Chef John Besh Steps Down After Alleged Sexual Harassment Claims at his Restaurant Group

Source: www.chefjohnbesh.com/about/

Source: www.chefjohnbesh.com/about/

Chef John Besh’s restaurant group is under scrutiny due to sexual harassment claims by 25 female workers.

Today, in an email from Shannon White, now the CEO of Besh Restaurant Group (BRG), it was announced Besh is "stepping down" to focus fully on his family, according to “The New York Times.”

Besh, known for promoting New Orleans cuisine through his twelve acclaimed restaurants, is making headlines for what many current and former BRG employees claim is a “bro culture” throughout the organization.

Nine woman agreed to have their names published and go on the record declaring that they were victims of sexual harassment while working for BRG, according to an investigation by "NOLA.com" and "The Times-Picayune” released over the weekend.

In a complaint filed by Lindsey Reynolds, with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company’s former social media manager said "vulgar and offensive comments, aggressive unwelcomed touching and sexual advances were condoned and sometimes even encouraged by managers and supervisors" at BRG.

According to “NOLA.com" and "The Times-Picayune,” Reynolds “resigned in February because the "rampant sexual misbehavior and harassment by the owners and managers of BRG had become unbearable," her complaint said. "There was no human resources person available, only other supervisors who were either afraid of losing their jobs or saw no benefit in challenging the good old boys club."

Reynolds claims are just one example of numerous other testimonies made by other women.

"We have learned recently that a number of women in our company feel that we have not had a clear mechanism in place to allow them to voice concerns about receiving the respect they deserve on the job. I want to assure all of our employees that if even a single person feels this way, it is one person too many and that ends now,” said Raymond Landry, BRG’s General Counsel, in a statement.

It turns out it wasn’t until earlier this month that BRG hired a director of human resources to provide the proper support to process such sexual harassment claims, said a company’s spokesman.

In a separate statement, Besh expressed his regret to having a consensual affair with a female employee and his plans to rebuild his marriage. "I alone am entirely responsible for my moral failings. This is not the way the head of a company like ours should have acted, let alone a husband and father. But it should not taint our incredible team of more than 1,000 employees, nor undermine our unyielding commitment to treating everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of gender, race, age and sexual preference," said Besh.

There are other allegations tied to other executives like Octavio Mantilla, co-owner of BRG.

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NOLA Pastry Chef Jeremy Fogg Dishes on New Dessert Trends

Jeremy Fogg is the pastry chef responsible for the decadent dessert program at New Orleans restaurant, Emeril’s. An Orlando native, Fogg’s passion for pastry began at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. After graduating, he worked at popular local hotels, including the Hilton Orlando, where he oversaw the dessert department for four of the hotel’s restaurants. On the side, he also operated his own private catering company for wedding cakes and desserts. In 2013, Fogg relocated to New Orleans to join the Emeril’s team, and in 2014, he was promoted to pastry chef.

Sweet Talk

Foodable: What are your favorite ingredients to work with?

Jeremy Fogg: Chocolate is definitely at the top of the list. The many ways it can be used is particularly appealing to me. I also enjoy working with fresh fruits—using them to make anything from sauces to sorbets to candied fruit garnishes.

Foodable: What are some of your fan-favorite desserts?

JF: The S'mores Ice Cream Sandwich has been a big hit amongst diners. We take our house-made toasted marshmallow ice cream and sandwich it between two layers of graham cracker cake and dark chocolate ganache, then serve it with more toasted marshmallows and a Fireball Whisky sauce. The Malted Chocolate Doberge Cake, served with a shot of house-made chocolate soda, has been a large seller as well. And for Mardi Gras season, the King Cake Monkey Bread steals the spotlight. They're baked-to-order and served with a variety of New Orleans-inspired sauces.

Foodable: What are diners craving today in terms of sweets and desserts?

JF: Diners are definitely looking for things that are new and a little different, but I've found that if a dessert has something familiar as its starting point, the diners' response is much greater. I've also noticed that the majority of our diners' palates are leaning toward desserts that are not overly sweet.

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Quick Six With… Alex Harrell, Chef & Owner at NOLA’s Angeline

Quick Six With… Alex Harrell, Chef & Owner at NOLA’s Angeline

Southern cuisine is a style often assumed to be dense, heavy, and even “overdone.” But that’s not always the case, as chef Alex Harrell exemplifies at Angeline in New Orleans, a recurring Foodable Top 25 restaurant located on Chartres Street at the Hotel Provincial in the French Quarter. As executive chef and owner, Harrell brings forth dishes that are simple in technique and straightforward in flavor with a touch of Spanish and Italian influence.

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NOLA Israeli Restaurant Named Restaurant of the Year

Shaya Restaurant  | Yelp, Dmitry B.

Shaya Restaurant | Yelp, Dmitry B.

Israeli New Orleans restaurant Shaya was recently named Restaurant of the Year by the food website The Daily Meal. Shaya was begun by Israeli-American Alon Shaya in partnership with renowned NOLA chef John Besh. Launched in early February, the restaurant serves modern Israeli style cuisine, featuring a number of favorite dishes such as fried cauliflower with caramelized onions as well as avocado on rye bread with whitefish.

"[Shaya is] a sleeper hit from two of America’s very best chefs, a delicious education of the American palate from masters who have demonstrated that they know it well,” stated The Daily Meal. Read More

Line Up! Which NOLA Restaurants Are Worth the Wait?

Table Number

NOLA, does waiting for a table at a restaurant feel like torture or is the anticipation worth it, kind of like how it feels standing in line for a Disney ride? Is food -- and the roller coaster certain dishes will take your palate on  -- ever good enough to sit starving for? Or do you prefer dashing over to a quicker dining experience?

In a survey question prompted by the Times-Picayune, more than 6,000 readers chimed in on which restaurants across the city were good enough to stare at the clock for.

At the top at the chart, Galatoire's, which boasts traditional flavors, got a 70 percent chunk of the pie, followed by the fun and jazzy Jacques-Imo's at 68 percent. 

What qualities do these restaurants have that leave locals hungry for more? And which other restaurants made the cut?  Read More