By Debbie Gregory.
Before “celebrity chef,” “TV personality,” “philanthropist,” “restaurateur” or “author” appeared before his name, Louisiana native John Besh served his nation as a United States Marine.
The son of a fighter pilot, Besh enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school, serving with the 1st Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and I Marine Expeditionary Force.
Besh credits the Marines Corps for his culinary expertise. In fact, many veteran entrepreneurs cite the military as a source of the qualities that make them successful in business: a sense of leadership, mission, focus, organization skills, and selfless service.
These attributes have served Besh well, and have become the hallmark of the Besh Restaurant Group. Combat also gave him perspective, allowing him to keep kitchen disasters in context by not sweating the small stuff.
Each November, Besh’s restaurant group hosts a free social gathering celebrating the Marine Corps birthday, and the brotherhood for which the military branch has become famous.
From the battlefield to the kitchen, this award-winning chef has dedicated his life to the service of others. Besh has been active with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the oldest and biggest donor of need-based scholarships for military students. He has also served the UDT-Seal Association, a Veterans Support Organization that offers scholarships to the children of fallen warriors.
Additionally, Besh has worked with the Delta Veterans Foundation, which helps wounded warriors transition back to civilian life. He has also worked with the Wounded Warrior Project and the USO’s Operation SAFE Return campaign to create family centers for the loved ones of wounded warriors as they get medical care.
Lastly, 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.