photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Updated with Macassar wood, leather banquettes, and modern art, Dallas’ legendary restaurant is newly relaxed and stylish. Chef John Tesar, whose C.V. includes a stint with Anthony Bourdain, plates his equally stylish cuisine on Limoges.

Where I go on my nights off: Nobu to sit at the sushi bar, Nick & Sam’s for a good steak, and late night at Primo’s.

Produce you should be buying now: Swiss chard, collard greens, mushrooms, turnips, root vegetables, and carrots. For anything fresh and colorful, you’ll have to shop the Southern hemisphere.

Ingredient I use most: Salt. There are so many varieties now, and it makes everything taste better. I prefer Maldon sea salt.

Signature dish: Everybody knows me by my attitude—a trio of passion, intensity, and fun. That’s my signature dish.

Guilty pleasure: Finest rosé champagne, such as Krug Vintage Rose, and great caviar.

Favorite cookbooks: The Escoffier Cook Book, a French cookbook that forms the foundation of sauces and names dishes after women, and The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers because it is a real cookbook. It has accessible recipes that anyone can make rather than the ones in all those coffee table books. There are too many of those. 

What I cook at home: A big steak. You’ll find me by my hardwood-charcoal-burning Hasty-Bake.

Secret preparation tip: Good knife skills. You are only as good as your knife skills. Even in tuna salad, if you cut the celery and onion too big, it will overpower the fish. Get a chart of cutting—there is a great one in The French Laundry Cookbook—and practice. Learn the difference between dicing and mincing.

Favorite grocery store: I’m a Central Market kind of guy.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Cooking disaster: New Year’s Eve, 1993, stands out as the worst night of my life. It was like a Fellini film. We were trying to seat 450 people at one time. It’s one of Anthony Bourdain’s kitchen horror stories. [Editor’s Note: Find it in Don’t Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Chefs.]

Dining pet peeve: Pesky waiters. When I go out, I want to be left alone. Good servers should be able to read the diner.

Anything you refuse to cook? The lobster taco.

Must-have spice: Green Tabasco. The jalapeño flavor works well with dishes such as mac and cheese or in white sauces instead of black pepper.