Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Considered the Oscars of the restaurant world, the James Beard Award is the highest honor a chef can receive.

John Tesar previously has been nominated three times, but he has yet to capture the prestigious title.  Once again, the controversial culinary expert turned reality TV star is a semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest this year. Tesar launched the steakhouse Knife in 2014 after he closed his high-end seafood restaurant Spoon.

Ironically, Tesar recently told the Observer he didn’t think the James Beard Award had much value.

“They’ve kind of run out of people to give it to,” he said. “I don’t mean to say that, because it’s a great organization to some extent, but I think giving out awards just for the sake of giving out awards every year, it lessens what an award means.”

Once named the most hated chef in Dallas, Tesar may have found redemption during this season of “Top Chef.” He supposedly has traded hollering at fellow restaurateurs and critics for a more approachable persona. His unpredictable tendencies propelled him into the media spotlight, but his skills as a chef are what he hopes resonates with the public.

“I’ve had my own issues with growth,” he told the Advocate in 2015. “I’m glad people have paid attention to my shortcomings and watched me overcome them.”

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