Stick a Fork In It, Esquire. The Tesar-Brenner Feud Is Done.
How's everything going on the man-centric media front? Pretty well, we imagine. We're just guessing here, but cranking out men's style guidelines and obliviously misogynistic articles all day long probably has you in pretty good spirits.
As does, we imagine, instigating silly feuds between other media outlets and pseudo-celebrity chefs.
So, yeah, you should be in pretty good spirits today after having decided to add in your two cents regarding the Dallas food scene's drama of the year — the much-maligned (and well-worn) John Tesar v. the Morning News' Leslie Brenner feud.
Now, we here in Dallas know this is — or, more accurately, was — a big blip in the media. Of course, that was three weeks ago. Tesar, as he does, was up-in-arms over Brenner's three-star review of his newest restaurant, Knife Modern Steakhouse in the Hotel Palomar. It is what it is: The guy's sort of the problem child in the Dallas dining circuit, as you may or may not know.
Some perspective, though: The Dallas media has long known to do one of two things when the guy gets upset; you either ignore him or you write an article about his tantrum and move on.
Now, granted: This time around, Tesar upped the ante somewhat with his now-infamous late-night (and we like to imagine him being very whiskey-drunk) “fuck you” tweet firmly directed at Brenner. And, in a further breach of even-headedness, he went on to publicly ban Brenner from his restaurants.
But, though you may not be as aware of this as the rest of us here in Dallas are, the Tesar-Brenner feud is kind of a universal constant at this point. Hell, Tesar is far from alone in his disdain for Brenner, as D Magazine and more than a handful of other chefs have long voiced their concerns there. Tesar, for hist part, is known as a hot-headed kitchen master who is capable of slinging some pretty decent high-end grub — while simultaneously being known as the most hated chef in town, according to one publication —
This is all given at this point.
Still Esquire, you decided to hop in on this little scuffle weeks after this so-called event-of-the-summer went down. You just had to give your opinion on this catastrophe — one the rest of us had long since stopped caring about. In case you're not getting it: The story has long been beaten to death.
So, no, we're not sure what possessed you to publish an article titled “The Day the Critic Cried.” But, in doing so, not only did you breathe new life into a debate that we Dallasites couldn't give less fucks about, but you undertook the mission of making Tesar look like some sort of fine-dining messiah.
In the article, one line truly sets your theme: “I think we will look back on the Tesar Eff-You as the moment when the critics finally lost their mojo.”
Wait, really? C'mon.
Then, after this, you explain that Tesar essentially destroyed the critics' destructive power in Dallas — a destructive power that you describe like the plot from Ratatouille, wherein a single poor review from a single critic could level a dining establishment.
First things first: What world are you living in, Esquire? Because it's not the world of internet, social media and Yelp — y'know, the one that defines the reality of dining in the 21st century.
Truth is, Brenner has never held the force-of-nature power you describe, whereby her words level kitchens, incinerate menus and force everyone involved in a dining venture to wallow in defeat. She's not some sort of vengeful god who uses her glib words and admirable diction to structure the Dallas dining scene as she sees fit. She's just not that powerful.
Which is why Tesar isn't realy afraid of Brenner — or any other critic, for that matter.
DO you not get this? Doesn't seem like it, given the fact that you then published an anonymous letter — presumably from a chef in Dallas — in full, in which Brenner is once again lambasted. This is a letter you didn't deem fit for a fact-checking, by the way.
Worse, that letter goes on the say that being a critic is a job that is easy and that “many, many people are qualified” to do it. Do you not employ critics of your own? How do they feel about that sentiment?
I guess you guys follow that whole eye-for-an-eye philosophy. If Brenner destroyed the life of some chef who only exists in an anonymous letter you guys published, then it must be justified to use your platform to make her out to be some irrelevant remnant of a bygone era.
How does that even work? Those are conflicting ideas!
Listen: We're not ones to hold grudges. Just like you should have done with the Tesar-Brenner story from day one, we'll try and forget about your little story, Esquire.
You got your swings in. You made your valiant attempt to somehow make this debacle seem relevant on a national scale. And now — hopefully, at least — you've learned that the rest of the country cares less about the petty squabbles that happen in our backyard than even we do.
Still, we should probably meet to bury the hatchet in person.
Meet us at Knife?
See you there,
Scott Mitchell and the rest of the “we're so over this” Central Track staff.