Video Transcript

00:09 John Besh: I fell in love with cooking at a really early age, like nine years old. I'd say from the moment I actually became a chef, from that point on, from an early age, I knew I wanted to have my own restaurant. And I thought it'd just stop there. My generation of chef, we were just happy that one day, to possibly own our own place, never thinking that this business would morph into what it's become. We're not just chefs, but business people and running multiple outlets and so on.

00:42 Besh: The way this whole thing started for us is that I wanted to be a chef. I wanted to be this fancy pan chef that won all these awards. I wanted to be the chef that had little food standing on each other. Things that just made you scratch your head and wonder, what in the world is that? "Oh wow, chef it's so wonderful." But then Hurricane Katrina came. We had about a hundred employees prior to the storm. And then, day that the hurricane hit, all I could count was about three or four of us. There's myself and one of my best friends, an Israeli, living together in my beat-up Land Rover Defender with his four cats. I did take with me every bottle of crude champagne that we had left at the Restaurant August, and all the caviar that we had there. Woo baby!

01:37 Besh: So it wasn't all bad. We've learned how to drown our sorrows. But upon witnessing the disaster, the federal levies failing us, the city filling up with water, I asked myself, why is it that I do what I do? And it's not because of rewards, and it's not to have plaques on the wall, and it's not just to have this fancy restaurant, cooking foods that people truly can't pronounce, even the cooks that cook them. It's about helping others, and it's about using our God-given talents to make the world a better place.

Published on: May 13, 2012