Dear Leslie Brenner,
After seeing the movie “Chef” last night and having recently returned to the restaurant industry I feel like it’s time to write your letter-a-day.
I’m a blogger but not a food blogger. I enjoy a nice meal but I’m not a foodie. I’m a work in a restaurant but hopefully not forever and I’m a Dallas native who’s proud of our dedicated food scene.
When it comes down to it, there are essentially three things to do in Dallas.
We shop like every store at NorthPark is going out of business. We watch and discuss sports like they actually affect our personal lives. And most importantly we eat out at restaurants as if every meal were our last. In so many ways, Dallas has elevated dining beyond a casual habit to something of a sport like hunting exotic game. For those who can afford it’s s an entire lifestyle unto itself.
We don’t have any Michelin Star restaurants like New York City and it’s not a dining destination like New Orleans. Our food scene can be myopic and self congratulatory to a dangerously high degree at times. But despite it all, our passion for dining is undeniable and is to be celebrated. Criticism can be both honest and constructive.
Unlike many, I’m not here to bash your reviewing style or stance on certain restaurants. I’ll even pretty much side with you on this whole John Tesar Twitter fiasco. He must have seen “Chef” also and realized there was an opportunity to get more press for himself. I’ve never been to The Knife myself (I’m but a lowly waiter) but I thought your review was more complementary than not.
Try to be a friend to the industry. When you crush someone’s favorite restaurants, it feels personal because it’s the personal touches that makes a restaurant special for most people. Food and wait staff all add up to an experience that, when done right, makes you feel like part of the family. A great Dallas restaurateur once printed on their menu that, “The love is free”.
Love and be loved Mrs. Brenner.
PS: Of course laziness is inexcusable but if possible, be sympathetic to the waiter who doesn’t know as much about food as you. They don’t get to eat out for a living.
Dear Mr. Bernstein,