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Critic Leslie Brenner Just Wants Everyone to Play Nice This Year

Can chefs, restaurateurs, and critics get along in 2015?

Maybe Leslie Brenner won't dress up like a mummy for a review meal this year.
Maybe Leslie Brenner won't dress up like a mummy for a review meal this year.

2014 will no doubt be remembered as the year the Dallas dining scene was embroiled with bitter feuds (see: Leslie Brenner vs. John TesarLeslie Brenner vs. Proof + Pantry, Leslie Brenner vs. Nancy Nichols), but perhaps everyone will make nice in 2015.

That's what Brenner's hoping for, anyway: In a post on Eats Blog, "your friendly neighborhood restaurant critic" (her words) pleads for less fighting in the New Year:

I don’t understand why people would want to accompany the exchange of ideas and opinions about food and dining with sniping, bullying and hatred. Let’s stand proudly as a cosmopolitan, 21st century culinary domaine where discourse is rigorous and opinions are strong yet thoughtful and constructive ... I hope, in the coming year, for more professionalism, more honesty, more openness, more striving for excellence, more creativity and more great cooking (and while we’re at it, I’d like to lose five pounds!).

Perhaps that last part means we have another "Restaurant Critic's Diet" saga to look forward to this year?

The post also serves to defend Brenner against questions raised by D Magazine critic (and frequent Brenner nemesis) Nancy Nichols, who yesterday on SideDish took issue with some of Brenner's picks for the top restaurants and chefs of the year. Specifically, Nichols questioned how Gemma could be the Dallas Morning News restaurant of the year when Brenner gave it just three stars and failed to name chef Stephen Rogers as one of the best chefs in Dallas, and implied that Brenner snubbed John Tesar and Knife in light of their ongoing battle. Brenner responds by saying Gemma "showed steady and marked improvement" from the time she first reviewed it, and says she couldn't recognize Knife because she "felt the restaurant was inconsistent" and couldn't revisit, seeing as how Tesar banned her and all.

So will 2015 be a year of less "sniping, bullying and hatred"? Judging by Tesar's recent tweets, perhaps he too is ready to put the feuding behind him:

Of course, only time will tell if Brenner will be welcomed to Tesar's upcoming restaurant, Fork. (Magic 8-Ball says "Don't count on it.")

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