New Orleans, LA | Meauxbar
Executive chef John Bel was born and raised in New Orleans, where his family has resided for over 10 generations. Bel was exposed to the city’s Southern hospitality from an early age, working at his aunt and uncle’s famed snoball stand, Sal’s, starting at 11 years old. In 2001, he took his first restaurant position as a bartender at Bridge Lounge. In the months following Hurricane Katrina, Bel launched the bar’s food program, which welcomed the community in for food and drinks and to use some of the few internet-accessible computers in the area. At the same time, Bel worked as a line cook at Sainte Marie, eventually shifting to full-time.
In 2014, Bel joined the team at Meauxbar as a line cook. After a few short months, he was promoted to sous chef for his creativity and approachable leadership style. During this time, he cooked alongside James Beard award-winning chef Anne Kearney of famed New Orleans restaurant Peristyle, which he considers a career highlight.
Bel’s continued success positioned him to take over as Meauxbar’s executive chef in April 2016. As executive chef, Bel’s knowledge of unexpected flavor profiles and techniques continue to shine in the restaurant’s seasonal menus. He prioritizes cultivating relationships with local urban farmers and participating in local community events, including the Crescent City Farmer’s Market Annual Moonlight Market fundraising dinner. A true New Orleanian, Bel’s main hobbies include eating and drinking his way through the city, especially in the Lower Garden District where he resides with his partner, Sean.