The ties have been severed between Tesar, Oak and its affiliated restaurants. And, though Tesar has never had trouble telling it like he sees it, he was pretty complimentary of the time he spent with Apheleia Restaurant Group, which operates Oak as well as Pakpao Thai Food, El Bolero, Quill lounge and the Royale Magnificent Burgers.
Realistically, Tesar was more of an advisor than a work-on-the-line chef at Apheleia's many restaurants. It would have been impossible for him to oversee his existing restaurant, Knife (which is unaffiliated with the Apheleia Restaurant Group) and to also bounce from Oak to a handful of other places in a single day.
Tesar says his new plan is to continue cheffing at Knife, focus on a book expected out in 2017, and spend time on "other projects" he said he couldn't talk about.
"I don’t want to dilute John Tesar," he says. And after more than a year of being chef-partner at several restaurants, he says he realized, "I don’t want to be this guy: I don’t want to be a corporate chef."
Joel Harrington, former chef de cuisine at Oak, is now the executive chef at Oak and its neighboring lounge Quill, both in the Design District. Tesar and Apheleia co-owner Richard Ellman separately said Harrington is "the guy" for the job. Harrington previously worked at Bolsa and Fearing's.
So what does this mean to you, hungry readers?
Harrington would like to change up the steak offerings at Oak and add sushi to the menu at Quill.