WHO WE ARE
Chef John Besh, Co-Founder
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 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 was inducted into the Foundation’s “Who’s Who” in 2014. His twelve acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, Domenica, Pizza Domenica, Borgne, Johnny Sánchez New Orleans, Johnny Sánchez Baltimore, Shaya and Willa Jean) 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 and in 2014 for “Outstanding Service” award. In January 2016, the Besh Restaurant Group acquired a space in New Orleans to house a new private events venue, dubbed Pigeon & Prince. Executive Chef Erick Loos of La Provence is helming the culinary development for the space.
Besh is the author of four cookbooks: My New Orleans (October 2009) and My Family Table (November 2011), Cooking From The Heart and most recently Besh Big Easy (September 2015). 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 hosted “Hungry Investors” on the Spike Network, in which he traveled 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 “Milk Money” microloans for local farmers.
He and his wife, Jenifer, live with their four sons in southern Louisiana.
Jessica Bride, Co-Founder
Jessica grew up in Mid-City in New Orleans and moved to New York in 1999 where she worked with The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group serving as Special Projects Director, Marketing & Communications Director and Vice-President, Lifestyles. With the group she opened seven high-volume, white tablecloth steakhouses around the US over six years. While in New York, she also graduated from the French Culinary Institute.
In 2005 she moved to London, where she worked as Director of Development for Longshot, PLC, another high-end restaurant company.
While abroad, she met her husband and soul mate, Nick Mayor, who shares her love of food, travel and current political events. Nick fell in love with New Orleans after one visit and two months later they moved to New Orleans to raise their family and to get involved in the rebuilding after Katrina. Jessica serves as Scholarship Director for The Culinary Trust, Co-Founder of the John Besh Foundation and is active in the New Orleans Junior League.
Caroline Rosen, Executive Director
Caroline Nabors Rosen graduated with a Psychology and Neuroscience degree from Tulane University in 2007. She then served as an associate for the H-Works Health Care Consulting division of the Advisory Board Company in Washington DC. In 2009 Caroline joined Mountain Valley Spring Water as the Sponsorship Coordinator. In 2010 Caroline became the National Marketing Director for Mountain Valley Spring Water. Caroline recently joined the John Besh Foundation as Executive Director and looks forward to helping the Foundation grow.
Lola Thomas, Programming Director
After graduating from University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences, Lola Thomas joined the United States Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa to work in International Development. She worked as a community organizer in the fields of agri-business, malaria prevention, and gender equality. She is especially passionate about improving the lives of women and girls through educational empowerment, and served as the Communications Coordinator on the Peace Corps Senegal's Gender Equality Board. Lola is proud to be part of the great work done at the John Besh Foundation.
Thank you to our community partners!
In 1984, Dorothy Cann Hamilton founded The French Culinary Institute with a singular goal in mind: to provide superlative French culinary training in New York City in an immersive six-month program. Inspired by the technical school her father created and the premier vocational schools she visited in Europe, she accomplished what many deemed impossible. After 30 years, we are now the International Culinary Center. With locations in New York’s Soho, Northern California and Parma, Italy, and programs that range from Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts and Cake Techniques & Design to Italian Culinary Experience, Spanish Culinary Arts andIntensive Sommelier Training, ICC is now the global expert in culinary and wine education.
Hope Federal Credit Union is not your ordinary credit union. Started in 1995 as a small church project with big dreams, HOPE is a community development credit union that helps low- and moderate-income people build a solid financial foundation for a better future. Their mission is to strengthen communities, build assets and improve lives in economically distressed areas of the Mid South by providing access to high quality financial products and related services.
Established in 1946, LaPorte is one of the largest independent accounting and business consulting firms in the region, with over 160 personnel in New Orleans, Houston, Baton Rouge and Covington. Giving back to the community and profession is engrained in LaPorte’s culture. They encourage all professionals senior level and above to be active leaders in their community and uphold their civic duties. They support all LaPorte employees who want to give back to the communities and the profession that give them so much. For more information, click the logo above.