Never one to shy away from controversy or the limelight, renown Chef John Tesar’s life choices are just as daring and bold as his cuisine. The four-time James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant specializes in modern American cuisine prepared with authentic European techniques, served up to his legion of fans who flock to his Dallas-based steakhouse – Knife. Tesar’s no-nonsense personality and sharp culinary perspective have garnered high-profile acclaim throughout his 20+ year career including national nods from Esquire (named to “Best New Restaurants” for two consecutive years), Food & Wine, New York Magazine, The New York Times, appearances on “The Today Show,” “The Early Show” and winning the inaugural season of the Food Network’s “Extreme Chef.”
Tesar opened Knife, located at the Highland Dallas hotel, to critical acclaim in May 2014. A reinvention of the steakhouse experience, the chef-driven restaurant features all-natural born and raised Texas beef, pork and lamb in dry-aged prime cuts and specialty cuts such as chuck flap, beef tongue and Akaushi beef. Named one of Eater National’s “Most Anticipated Openings,” Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants,” Zagat’s “Hottest New Restaurants,” Maxim’s “America’s Best Steakhouse Specialties,” D Magazine’s “Best Steakhouse in Dallas” 2015 and 2016 and featured on Esquire Network’s “Restaurant Revolution,” Knife is Tesar’s revolutionary steakhouse vision realized.
Prior to Knife, Tesar opened Spoon Bar & Kitchen, receiving recognition in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best New Restaurants in the World,” Bon Appetit Magazine’s “The Best New Restaurants of America in 2013” and Esquire magazine’s “The Best New Restaurants of 2013.”
Tesar, who received classical French training at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, originally started his culinary career in his home state of New York. He worked at posh eateries such at Club Pierre in Westhampton, followed by stints at 13 Barrow Street, 44 & Hell’s Kitchen, Vine, and even cooked alongside Anthony Bourdain at the Supper Club in Manhattan. He would eventually trade the Big Apple for Sin City to work with Chef Rick Moonen at RM Seafood in Las Vegas. However by 2007, Tesar embarked on another major move to then up-and-coming culinary hotspot Dallas to take the helm at the ritzy Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; there he would earn two five-star reviews.
A highly sought-after consultant, Tesar is the genius behind the menus at DRG Concepts’ Dallas Chop House, Dallas Fish Market, Wild Salsa, and Chop House Burger as well as The Cedars Social, Oak in the Design District, and The Commissary; for which he earned a “Best New Restaurant” award in D Magazine with his revolutionary CVap cooked burgers.
With a steadfast focus on the future, Tesar recently announced he is currently developing a television show, and working with Flatiron Books and Macmillan on his first book, “Knife: Steakhouse Meals at Home,” to be published in spring 2017. There are also future plans to expand Knife steakhouses nationwide, and immediate plans to to open a Knife Burger at the much-anticipate Legacy West food hall in Plano, TX for fall 2017.
From bringing seafood to the heart of Texas to reimagining the traditional steakhouse, Tesar continues to be a visionary, instrumental in Dallas’ growing reputation as a true foodie destination.