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Argumentative Dallas Chef John Tesar Wages War With LA Critic Jonathan Gold

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It's getting mean out there

Jonathan Gold
Jonathan Gold
City of Gold
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

In one of the weirder online gripe sessions you’ll see this week, argumentative Dallas chef John Tesar has been yelling at LA Times critic Jonathan Gold all day on Twitter. Tesar calls Gold to the mat for "talking out of school" about Dallas’ restaurant scene and its place in the world.

The argument stems from a Plate Online interview Gold did in support of his new documentary City of Gold. In it, Gold weighs in on Tesar's beef with Dallas News critic Leslie Brenner. (To catch you up: Tesar famously has been after local Dallas critic Brenner ever since she reviewed one of his restaurants a few years ago).

Here's the line that's making Tesar so mad right now:

I’ve never worked with Leslie ... but the thing she is doing is holding Dallas restaurants to a world standard, not just to a Dallas standard.

It seems he's taking umbrage with Gold's idea of a 'world standard' for the Dallas food scene, adding to it with the below exchange:

Tesar then jumped to Facebook to continue the discussion, adding:

Mr Gold I respect your writing ability and sometimes your judgment however I ask you when is the last time you where in Dallas ? In a recent article you claim Leslie Brenner is trying to hold us meaning the chefs of Dallas to a world standard ? Who sets that standard these days ? Critics or the people ?  ...

It's great that in this day and age of modern technology that critics are seeing the end to their need and very existence and are huddling together like a pack of intellectual snobs preaching to mostly empty space. Rather than just except the fact that the opinion of one person in a one newspaper town is no longer meaningful or necessary. I guess like most endangered species your going to try and hold on and survive only your environment has been dug up like a Brazilian rain forest and turned in to Yelp, Twitter,Facebook....

Please do your home work or come eat in our restaurants and tell me you still think she's holding us to a "world standard" because that would be crazy corrupt upside down bullshit world ! Have a great day ! See you in Dallas.

Gold has yet to respond (and may not), but he does take a swipe at Tesar in
the interview, calling his continued rants against Brenner "bush league."

For what it’s worth, most chefs seems to fall in line behind Gold’s reviews, including the more famous options like David Chang, Ludo Lefebvre, and Roy Choi. They all praise the Times critic in the City of Gold documentary — even when they haven't been favorably reviewed themselves.

As for calling Gold an "endangered species" in the restaurant world? Yikes.