Endlessly entertaining Dallas chef and former Top Chef contestant John Tesar has signed on to develop a new restaurant-themed reality show with a production company in Los Angeles. The show would follow Tesar as he makes Gordon Ramsay-style visits to restaurants and helps them improve their game.
Tesar, chef-owner at Preston Center seafood restaurant Spoon and new Hotel Palomar steakhouse Knife, has been the talk of the food media world ever since he took to Twitter and Facebook last week to question the credibility of Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner, following a review of Knife.
"What we're working on comes from a lot of things — including the way things have changed with the decreasing impact that restaurant critics have," Tesar says.
On Facebook, he posted an update saying that she was not welcome in any of his restaurants. On July 17, he issued the tweet heard around the food world that said, "@lesbren fuck you! Your reviews are misleading poorly written, self serving and you have destroyed the star system and you really suck."
He followed that with a response to @BlakeBowyer that said, "Dallas doesn't need a miserable self serving food critic with a chip on her shoulder who make reviews personal."
His comments were subsequently analyzed by bloggers and food writers across the country, from Eater to the Los Angeles Times.
Tesar, whose unflinching honesty perked up an otherwise dull season of Top Chef Seattle, says that he's been approached by a veteran reality-show production company that has created a number of shows for Bravo TV, among others.
"I need to do a few preliminary things like get with an entertainment attorney, but we're going to start developing a concept," he says.
Tesar says the idea would be something along the lines of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, but with less screaming.
"It would be me going to a restaurant and help fix it up, but I want it to be interesting and not just a guy who yells in a kitchen," he says. "What we're working on comes from a lot of things — including the way things have changed with the decreasing impact that critics have on restaurants.
"The era of the critic is over, and that FU was the icing on the cake."