Over at weeklystandard.com, I share my interview with John Tesar, the most recently eliminated contestant on Top Chef. He is probably the most fascinating chef to ever compete—not only was he the oldest (54 years old at the time) but he also happens to be in Anthony Bourdain’s bestseller Kitchen Confidential as the infamous Jimmy Sears. (Tesar expounds on his up-and-down relationship with Bourdain, who, he claims, “ratfucked me out of my job.” Luckily, “we’ve both gotten over it.”)
Not found in my writeup are his remarks about his bumpy relationship with surviving chef Josh Valentine. Tesar’s version of events are below:
The biggest challenge for me was dealing with all the personalities. I’m really not a hateful person. I’m pretty much an understanding, giving person at this point in my life. But I did not stand for bullshit. The one thing, being my age and having been in this business since the ’70s and through the ’80s, is that I don’t stand for bullshit. I think some of those confrontations that you see me involved in or some of the things you see me in the kitchen saying are just me being me, you know, being honest.
Like I said that night, I can say that the majority of America doesn’t think Oklahoma is known for its tact. It may seem rude on television, but I just think of the way it was. That argument started over Bobby Flay in the afternoon, and Bobby’s been a friend of mine, and Josh said lately he hates Bobby Flay. I said, “Why do you hate him?” And he came up to me and stared at me straight in the face and said, “I don’t have to listen to you, I don’t have to do anything,” you know, in a very aggressive way. And I was just like, I wonder where this guy’s coming from. I had no idea he was coming back to Dallas and he was going to challenge me, trying to create a platform for himself. So that’s on him, that’s something he’s going to have to deal with and here, locally. I don’t care. I had a wonderful experience. I love everybody on the show. Even C.J. and I now talk. He’s just a character. There are a lot of personalities in the room and you shake it up. And sometimes it’s going to explode and sometimes you’re going to get hugs.