Meet restaurateur, chef John Besh at Pensacola Beach food fest

Pensacola Beach's fall Taste of the Beach will feature cooking demos and more by chef John Besh.

The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce announced Lousiana-raised restaurateur and award-winning chef John Besh as the celebrity guest for its 8th Annual Taste of the Beach, taking place Friday, Sept. 18, and Saturday, Sept. 19.

Besh, who owns 11 celebrated dining spots, including eight in the Greater New Orleans area, will present a cooking demonstration and tasting during a VIP event at the Hilton Gulf Front hotel Friday evening. Attendees will nosh on modern coastal creations from half a dozen local chefs as well.

"[Besh's] Gulf Coast roots and love for using local, Southern ingredients is going to be a huge hit with our Taste of the Beach fans," said Nicole Stacey, the chamber's president, in a press release.

On Saturday at the beach's Gulfside Pavilion, after a series of chef cook-offs conclude and festgoers are full of restaurants' signature eats (set to be featured for $5 and under), Besh will showcase another live cooking demo at 1 p.m. Q-and-A and meet-and-greet sessions will follow, and there's no charge for admission.

Throughout the final Taste of the Beach day, a mermaid parade in the kid's area, beer samplings, a dessert battle and a 7 p.m. concert will also be highlighted.