By: Lawren Largue, Mobile Bay Magazine
Photo: Elizabeth Gelineau
September 22 was no ordinary day at the office. 8 a.m.: Our staff eagerly awaits the minutes to tick down until it’s time to make the short drive over to Culinard at Virginia College where we will be meeting one of the top chefs in the nation.
John Besh’s reputation preceeds him: James Beard Award winner, cookbook author, successful restaurateur and lovable host of his own PBS TV series. This guy’s plate is full! And that’s what makes his relaxed, approachable demeanor that much more refreshing.
Right on time, the celebrity chef casually saunters in after driving over from NOLA, toting a massive cooler full of fresh ingredients that might as well be a treasure chest of gold. Smile beaming and eyes twinkling, he greets us one by one and then sets to work. With WKRG news anchor Devon Walsh as his student and sous chef, Besh breaks out the cutlery and wows our crowd with his flavorful, down-home dishes and simple instructions. In his own words, he’s cooking up food “like an old Southern grandmother — which is a good thing!”