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Apr 19, 2009 09:31 AM

Luke - John Besh

What are friends for...

The only thing missing in the article is the disclaimer that one of Brett Anderson's best friends is the chef husband of John Besh's PR person Simone Rathle.

Luke is a decent restaurant but not all that great and very inconsistent.

Chef Besh is a great chef no doubt. But, he is just one guy. In my honest opinion the Besh restaurants are growing to quickly. August was great when John was at the helm with his special touch. Today is is still good but nothing special and it is very pricey. Luke is on it's 2nd or 3rd chef in as little as 2 years and La Provence is on it 3rd if not 4th chef in the same amount of time. The real test will come when he opens yet another restaurant in the new Roosevelt Hotel later this summer.

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  1. I would tend to agree JB and Luke are not all that. JB is a fine chef but I think that he has cultivated his "national ego" over his restaurants. I do want to say that there are much better charcuterie programs in New Orleans, come on he doesn't even make his own bacon that is pretty basic charcuterie. For better charcuterie programs check out Delmonico's, Patio's, any Link restaurant. I think that anderson was stretching it just a bit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheesegrater

      absolutely agree on the Delmonico charcuterie - went the other day and was blown away...that is an interesting tidbit I never read about...New Orleans is turning into a place with several top notch house cured meats

    2. luvsgudfodmm, you are right on point. Apparently JB got a huge infusion of cash post-Katrina and is now growing (literally) by leaps and bounds. He worked very hard for the revenue so please don't think he didn't earn it. No disrespect, but things just aren't the same at August in particular. Inconsistent food, spotty service and laughable management. He is being streched beyond his ability to control this expansion. It's my understanding that he spends almost all of his time at La Provence and his Director of Operations is clearly not up to the challenge. Brett Anderson with The Times-Picayune thinks JB walks on water. I truly hope he does not drown in his success.

      1. I will say that I really love both August and Luke and that at one point everything was very smooth and consistent at both spots. I have heard that things have changed lately, so I am curious to see what happens when Domenicia at The Roosevelt and the spot at the WWII Museum open. That will bring the empire up to 7, and although it is great to see a local boy doing well, I am afraid that soon we will see his face on spices and frozen entrees. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.....McAugust and McLuke.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ScarlettNola

          Check Rouses. He sells salad dressings. (Although not with his face on the bottle.)

          1. re: Frolic

            Yeah, I guess the face on the bottle would be perceived as a bit too "Emeril-ish"

        2. anyone remember Kevin Graham expanding too fast...anyone?
          hope Besh has better luck in the growth dept.

          4 Replies
          1. re: edible complex

            Didn't he receive a TON of accolades in the late 80's and early 90's? I don't know too much besides the fact that he was at The Grill Room and wrote a few cookbooks. Is he still in NOLA? I will have to look him up.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              he had Graham's, Sapphire and something else in the Fr. Qtr.
              he was also at The Grill Room at the WC. Sapphire was phenomenal.
              last I read he was in Taos, NM opening Graham's Grille, then semi-retired and still writing cookbooks.

              1. re: edible complex

                edible complex - OMG think back.......John Besh was the ex. chef when Kevin opened Grahams back in the mid90's!! He was just out of the marines.

                Besh IMO is in a better place than Kevin Graham was, in that he doesn't
                micromanage his multiconcept chain. Octavio Montilla (sp?) to me is the true genius behind the Besh empire and Besh lets him do that. The same was true for Emeril, Eric /Mauricio / Scott were there at the beginning (& still are) and he let them run with their ideas.

                Kevin Graham, Jason McDonald, Larkin Selman, Alex Patout - all NO chefs of the 90's were all just so talented to various degrees but all expanded too fast without
                allowing for "back of the business house" personnel to truly work with them. Jason ex chef'd something like 4 different concepts in 2 maybe 3 years, crazy!

                I heard that Kevin no longer has any restaurant since '07 and now does recipe development for food manufacturers and working on his series of cookbooks

                1. re: edible complex

                  The wonderful Patrick von Hoorebeck (formerly of the Bistro MdV and then over
                  at the Rib Room) is now the Maitre' D for August. That should really provide for
                  a fine tuning of the service. I also think that now that Dominica is finally open, the
                  staffing at all the Besh restaurants will be better as there was alot of shifting around from locations until the Roosevelt opened this month.

                  It says alot for his organization that they hired and paid staff (to work @ other Besh restaurants) for the extra 6 months that the hotel was behind schedule.