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John Tesar “Wining and Dining with Jim White” 01-24-19 January 24, 2019

Posted by jwdineline in Chef Tips & Video, Home, Interviews, Spotlight Restaurants, Wining & Dining Videos, Wining and Dining Podcast.
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Burger nailed.  Steak slammed.

jim white and john tesar 2John Tesar is tops with beef (and a lot of other foods, too).  It’s just that he has absolutely hit a homerun in the steak and hamburger departments with his Knife and Knife Burger concepts.  You like them, too, because they are expanding into different locations–with more planned.  And, the Top Chef favorite has other concept plans up his sleeve.  Find out what’s going on with John as he joins us on this week’s edition of “Wining and Dining with Jim White”.  He also shows you the secret to his much balyhooed Ozersky Burger on today’s show.  Watch us at VOKALnow.com, YouTube or Vimeo, or subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.  Thanks for listening and/or watching.  And, remember.  If anybody asks you what you’re making for dinner…tell ’em reservations! 

JOHN TESAR THE COMMISSARY April 12, 2011

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On Being in Two Places at Once

When I was a kid, I recall numerous references to “the studio commissary” on Bob Barker game shows (NBC Commissary) and on “I Love Lucy” when Ricky Ricardo went to Hollywood and would meet guest stars like William Holden for lunch on the studio lot.  For me, the word commissary always conjured visions of glamorous people having glib conversations while enjoying exotic cuisine like pheasant under glass.  Leave it to John Tesar to interrupt my innocent childhood daydream with his latest bite of easy food and good vibrations for the 21st Century lifestyle.  And, kudos, too, for taking over the defunct Dali space in One Arts Plaza by re-visioning The Commissary into a casual gathering space for lunch, dinner, and late night nibbles (think burgers, pasta, and interesting “chef driven food”), and wine priced at retail (two times wholesale price instead of the usual 3 to 4 time markup of most restaurants).  Be the first on your block to catch the new restaurant concept in the midst of a “soft opening”, as we speak, this week.  But wait, there’s more!  Tesar’s vision is actually two restaurants in one!  Anything worth doing is worth over-doing?  No.  It’s much cooler than that.  In addition to the 40 seat restaurant–“The Commissary”–you can also partake of “The Table”.  A 12 seat community dining space with its own entrance–actually two–one from One Arts Plaza and the other interior door from the main restaurant.  Reserve one seat or all twelve.  Show up when you want.  When you arrive, someone may be having dessert as your meal is beginning.  As Tesar says on this video clip shot by foodie Brad Murano (The Brad’s Blog), it’s a great way to share conversation about the food.  We’ll give you our own personal “Zen” views soon as we become one with “The Commissary” and “The Table”.  For now check out “The Brad’s” view and read on for some excellent insights from food writer Kim Pierce.  And, hey John, welcome to the neighborhood.  Nice that somebody fixed the hole in One Arts Plaza since Dali closed.

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Wining and Dining with Jim White March 5, 2011

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The New Trays are Here!

PTL! Highland Park Cafeteria in Casa Linda finally got its new trays.  HPC is one of our favorite places to dine after church.  For months they’ve been touting “we’re getting new trays”.  They finally arrived a few weeks ago, and just in time to participate in the one of the most creative and interesting chef benefit events I have ever heard of.  It’s the brainchild of Matt McCallister–former Executive Chef of Stephan Pyles Restaurant in the Arts District.  It’s called “Chefs for Farmers”, and Matt organized the event last year to raise awareness for the importance of using local ingredients, and to support the farms and farmers in the Dallas-Fort Worth/North Texas area.  So, coming up on March 13th, a bunch of great chefs will serve their dishes “on the line” at HPC to raise money for the cause.  Cool.

The all-star team of Dallas’ top chefs includes Janice Provost and Chad Hauser (Parigi), John Tesar, Matt McCallister, Dan Landsberg (Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa), Tim Byres (Smoke), Randall Copeland and Nathan Tate (Ava), Scott Romano (Charlie Palmer) Brian C. Luscher (The Grape), J. Chastain (The Second Floor), Jack Perkins (Maple and Motor), Justin Fourton and Diane Fourton (Pecan Lodge), and Rick Griggs (former pastry chef of Abacus.  (Side note:  bless the chefs who work hard 24/7 and give their talents so selflessly to great causes in the area.  Many of the fine chefs above will also be participating in Savor Dallas, March 18-19).

The “Chefs for Farmers” feast begins at 4pm on Sunday March 13th, as each guest picks up a tray and walks the line. Cost is $85 per person excluding tax and service fee.  A portion of the proceeds also benefits The Family Place, the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas area.  To purchase tickets go to www.chefsforfarmers.com or www.prekindle.com. Highland Park Cafeteria is located at 1200 North Buckner Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75218 in Casa Linda.

For more details on this fun event, read on.

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Savor the Flavor with Jim White, “The Wining and Dining Guy” July 6, 2010

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Follow the bouncing ball (or musical chef chairs)

Whew!  Whadda weekend!  There were fireworks galore–both inside and outside. Especially in Dallas restaurant kitchens.   While you were off having a grand Fourth of July celebration (I certainly hope so), here’s what was happening with the fates and fortunes of some of our favorite culinary types (chefs).

In the interest of time, let’s see if I can condense all this for you:  Dali is gone.  Aurora soon will be.  Paul and Avner are tired.  Dallas Chop House is sans executive chef.  Kenny is tired of John.  New chefs for The Green Room and Villa-O; Joel and Kenny have new gigs (yea!).  Whoa! This is too condensed. Even for the attention-span challenged (and you know who you are).  Here’s what we know today:

There is good news, in the wake of the sad news over the weekend that Paul Pinnell is closing Dali in One Arts Plaza.  Dali executive chef Joel Harloff is going to The Green Room as executive chef!  This is doubly good news, because the CIA trained chef, who has worked in some of the top kitchens in Dallas (Melrose Landmark, Nana, Mi Piaci), will help speed up the renaissance of the cool Deep Ellum restaurant.   The restaurant is located at 2715 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas 75226. For more information, please call 214.744.ROOM.

Now, as for Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell.  The press release sent out to announce the closing of Dali was a very positive spin, but short on specifics.  He noted that after taking a break he would return “to work in Dallas’ vibrant restaurant scene with plans of future innovation.”  According to Nancy Nichols on her D Magazine blog, she spoke with David McMillan (from Screen Door across the Plaza) who says Dali is closing “temporarily”.  We’ll keep you posted on this one.

As we continue making lemonade and chicken salad out of the restaurant news.  Word came just before the holiday that Dallas Chop House chef Kenny Mills had left the restaurant.  It turns out there was friction in the kitchen with John Tesar (culinary director for Dallas Restaurant Group).  See details below.  Kenny is bouncing to Villa-O as of today to start his new job as Executive Chef!  His and John’s comments on the situation (again courtesy of Nancy):

“I put in my notice two weeks ago,” says Mills. “They [DRG] fired my sous chef and put in one of Tesar’s guys. I came in on June 1 and there was a whole new crew in my kitchen.”

“Tesar wouldn’t let me run my kitchen. He told me I was an over-the-hill no talent cook. Life is just too short to work with people I don’t like.”

John Tesar commented, “This is just as big a shock to me as it is to you. I had no idea.”

We’ll be getting more news on future concepts from DRG and hearing about Kenny’s plans at Villa-O, but don’t expect too many more details on the breakup.  Sometimes best to just move on.

We reported last week that Avner Samuel has decided to close Aurora at the end of July.  The stress of the economy and the rigors of running a small, upscale restaurant have caused him to rethink his priorities.  Avner says he is emotionally and physically drained and needs time off to recharge.  Look for the lion of the kitchen to come roaring back with another concept after his respite. Again, we wish God speed to Chef Samuel and his wife Celeste who have poured their heart and soul into the fine dining concept.

We also have good news that Chef Jeff Moschetti (formerly with the Warwick Melrose Landmark, Stephan Pyles, and Beau Nash at the Crescent Court) is the executive chef of a new restaurant opening in Frisco called One2One.  It’s at Legacy and Highway 121, so geographic inspiration is at work here for the name.  Check out their website for more information.  1339 Legacy Drive, Frisco; 214-618-2221.

Stay tuned!

Savor the Flavor with Jim White-the “Wining and Dining Guy” May 13, 2010

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Great dinner-great cause

Taste of the Nation Dallas is back Saturday (May 16th) at the Hotel Palomar.  Join the city’s finest chefs for an intimate, gastronomic seated event to end childhood hunger. Each table of ten will be treated to a lavish cocktail reception followed by a four course dinner with wine pairings exclusively prepared for their table by one of the featured chefs. Don’t miss the chance to bid in our exceptional silent and live auctions featuring one-of-a-kind trips, wine, culinary experiences and more. Click here to purchase individual tickets.  To purchase a table please contact Terri Provencal at 214-642-1124. Tickets and tables are going fast, so be sure to purchase today!  100% of ticket sales supports Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger.  Participating restaurants include Stephan Pyles, Fearing’s, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Charlie Palmer at the Joule, Central 214, Abacus, Nick & Sam’s, Nobu, Bolsa, Arcodoro Pomodoro, The Place at Perry’s, and John Tesar with Dallas Restaurant Group.   Chef Blythe Beck (right) is the host chef from Central 214.  Enjoy!

Help train the chefs of tomorrow and have a value priced lunch or dinner in the bargain

Technique is the student run restaurant of the world famous Le Cordon Bleu Dallas Location.  The restaurant serves lunch and dinner (Tuesday through Friday) and is operated by students who are about to graduate from their 21 month associate program from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.  The budding chefs take turns running the back of the house (preparing the meals) and the front of the house (hosting and serving) during their last semester in order to gain some real world experience.  This helps prepare them for the rigors of working 6 or 7 days a week in the very demanding hospitality environment.  I had lunch there this week.  Overall it was great. The menu is varied and changes daily.  The service is ever so attentive (under the watchful eye of instructor coordinators fulfilling the role of maître d’ and executive chef).  The price is fantastic–soups, salads and starters range from $3 to $5, sandwiches are $7,  main courses are $8 and desserts are $3.  I have not seen the dinner menu prices. Expect them to be slightly higher.  They even have a very serviceable wine list.  My guests and I nibbled on a delicious White Pizza starter with grilled chicken, red onion, aged Mozzarella and spinach.  The Fried Goat Cheese Salad with dried blueberries in a rosemary and citrus vinaigrette was dandy.  Of the three main course selections, we tried Le Rosti–cumin crusted chicken breast with herb risotto, haricots verts, with basil oil and aged Balsamic.  The chicken was a little dry and too salty.  Otherwise the dish overall was satisfying.  Another of us tried Le Pasta–Linguini Carbonara with bacon, sweet peas, cream and cracked pepper.  No complaints from that side of the table.  Desserts-untried (sorry-I’m trying to get back to my fighting weight after vacation!), but intriguing were the Chocolate Soup with a hazelnut phyllo crisp, and Apple Crisp with vanilla bean ice cream.  The dining room is very attractive.  If you’re looking for someplace different, or as I suggested at the top of the piece would like to help train a young chef, I highly recommend you make a reservation.  Lunch is served from 12 until 1:30 and dinner is offered from 6 until 7:30.  Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts is located at 11830 Webb Chapel Road (at LBJ), Suite 1200, Dallas 75234.  Reservations are recommended.  Call 214-647-8509.  Our appreciation to Chef Aaron Hubbard (back of the house supervisor and instructor), Jeffrey Gregory (front of the house supervisor, sommelier and instructor), and Maureen Clements, Campus President, for all the information and for running a great program.   The campus has about 750 students currently and also offers an associate bakery and patisserie degree.  Bon appétit!

Stop by our FREE winetasting on Friday at Big Daddy’s April 15, 2010

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Savor Wine and Food

with Jim White

We look forward to seeing you on Friday (today, if you’re reading this on April 16th!) from 4 until 7 p.m. at Big Daddy’s on Northwest Highway and Luna Road in Northwest Dallas.  It’s the perfect way to go easy on your pocketbook after tax day!  It’s another free event from “The Dinner Club with Jim White”, presented by Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits.  In addition to the free tasting, Big Daddy’s is offering special pricing on the wines we’ll be sampling:

20 Gauge Chardonnay from California
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Pikes “The Red Mullet” Australian Red
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Chateau Potensac Medoc Bordeaux 2002
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Ricossa Moscato d’Asti

We’ll also be giving away some free, fun prizes and offering you a chance to sign-up for a free membership in the “Dinner Club with Jim White”.  We’ve got another great wine dinner coming up in May, and you’ll be among the first to know about it.  When you join the “Dinner Club” you receive advance eBlasts before the announcements ever go on the air about our events.  We hope to see you Friday (today) between 4 and 7 p.m.  Big Daddy’s is affiliated with Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits. Click here for a map to our location.

Great new place to savor springtime wining and dining!

The patio at Dallas Chop House is the place to be on these great spring evenings!  If you haven’t been yet, you are in for a treat.  The downtown restaurant has been open about 4 months and Chef Kenny Mills and GM Steve Ochipinti have gotten the food and service fine-tuned.  We’re talking great steaks and seafood and a very appealing lunch menu featuring those and some tasty soups, salads, sandwiches.  And, popovers to live for! (think Neiman-Marcus Zodiac Room). Now that the weather is outdoor perfect, it’s a great time to take advantage of the beautiful space they have created just off the snazzy bar at Dallas Chop House.  It’s like an oasis at the bustling downtown corner of St. Paul and Main Street.  Enjoy lunch, dinner, or drinks and appetizers with friends under the pergola.  I have a feeling they will keep the place cool in the summertime!  Dallas Chop House is the latest venture from Dallas Restaurant Group, which also owns Dallas Fish Market and Go Fish Ocean ClubJohn Tesar, formerly with the Mansion on Turtle Creek, has joined them as culinary coordinator.  Look for new concepts to be rolled out by the group in the coming months.

Watch this space for Mother’s Day recommendations. 

As we get information on special brunches planned for the May 9th celebration of Mom they will be posted here.  Craft Dallas has planned a special menu from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. featuring:

First Course (For the Table)

Assortment of Pastry, Fresh Fruit & House Made Preserve

Main Course (Choice of One)

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Quiche with Mixed Baby Lettuces
Jumbo Lump Crab, Leek & Country Ham Frittata
Roasted Sirloin, Texas Asparagus & Sauce Bordelaise
Farm Chicken, White Cheddar Grits & Spring Peas
Corned Beef Hash, Shishito Pepper & Poached Egg
Halibut, Littleneck Clams & Baby Artichokes
Ricotta Ravioli & Spring Vegetables

Sides (For the Table)

Homefries & Balsamic
Applewood Bacon

Dessert (For the Table)

Mocha Pound Cake, Chocolate Mousse & Fresh Raspberries
Beignets, Lemon Curd & Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Ice Cream & Sorbet

Craft Dallas is located in the W Hotel in Victory Park, at 2440 Victory Park Lane Dallas, TX 75219.  For reservations: 214 397 4111 or visit Open Table.  Click here to visit the Craft Dallas website.

More to come!  Cheers!

Jim

Wining and dining events on the way April 6, 2010

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We have another FREE wine tasting event coming up for you!

Join us Friday April 16th, at Centennial’s “brother” store:  Big Daddy’s Fine Wine and Spirits at 1613 West Northwest Highway, near Luna Road, for a tasting of some great wines between 4 and 7 p.m.  We’ll taste-through the 20 Gauge Chardonnay, Pikes “The Red Mullet” Australian Red, Chateau Potensac Medoc Bordeaux 2002, enjoy a delightful Ricossa Moscato d’Asti.  It’s a special FREE event from “The Dinner Club” with Jim White.  We look forward to seeing you there.  Bring your friends.  Click here for directions to the location. (more…)

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