What can you eat with braces? TV chef John Besh knows

You might have to give up chewy and overly crunchy food when you have braces, but you don’t have to give up food cooked by a famous chef.

Celebrity chef and James Beard award-winner John Besh, known for his eight restaurants sprinkled around the south and many TV appearances, has partnered up with the American Association of Orthodontists to offer some recipes that will pass muster with your orthodontist.

It turns out October is National Orthodontic Health Month, if you didn’t know.

So celebrate properly with Besh’s recipes for brace-friendly food without the sticky or crispy elements that can damage  metal brackets.

Besh’s cauliflower mac and cheese recipe sounds pretty good:


1 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 quart milk
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1⁄3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 cup or so cooked cauliflower


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 12 minutes, uncovered, then drain in a colander.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute, then stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and when the white sauce is well mixed, reduce the heat to simmer. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese. Add the pasta and toss well, then stir in the Swiss cheese and half of the cheddar.
  4. Scatter the cauliflower in an ovenproof 9 x 12 dish and spoon the pasta and cheesy sauce on top. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle on the remaining cheddar. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the cheese is nicely browned.

Serves 8.

Visit the American Association of Orthodontists website for Besh’s other recipes.