In this interview with Playboy, Dallas chef John Tesar, known as much for his scorching rants as he is for his cooking, lives up to his reputation with a number of hot takes. Tesar hits several topics head on, from Southern food invading Dallas to Anthony Bourdain's (alleged lack of) cooking skills, and the chef pulls no punches. Love him or hate him, one can't deny that Tesar is a complex individual. He claims to be a liberal democrat, but he isn't afraid to praise Donald Trump, and a $15 minimum wage isn't his cup of tea. Read on and digest the best lines from Tesar's interview, which will let you know exactly where he stands.
On his famous feud with Dallas restaurant critic Leslie Brenner: "I was like the guy in that movie who just opened up and said, I'm mad as shit and I'm not going to take it anymore. So I got all the credit for it. But trust me, everybody else was saying it behind her back, which is a Dallas trait in itself."
On Southern hospitality: "We smile in your face and then when you leave the room we just talk shit about you."
On what cattle-crazed Dallas likes in a restaurant: "It was hard to get people to come spend 100 bucks a person to eat seafood. But they'll come eight nights a week to spend $100 on steak."
On the emergence of Southern food in Dallas: "For years I've been told don't call it the South, it's Texas. And now all of a sudden we're going to start bringing Sean Brock shit to fucking Dallas?"
On his distaste for a $15 minimum wage: "When I'm hiring a guy for $9 an hour, I'll cut him some slack. I don't care if he's hungover; he's washing dishes. But if I have a dishwasher making $15 an hour, he's basically going to learn how to do fucking everything back there."
On making the bold decision to side with Donald Trump: "What are we going to do, start paying illegals $15 an hour? They're doing five jobs and sending all the money back to Mexico. It's like, where is the government? To a certain extent Donald Trump has a point."
On why national food writers don't cover Dallas: "For years it was only about that J.R., Sue Ellen, or rugged, cowboy lifestyle. ... We have no environmental concerns, we are notoriously red, we are notoriously racist."
On his recreational drug habits: "I smoke pot. I don't care. I got a ticket the other day for pot paraphernalia for $225."
On why young cooks shouldn't compete on Top Chef: "It just leads to false gods. It has nothing to do with the restaurant business. It's produced. The best cook doesn't always win."
On the necessity for substance to trump style at restaurants: "Delicious is more important than creative because everything's been done before. You're not going to reinvent the wheel. ... A lot of the artsy fartsy food is beautiful in pictures and some of it is beautiful in its presentation, but it's soulless in the eating of it. Because it's composition, it's not cooking."
On Anthony Bourdain's true talents: "If you really have an intellectual debate with him, you'll learn that he's an amazing writer and storyteller and probably one of the shittiest chefs that ever lived. The guy can't cook his way out of a paper bag. Everywhere he goes he makes Portuguese fish stew, beef bourguignon or he brings Eric Ripert with him to do something."