Today, John Tesar joins a small but growing contingent of people who are inking book deals and television contracts based on their ability to raise rabble on Twitter. Sure, Tesar has been working in kitchens for decades and is currently operating two wildly successful restaurants, but there's no doubt that his late-night "fuck you," the tweet heard 'round the world, has much to do with Tesar's undeniable rise in the national food media's consciousness.
The show, alliteratively titled Restaurant Revolution, is set to premiere on Esquire TV next month. Tesar, of course, is no stranger to reality TV shows, but this time he won't be fighting it out amongst a group of young chefs. Instead, Tesar will be profiled alongside some of the most respected chefs in the country, including Wolfgang Puck and Tom Colicchio. Unlike Puck and Colicchio, though, it sounds like Tesar's "most controversial chef in the country" status will be up for discussion, at least more prominently than his food.
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This feature is a continuation of the the cozy relationship that Tesar has had with Esquire and head critic Josh Ozersky. Even if Leslie Brenner didn't think the food at Knife was worth four stars, Esquire seems perfectly happy to step into that praise void. Just in the last few weeks, Esquire has announced both Tesar's place on their Best New Restaurants In America List and this upcoming profile on their burgeoning TV network.
After the Brenner controversy, it was rumored that Tesar had a Gordon Ramsay-esque restaurant rescue show in the works. This primetime profile may be television viewers' chance to get a look at what TV Star Tesar will look like in a non-competitive setting, and set the stage for what could be some very entertaining television. Tesar may not have the snooty British accent, but he's honest to a fault and clearly business-savvy, traits that made Ramsay wildly successful as a TV host.
What is interesting, though, is exactly how non-controversial John Tesar actually is in Dallas. His restaurants are packed, no doubt at least partly thanks to the press coverage, and both of the city's other food critics, including our own, gave Knife a much more favorable review than Brenner. If you ask any chef or restaurateur in the city, you'll probably find that his views on Brenner aren't all that controversial, either.
As always, the inimitable and always evolving John Tesar is misunderstood, this time by his allies. You can watch Tesar tell his tale of being controversial and misunderstood on November 12 on Esquire TV.