Star Kitchen: John Besh
Renowned New Orleans chef John Besh shows Food Network Magazine around one of the best party spots in the South: his tricked-out backyard kitchen. Photographs by David A. Land.
John Besh's Kitchen
Louisiana native John Besh owns six New Orleans restaurants, but the real action is in his two kitchens at home. "We might have 20 to 40 people over on any given Sunday," says the chef, who lives in Slidell, La., with his wife, Jenifer, and their four sons (Brendan, 14; Jack, 9; Luke, 7; and Andrew, 5).
John's kitchen is equipped with two fridges, an icemaker and a beer tap. He's pouring pints of Lüke Fru here; it's one of three beers that are custom-brewed locally for his restaurant Lüke.
Southern Louisiana often reaches a steamy 90-plus degrees in the summer, but an overhead fan keeps the kitchen comfortable. Breezes off the bayou help, the water flows right behind the house. "The boys and I have crawfish traps down there," John says.
John turns out some mean smoked meats, including homemade pepperoni, on his 240-pound combo smoker-grill. When he's at work, his wife, Jenifer, often fires up their gas grill to make burgers for the boys.
John and Jenifer's outdoor kitchen was built almost entirely from salvaged local materials, including the bricks, cypress wood and slate. "It was like a scavenger hunt to find it all," John says.
This restaurant-style pizza oven makes the Besh home a popular hangout. "You want all the kids to come to your house," Jenifer says. "And with a pool and pizza, it's a party!" John built the oven with a kit he bought online. Pizza night requires a little planning: The oven takes about three hours to preheat.