gets free time, you can still find him fishing and hanging out on the beach.
See all the delicious dishes that La Petite Grocery has to offer on their website: http://www.lapetitegrocery.com/
Like La Petite Grocery on Facebook!
To say chocolate is in his blood is not far from the truth. Growing up in Nigeria, Tariq Hanna’s family lived a mere stone’s throw away from the national cocoa processing plant where aromas of roasting cocoa beans always filled the air.
Upon graduation from boarding school in England, Tariq moved to the United States to attend Lawrence Technical University in Detroit in hopes of becoming the next great architect. In an unforeseen move, Tariq soon found himself enrolled in culinary school at Oakland Community College. It was here that he realized his true potential. While focusing on finding a job in hot food, Tariq dabbled in pastries on the side, soon discovering his talent and love for the art.
In 1993, Tariq opened his own family-operated pastry and catering shop, The Northville Gourmet, at the age of 24. The Northville Gourmet was a labor of love, exploring all facets of cooking and baking he learned from not only his extensive work background, but also from his mother. In the second year of business, Tariq was awarded “Best Bakery” and “Best Dessert” in Detroit by Metro Times readers.
After six years of successful self-employment, Tariq was offered the opportunity of a lifetime as the first casino pastry chef in Detroit. In December 1999, MotorCity Casino opened in Detroit to rave reviews for its foodservice. This gave Tariq the chance to truly develop his distinct style and approach to what by now was his obsession. It was here that Tariq immersed himself in all things pastry, from taking and teaching classes to performing in competitions on a local and national level, by now getting national attention.
During his tenure at MotorCity, Tariq participated in several cooking competitions on the Food Network including the National Bread and Pastry Championship, Chocolate Fantasy Competition, and Gingerbread Mansions Competition. In 2004, he was the first ever Central Region Pastry Chef of the Year and Runner-up National Pastry Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation.
After seven years at MotorCity Casino, Tariq joined forces with New Orleans native restaurateur and entrepreneur Joel Dondis. Sucré was a vision of Joel’s for three years and as it came to life both Tariq and Joel began work to make the dream a reality. Sucré is a pastry experience unlike any the city has ever seen. As this great city goes through a modern day renaissance, Sucré hopes to pave the way for a new style of great Louisiana desserts.
See all of the delicious offerings Sucré has to offer on the website: http://www.shopsucre.com/
A specialist in Progressive Continental cuisine, Drew joined The Grill Room as executive chef in the fall of 2008 and has been recognized as a New Orleans CityBusiness Culinary Connoisseur. Under his guidance, The Grill Room has received a rating of “Four Beans” from The Times-Picayune, with the headline, “The Grill Room Reclaims Its Glory.”
A native of Kissimmee, Florida, Drew learned his passion for cooking from his grandmother, mother and uncle. At the age of 15, Drew landed his first job at a bakery, making wedding cakes and pastries.
He moved to Charleston, SC to attend Johnson and Wales University where he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management.
Drew has worked at Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms and the Woodlands Resort & Inn in Summerville, SC. While at the Woodlands, he was part of the team that won the Mobil (now Forbes) Five Star Award. He also served as the Chef de Cuisine at the Charleston Place Hotel.
Drew’s philosophy on food is to cook what you love to eat – this ensures true passion for your finished product. He enjoys scouring local and world markets to find the freshest ingredients available to continually evolve his menu. Inspired by culinary influences ranging from the southeastern United States to Europe and Asia, Drew prepares dishes in a meticulous yet loving manner. The ultimate goal – to surpass guest expectations with every bite.
Outside of the restaurant, Drew enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and three dogs, and restoring Volkswagen Bugs.
Chef Tenney Flynn
“The most exciting aspect of running the kitchen at GW Fins is working with our distributors to source the finest seafood from around the globe,” says Tenney Flynn, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of GW Fins. “I have developed relationships with dozens of suppliers, some of whom specialize in sourcing one type of seafood from one area. Every morning I am on the phone with each of these suppliers, and I buy nothing but local Yellowfin Tuna from one, scallops from another, soft shell crabs and crab meat from a third, and so on.”
This principal is the foundation of Chef Flynn’s restaurant, GW Fins, which he co-owns with Ruth’s Chris alumni, Gary Wollerman. The concept is simple. GW Fins offers guests the absolute finest and freshest seafood that is available from all corners of the world. Whether it is Salmon from Ireland, Spanner Crab from Australia, or Turbot from Chile, guests will have the opportunity to sample wonderful seafood from all over the world.
“My culinary philosophy is that if you are working with seafood that already has wonderful flavor, the cooking techniques should enhance these flavors rather than overwhelm them,” states Flynn.
Growing up cooking in his father’s restaurant in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Flynn developed an innate understanding of Southern food and culinary traditions. From there he received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. Chef Flynn officially began his fine dining career with Atlanta’s esteemed Buckhead Life Group, cooking at such famed restaurants as Pano’s and Paul’s, Fishmarket at Lenox and finally as Executive Chef of Chops. Ruth’s Chris Steak House then recruited his talents as the company’s Director of Culinary Operations, a position he held for seven years.
His role as Co-Owner and Executive Chef of GW Fins is extremely hands-on. Chef Flynn is involved in every aspect of the restaurant from selecting and receiving the seafood, creating and testing all of the recipes, supervising the entire kitchen staff and staying in the kitchen until the last entrée of the evening is served.
“It is a lot of fun to offer people the opportunity to enjoy seafood from other regions, varieties that they probably have never tasted before,” states Chef Flynn. “I enjoy serving the types of foods that I’ve prepared over the years, like Fried Lobster Tail and Smoked Oysters, having guests enjoy them as much as I do.” GW Fins is located in New Orleans at 808 Bienville Street (504/581-3467). Please visit their website at www.gwfins.com for additional information.
Mario has always had a fascination with American and Italian cuisine. Mario was born in the US but has lived in Italy for most of his life, He graduated from the Professional Institute of Hotel and Restaurant Management in Italy and also received his teaching certificate. He planned menus and typical Italian dishes for various local restaurants. "I love making sauces and working with seafood," he says. Mario was the chef at the “A cannata” an island resort off the coast of Sicily, he also served as Head Chef for the Italian army's 4th Reg. Genio-Brigata Duca D'Aosta's generals and other officers, When he moved back to the U.S. 11 years ago, Chef Mario worked in the Philadelphia area before joining Campbell in July 2002. Today, Mario enjoys knowing that the products he works on may end up on the tables of millions of U.S. consumers.
Friday Evening: Taste of New Orleans! 6:30-8:00pm
At our opening night reception, you'll get to sample bites prepared by NOLA's best chefs and restaurants:
Saturday Lunch: New Orleans Classics! 12:00-1:30pm
Bring your appetite for po'boys, oysters, muffaletta, grits, and gumbo from NOLA's favorite dining spots:
Saturday dinner will be a spectacular coursed meal prepared by New Orleans' own legendary chef, author, and restaurateur, John Besh!