‘Top Chef’ alum John Tesar bans critic from restaurants after three-star review

John Tesar
John Tesar lashes out at restaurant critic after a three-star review.
(Bravo / NBCU)

What do you do when a critic doesn’t give you the review you were hoping for? If you’re “Top Chef” alum John Tesar, chef at two Dallas restaurants, you ban the critic, then go into battle mode on Twitter. 

Leslie Brenner, restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News, who previously worked as the food editor and sometimes restaurant critic at the Los Angeles Times, published a review of Tesar’s new steakhouse Knife on Wednesday. In her review she notes the restaurant has potential, but said “Tesar might well be a victim of his own exuberance and energy.” She gave him three out of five stars. 

To Tesar, the three stars might as well have been zero. The chef lashed out on Facebook, publishing a status update that announced he was banning Brenner from all his restaurants. 

“Leslie Brenner clearly does not understand what Knife is all about, but we appreciate that other restaurant writers grasp it,” wrote Tesar. “To paraphrase Mark Twain, I prefer not to battle with people who buy their ink by the gallon. But hear this: That woman is not welcome in any of my restaurants." 


But the Facebook comment wasn’t nearly enough. Tesar then took to Twitter to address the situation again with a couple tweets Thursday morning. 

"@lesbren *** you! Your reviews are misleading poorly written, self serving and you have destroyed the star system and you really suck,” tweeted Tesar. He then followed with "@BlakeBowyer @lesbren Dallas doesn’t need a miserable self serving food critic with a chip on her shoulder who make reviews personal." 

Them’s fightin' words!

Tesar is no stranger to publicly lashing out at his critics or opponents and was named the most hated chef in Dallas by D Magazine back in 2011. The rest of the country got a taste of Tesar during his stint on Bravo’s “Top Chef” season 10 when he sparred unrelentingly with Girasol chef C.J. Jacobson and frequently insulted other contestants. 


Brenner has yet to respond publicly to Tesar on Facebook or Twitter. 

Still hungry? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris 

[Updated July 18, 8:46 a.m.: A previous version of this post referred to D Magazine as Dallas Magazine.]

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