Chef John Tesar’s new Dallas-based restaurant, Knife, is easily at the top of the totem pole of meat-centric restos in the lone star state. This means it’s on another level of carnivorous complexity – come on y’all, Texans know their steak, and Tesar’s spot is bustling every night for very good reason). For those that have followed Chef Tesar’s career—(he’s been nominated for two James Beard Awards and competed with success on Top Chef)—it shouldn’t be a surprise that his latest venture has been a huge hit. What separates Tesar’s mix of contemporary techniques with Southern cooking apart is the way in which he dry ages his cuts in-house – a technique he learned from a guy you’ve kinda-maybe-sorta heard of (ahem)- Chef Mario Batali. Beyond that it’s the fact that he so deeply cares about his food – the precision of his cuts, the artistry of his desserts. Knife is his brainchild, and he defends it to the bitter end, even telling a Dallas food critic to “F*&k off” after she gave him 3 stars; not a bad score by the way. And while we wouldn’t opt for the same word choice (we’re ladies here after all), Team Tig is all about Team Tesar. His food, his realness, his refreshing authenticity, and his skill make him an easy fav and deserving of every star we could give. Knife is a grand slam in our books. And if we weren’t smitten enough, after a long day of serving up some of the best bites in town, he was game to do our Chef’s Talk with us, giving us Grade-A answers. A chef after our own hearts (and bellies), indeed.
- What’s the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?
Either tacos or meatballs—it’s a toss up.
- What is the one knife you can’t live without?
Emerald green handled Korin slicing knife.
- What’s your naughty food indulgence?
Eating an entire pizza by myself.
- What’s your mini bar go to?
A nice bottle of champagne and some Pringles.
- If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?
Tei-An because I want to learn all of Teiichi Sakurai’s secrets.
- After a long day at work you go home and…?
Fall asleep in my chair watching HBO.
- If you weren’t working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?
I’d be playing guitar in a rock band.
- Drink of choice?
Rosé champagne, Bruno Paillard to be exact. Or really old Krug.
- One cookbook you can’t live without/most referenced?
I collect the good ones, but I rarely read them. I have a whole library.
- What’s the most overrated ingredient?
- Describe your cooking in one word: