Just as the dust was beginning to settle on chef John Tesar's recent Twitter tirade against Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner (aka the "fuck you" heard 'round the internet), Esquire food writer Josh Ozersky rehashes it all over again. In a blog posted yesterday, Ozersky — who has a burger named after him at Knife — proclaims, "I think we will look back on the Tesar Eff-You as the moment when the critics finally lost their mojo."
He goes on to say that "this kind of hostility, expressed openly and without consequences, is not a good sign for traditional big-city newspaper critics," proclaiming Tesar "a culture hero" and pointing out that "a big chunk of the dining public" had rallied behind him. Ozersky also concludes that "Dallas ... might have respected Brenner more if she had waded in and fought back. Because the old rules no longer apply, and power is where you find it."
Ozersky concludes with a copy of an open letter directed to Brenner from a "local chef" who requested that his name be redacted. In it, the anonymous chef accuses Brenner of being a "shock-jock mud-slinging critic" that "revels in the belittlement of others and finds some kind of sport or joy in tearing down hard-working laborers." It's a letter that would surely be more powerful with a name and a face attached to it; while it's certainly understandable that a chef of any caliber (whose name isn't John Tesar) wouldn't want to make an enemy out of the city's most powerful dining critic, his unwillingness to come forward doesn't exactly support Ozersky's assertion that the traditional chef-critic power dynamic is somehow changing.
[Photo: Margo Sivin / Image: Dallas Morning News]