Never one to shy away from controversy or the limelight, renown Chef John Tesar’s life choices are just as daring and bold as his cuisine. The four-time James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant specializes in modern American cuisine prepared with authentic European techniques, served up to his legion of fans who flock to his Dallas-based steakhouse – Knife. Tesar’s no-nonsense personality and sharp culinary perspective have garnered high-profile acclaim throughout his 20+ year career including national nods from Esquire (named to “Best New Restaurants” for two consecutive years), Food & Wine, New York Magazine, The New York Times, appearances on “The Today Show,” “The Early Show” and winning the inaugural season of the Food Network’s “Extreme Chef.”

Tesar opened Knife, located at the Highland Dallas hotel, to critical acclaim in May 2014. A reinvention of the steakhouse experience, the chef-driven restaurant features all-natural born and raised Texas beef, pork and lamb in dry-aged prime cuts and specialty cuts such as chuck flap, beef tongue and Akaushi beef. Named one of Eater National’s “Most Anticipated Openings,” Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants,” Zagat’s “Hottest New Restaurants,” Maxim’s “America’s Best Steakhouse Specialties,” D Magazine’s “Best Steakhouse in Dallas” 2015 and 2016 and featured on Esquire Network’s “Restaurant Revolution,” Knife is Tesar’s revolutionary steakhouse vision realized.

Prior to Knife, Tesar opened Spoon Bar & Kitchen, receiving recognition in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best New Restaurants in the World,” Bon Appetit Magazine’s “The Best New Restaurants of America in 2013” and Esquire magazine’s “The Best New Restaurants of 2013.”

Tesar, who received classical French training at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, originally started his culinary career in his home state of New York. He worked at posh eateries such at Club Pierre in Westhampton, followed by stints at 13 Barrow Street, 44 & Hell’s Kitchen, Vine, and even cooked alongside Anthony Bourdain at the Supper Club in Manhattan. He would eventually trade the Big Apple for Sin City to work with Chef Rick Moonen at RM Seafood in Las Vegas. However by 2007, Tesar embarked on another major move to then up-and-coming culinary hotspot Dallas to take the helm at the ritzy Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; there he would earn two five-star reviews.

A highly sought-after consultant, Tesar is the genius behind the menus at DRG Concepts’ Dallas Chop House, Dallas Fish Market, Wild Salsa, and Chop House Burger as well as The Cedars Social, Oak in the Design District, and The Commissary; for which he earned a “Best New Restaurant” award in D Magazine with his revolutionary CVap cooked burgers.

With a steadfast focus on the future, Tesar recently announced he is currently developing a television show, and working with Flatiron Books and Macmillan on his first book, “Knife: Steakhouse Meals at Home,” to be published in spring 2017. There are also future plans to expand Knife steakhouses nationwide, and immediate plans to to open a Knife Burger at the much-anticipate Legacy West food hall in Plano, TX for fall 2017.

From bringing seafood to the heart of Texas to reimagining the traditional steakhouse, Tesar continues to be a visionary, instrumental in Dallas’ growing reputation as a true foodie destination.

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Knife and Chef John Tesar Awards and Accolades


  • “Best New Restaurants” – Esquire Magazine, 2014
  • “The 15 Hottest Restaurant Openings Around the U.S.” -Zagat National, Dec. 17, 2014
  • “Most Anticipated Openings” -Eater National, 2014
  • “Best Dishes in Texas” (Open-Face Beef Cheek Sandwich) -Food & Wine, 2014
  • “America’s Best Steakhouse Specialties” (Niman Ranch Ribeye) -Maxim Magazine, Dec. 2, 2014
  • “The 10 Burgers You Must Eat This Year” (Ozersky Burger) -CNN eatocracy, May 30, 2014
  • “Best Burgers in Dallas” (The Magic Burger) -Zagat, Farah Fleurima, Aug. 26, 2014
  • “Restaurant of The Year 2014” -Eater Dallas
  • “The Best New Restaurants 2014” -D Magazine, Dec. 2014
  • “Best New Dallas Restaurants of 2014” -Thrillist, Nov. 19, 2014
  • Featured on Esquire Network’s Restaurant Revolution: 30 Years That Changed American Cuisine, a one-hour Esquire Network special that spotlighted some of the restaurateurs who made Esquire magazine’s 2014 list of best new restaurants, Nov. 12, 2014
  • “Restaurants Where You Need to Eat in 2014” -Fox News, Jan. 20, 2015
  • Featured on Cooking Channel’s “Steak Out With Kix Brooks” Dallas episode July 2015
  • “America’s Most Iconic Dishes” (The New Classic Steak: 240-Day Dry-Aged 103 Niman Ranch Rib-Eye) – Zagat National, April 8, 2015
  • “Best Restaurants in Dallas” DuJour Magazine, May 2015
  • “Best Burgers in Dallas” D Magazine, August 2015
  • “America’s Top 20 Power Tables” Forbes, April 19, 2015
  • “Best Steakhouse in Dallas” D Magazine 2015
  • “Best Steakhouses in the U.S.” GAYOT, September 4, 2015
  • “The Top 10 Power Lunch Restaurants” Worth Magazine, September 30, 2015
  • “Top 5 Steakhouses in America” Fox News, October 12, 2015
  • “5 Hautest Steakhouses in Dallas” Haute Living Dallas, January 14, 2016
  • “13 Best Steakhouses in the South”, January 22, 2016
  • “5 Most Decadent Chocolate Desserts in Dallas” Haute Living Dallas, January 22, 2016
  • “Dallas’ 15 Essential Burger Destinations” Eater Dallas, May 11, 2016
  • “Best Steakhouse in Dallas” D Magazine, August 2016
  • “Best Burger in Dallas” Texas Monthly, August 2016
  • “100 Favorite Dishes” No. 23 Ozersky Burger, August 21, 2016
  • “Best Steakhouse” Dallas Observer Best of Dallas September 20, 2016
  • “Essential Restaurant” An Eater’s Guide to Dallas, Eater Dallas, September 20, 2016
  • “Best Burger in Dallas” Thrillist, October 2016

Chef John Tesar

  • Three-time James Beard “Best Chef: Southwest” semifinalist
  • Bravo “Top Chef” contestant
  • Winner of the inaugural season of Food Network’s Extreme Chef
  • Named to Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants” for two consecutive years (Spoon Bar & Kitchen, Knife)
  • Named to Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best New Restaurants in the World” (Spoon Bar & Kitchen)
  • Named to Bon Appetit Magazine’s “The Best New Restaurants of America in 2013” (Spoon Bar & Kitchen)
  • Appearances on The Today Show and The Early Show
  • Received nods from Esquire, Food & Wine, New York Magazine and The New York Times
  • Contestant on Esquire’s “Knife Fight” 2015
  • Contestant on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” 2016
  • “Best Chef in Dallas” 2016 CultureMap TasteMaker Awards, May 2016
  • “16 Chefs Redefining Texas Cuisine” Zagat Dallas, July 25 2016
  • Will release “Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home,” a celebration of American steak; an exploration into modern, self-sustaining Texas ranching; and a trip inside the mind of one of the most distinctive and acclaimed meat chefs in the world, TBD spring 2017