Chef John Besh: Steamed in the Gulf

By Corby Kummer

Like everyone, I've been reading news of the BP explosion with a growing sense of alarm—and have been wondering what this would do to the shrimp and oysters that are an indispensable part of any eating experience in New Orleans.

I called John Besh, who knows as much about Gulf fishing, New Orleans cooking, and disaster cleanup as anyone, and certainly any professional chef in New Orleans. He also wrote a beautiful book last year with Dorothy Kalins, with great pictures that include him fishing.

He was mad and not shy about saying so. Watching reports calling the spill a "natural disaster" was particularly galling, and seeing the government take too much time to decide how and when to take action, and try to point fingers before swiftly mobilizing, riled him more.

As for interruptions to his own supply of local fish—which is all he serves at his six restaurants—he was less disturbed, at least for now. Right now. (And the crawfish industry won't be affected at all, which I hadn't realized and was glad to hear.) What happens next week and next month is another story. Read what he has to say here—and hope that federal emergency-management officials do too.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/04/chef-john-besh-steamed-in-the-gulf/39752/