As we all became acutely aware of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I was falling in love. I have long had a love affair with the food and culture of the bayous, but one of its treasures, homeboy, John Besh, had alluded me up until then. He has been called the best of a new generation of New Orleans chefs with his world-class award-winning cuisine springing from roots deep in the home of his birthplace. His book, My New Orleans, The Cookbook, contains 200 hundred of his favorite recipes and stories. It is rich with personal tales of his family and friends and the unique food history of the city and its cooking. You can literally feel the warmth as you peruse the pages, read the memoir and sample the recipes. The book contains lots of pictures too! Two friends recently tried the Belle River Crawfish Pie and raved about it so much it drove me to the seafood store for crawfish tail meat and to the kitchen store for those cute little individual tart pans. I kid you not. I will be making this pronto!
If that is not enough, adorable, talented chef, and all, I opened my Sunday paper last week and found him on the cover of Parade Magazine pictured with his four darling boys and piece on fatherhood. Sweet! I learned he has penned a new book called, My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking ( one of my passions as well) and is scheduled to air his new television program ,Chef John Besh’s Family Table, on PBS in April 2013. We have so much in common, John. Let’s hook up! Oh there is that little matter of his wife, childhood schoolmate and soul mate for 19 years, Jenifer. Sorry girl, I will settle for having John be one of my fantasy “boyfriends” and continue to lust after his amazing recipes. No harm done.
I have tried the recipe for Crab Bisque in his My New Orleans, cookbook, as well as the and Red Beans and Rice and the Gumbo and Grits to name a few tried and true. One of the finest of those I have tried has been Hot and Sour Lemongrass Shrimp Soup. I featured this amazingly delicious soup in several of my Thai @ Home classes this season and it was received with standing ovations. It will truly make you a culinary god/goddess in the eyes of your dinner guests, I promise. It my goal to make my way through this book as quickly as time permits because so far the recipes and bountiful tips have not failed to impress.
Thanks, John, for being a humanitarian, a portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Cafe Reconcile, New Orleans based non-profit organization dedicated to providing at-risk youth an opportunity to learn life and interpersonal skills, and operational training for successful entry into the hospitality and restaurant industries. You are by all accounts an all around great guy. Most of all, thanks for sharing your beloved New Orleans with us that we might experience it through the eyes of a native. I am happy to be on this culinary journey with you. I cannot wait to read your new book!