“Fashionable types and foodies alike contemplated the fate of well reviewed and received Tesar’s Modern Steaks & Seafood, when its namesake, Chef John Tesar, abruptly departed the Houston area restaurant less than a year after its August 2009 debut.”
That is the first sentence of a press release announcing a few changes that have occurred at the restaurant in The Woodlands. Irreconcilable differences between Tesar and restaurant backers left the seeming successful restaurant with a big problem—Tesar’s no longer had a Tesar. Instead of faking it or informing their customers that John Tesar was not a chef but a valiant seafood-loving soldier who died (slowly) in the battle of the Alamo, they decided to delete the apostrophe and move forward.
Anywhoo, Tesar the chef, may have taken his apostrophe with him but he left two Dallas chefs behind. Apparently, they are kicking some sass down there. (Hi, Allison!). Austin Simmons, who trained under John “The Tease” Tesar at The Mansion and was a sous chef at Tesar’s has been named co-executive chef, the title he shares with another Tesar and Mansion alum, Jeramie Robison.
According to Stuart Rosenberg, the PR rep for Tesar’s Tesars, the determined restaurant “recently celebrated its best night in revenues since opening less than a year ago.” (Has it only been a year?) Robison goes on to say, “Buzz is slowly building locally for these two young chefs who have been giving Chef Tesar well deserved credit for the training that has enabled them to take on their new roles.”
He says a lot more below. Go.
Robison enrolling at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, and Simmons attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. Robison returned to Ruston a mere four months into his studies, however, when a serious accident sidelined his father, Robison temporarily moved home to take over his dad’s work position while he was in recovery. Not to be deterred, Robison returned to school shortly thereafter at the El Centro Food & Hospitality Institute in Dallas, a fateful decision that continued a complementary course to that of Simmons.
Robison and Simmons immediately pursued culinary degrees, Robison enrolling at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, and Simmons attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. Robison returned to Ruston a mere four months into his studies, however, when a serious accident sidelined his father, Robison temporarily moved home to take over his dad’s work position while he was in recovery. Not to be deterred, Robison returned to school shortly thereafter at the El Centro Food & Hospitality Institute in Dallas, a fateful decision that continued a complementary course to that of Simmons.
When Austin Simmons graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, he moved to Dallas in hopes of working at the famed Mansion on Turtle Creek. Turned away almost daily over the course of several weeks due to his lack of restaurant experience, his persistence finally paid off, and he was offered an internship. The Mansion played an equally pivotal role in Robison’s career, when he smartly seized the opportunity to join the kitchen staff while at El Centro.
It was at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, where Robison and Simmons found each other, and each found a reverence for fine dining, in addition to a respect of the skills and success of master chefs. Simmons worked the chef’s table at The Mansion for three and a half years, first honing his craft under James Beard Award winning chef Dean Fearing, and later, under John Tesar.
He also endured a grueling several weeks at a second job, assisting with the opening of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s Dallas venture Five-Sixty. Robison joined the staff at The Mansion during Tesar’s appointment, training diligently for two years and being named employee of the month during his stint.
After their respective stints at The Mansion, Robison ventured to New York City to work under celebrated chef David Burke at Fish Tail, while Simmons learned the management side of the restaurant business at Blackfinn in Dallas. The Woodlands came calling again though, and less than a year ago, the pair found themselves side-by-side as sous chefs working under John Tesar at Tesar’s Modern Steak & Seafood in The Woodlands. Upon Tesar’s departure from the restaurant, Robison and Simmons caught a once-in-a-lifetime break, and with the support of the ownership, management and customers, all of whom they have built strong relationships with, jumped on the opportunity to lead and redirect the kitchen in their newfound positions.
The tenacity and trajectory of Austin Simmons and Jeramie Robison is evident in their industrious pasts and their present positions at Tesars. The two have proven time and again that they both have an appreciation for and practice of the perseverance and passion necessary for success in the culinary world. Today they stand poised to put into place years of hard work and training; a real opportunity-meets-preparedness moment that find the duo facing forward with Tesars in their sites, skills and knives sharpened.