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Dallas Chop House in Dallas: DRG Makes a Formal Announcement and Chef Kenny Mills Tells His Side of the Story

As noted below, Chef Kenny Mills is no longer with Dallas Chop House. He wasn’t fired. It’s a complicated story—and we all know there are always at least four sides to every story–but today, I’ll present two: DRG Concepts and chef Kenny Mills.

From DRG Headquarters

Kenny Mills is no longer Executive Chef at Dallas Chop House and is no longer with DRG Concepts.

This development is the result of a management decision regarding operations and implementation of corporate culinary direction to ensure the success of the restaurant.

DRG Concepts President and Dallas Chop House Founder/Owner Mike Hoque said, “Chef Mills’ leadership in the kitchen at Dallas Chop House is appreciated and everyone at DRG wishes him all the best. In response to any questions that may arise from guests on how this management change will impact the DCH experience, it should be noted that the menu, recipes and features of the concept were developed with the collective culinary leadership at DRG, and were not the sole result of Chef Mills’ work. DRG Concepts Corporate Chef A.J. Joglekar and Culinary Director Chef John Tesar will continue to develop and deliver recipes at Dallas Chop House that exceed all expectations, and will do the same for all DRG Concepts brands. And DRG Concepts operations leadership will ensure that the experience and service that our customers receive continues to be stellar.” New leadership in the Executive Chef position at Dallas Chop House will be announced when ready.

Kenny Mills

“I put in my notice two weeks ago,” says Mills. “They [DRG] fired my sous chef and put in one of Tesar’s guys. I came in on June 1 and there was a whole new crew in my kitchen.”

Tesar, of course, is John Tesar the recently appointed culinary director for DRG. “Tesar wouldn’t let me run my kitchen. He told me I was an over-the-hill no talent cook. Life is just too short to work with people I don’t like.”

I spoke with Tesar briefly this morning. When I asked him what was going on with Kenny he said, “Hey, I’m the culinary director. This is just as big a shock to me as it is to you. I had no idea.”

At one point Mills sat down with owner Mike Hoque. “I told him I couldn’t run my kitchen like this and he said he would take care of it but nothing changed. I’ve done everything Mike has asked me to do here. But after Tesar slammed a bread bucket at me, I knew that if I stayed it wouldn’t work.”

Mills already has a new job lined up. UPDATE: Teresa Gubbins says Mills will begin his new job at Villa-O on July 6.

41 comments on “Dallas Chop House in Dallas: DRG Makes a Formal Announcement and Chef Kenny Mills Tells His Side of the Story

  1. Someone needs to really check this before publishing: the picture is upside down, you have Live when it should say Life and there is a word missing from Teaser’s quote! Better writers create better readers ;-)

  2. Ro – I’m guessing that you are not a regular reader of this blog. Nancy likes to make statements with her pictures. She MEANT to put it upside down.
    Now… Back to our regularly scheduled bashing of JT…

  3. The food there isn’t that good. Maybe it will get better with a new chef, but I doubt it. I’ve never had a more flavorless dry-aged steak in my life.

  4. Sounds like too many cooks in the kitchen! If I were to choose just one I’d go with the best I had and that’s without question John Tesar.

  5. Tesar is a minipulative and abusive person. I’m never shocked when he’s the one causing good people to get away from him. If you have any sense at all you run to the nearest exit! Just because you can cook doesn’t mean you can lead in a positive way. This behavior is what got him fired from many many many many o jobs.

  6. Seems to me Mike Hoque is a deal maker but not a promise keeper. By the way, anyone seem him today?

  7. Ro, Sorry to confuse. I run pictures upside down when the situation I am reporting is either over or upside down. I fixed live. thanks, N

  8. Honesty what jobs has Tesar been fired from? You seem to make statements without facts. Isn’t that hateful and manipulative? What are you taking about?
    The fact of the matter is he was hired because Mills is an middle aged journey man with little or no experience outside of the metro plex. The steaks and and menu are mediocre at best read the reviews. That is why DRG hired an experienced person with the reputation of Tesar. kind of makes sense. Did you ever eat that disgusting beef tongue? Maybe now the food will be better? Last time I went there for lunch my food was cold and my guests fish was over cooked and it took an hour to get it. Maybe now we will go back.

  9. yawn…..it’s just another overpriced, f-ing steakhouse in downtown that won’t be there in 18 months.

  10. Villa O Isn’t that about to close? Are they going to be giving out free food there too? just like at Trece. What’s a steak guy going to do at Villa O? Sounds like Colombo is jerking around another Chef right before he closes the doors remember The Club?

  11. Mills may be a middle-aged journeyman with little experience outside the metroplex. But what’s Tesar? A middle-aged prima donna with a history of personal instability that makes it impossible for him to hold a job for more than a year. If I’m an investor in a steak house, I’d rather have an established, stable journeyman at the helm than a Gordon Ramsay wannabe who was just ousted from a steak house bearing his name.

  12. I don’t have the newest edition of DFW Chef Trading Cards and I am not familiar with all these names. I do read these article and blogs and this Tesar dude seems to be the plague! Isn’t job stability something you look at on a resume – his seems to be all over the board.

  13. Milo, I mean Kenny I was a server at Tesar’s in the Woodlands. He sold it to his unscrupulous partners way back in January and they ran it out of business because he left, he was not fired. So please stop with the lies. I have eaten at both Tesar’s and the Chop House and they wish the food was as good as Tesar’s it’s not even close. The steak at the Chop is terrible I have no idea why they spend so much time dry aging bad steak.

  14. We went once to Dallas Chop House and it was pretty dire. I have never been so poisoned by salt as I was that night. Almost indelible.

    We went to John Tesar’s turn at 48 Nights and it was a very interesting and exciting menu. He spoke about joining DRG and how they were going to shake stuff up including a burger joint, a taco place and er something about Dallas Chop House that I forget. Less salt?

  15. Right, “Enough.” Tesar wasn’t fired from Tesar’s. He quit. He wasn’t fired from Fishtail. He quit. He wasn’t fired from Rosewood Mansion. He quit. And in the next year or so, he won’t be fired by DRG Concepts. He’ll quit. Who cares whether he gets fired or quits? No one but you/him. The man can’t get along with anyone and, wherever he goes, he leaves a trail of bitter ash.

  16. In my humble opinion,
    JT will be out by the end of the year.
    This guys a DB.
    I doubt he left on good terms with Rick Moonen (RM) in NYC, Rick wouldn’t put up that dudes nonsense.
    Ive seen more talent with “line-cooks” all over Dallas.
    Clocks-a-ticken JT!

  17. Tesar and Rick Moonen are the best of friends they just did a trip to Napa together I saw it on Ricks face book page. Moonen is coming to Dallas to do an event with Chef this fall so I hear from my friends over at DIFFA. Very cool

  18. This resume looks pretty stable and accomplished to me. Not to mention two back to back 5 star reviews at the Mansion.Everyone knows he was the driving force behind the difficult renovation of the Mansion restaurants. I have worked with him and I can assure you he generous kind and has many friends, fans and the respect of dinners all over the country.The best chefs in town and chefs from all over the country are close friends and fans of his cuisine. Renown wine makers and many great sommeliers all desire to work with him as well. So what’s your point? Facts baby just the facts. Tired of this Blog Bull S#(t and people who just make stuff up, especially about a good friend and a great chef.
    DRG thank God you made a move because the food you where serving was BAD, hope it gets better.

    Duration Place City Position
    2010 – Present Dallas Restaurant Group Dallas Culinary Director
    2009 – 2010 Tesar’s Modern Steaks & Seafood The Woodlands Owner
    2009 – 2009 Fishtail by David Burke
    3 months
    New York Executive Chef
    2006 – 2009 Mansion on Turtle Creek Dallas Executive Chef
    2004 – 2006 Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood Las Vegas Executive Chef
    2003 – 2004 restaurant rm New York Executive Chef
    2001 – 2003 Wild Goose
    East-West Partners
    Lake Tahoe Corporate Executive Chef
    1998 – 2001 44 & X Hell’s Kitchen New York Executive Chef
    1998 – 1999 Hush
    Menu design
    New York Consultant
    1998 – 1999 Vine New York Executive Chef
    1998 – 1999 Dining Room on Columbus
    Menu design,Consultant
    New York
    1997 – 1998 Demi
    Menu design,Consultant
    New York
    1994 – 1999 13 Barrow New York Chef & Owner
    1991 – 1994 The Inn at Quogue Executive Chef
    1989 – 1992 Supper Club New York Executive Chef
    1980 – 1989 Hampton Square Westhampton Chef Owner

  19. Clark stop reading blogs and start reading reviews and start eating the mans food. You will see that reading blogs is the plague and this chefs food is fabulous. What are you doing later? LOL

  20. Good point Lois. I don’t get my car fixed at a certain place because the guys in service have great personalities. I go because they are the experts. Tesar is flawless in the kitchen. His mastery of seafood is incomparable. And I never thought the guy could make steaks but yet again, he delivered and was voted one of the top steak shops in Houston.

  21. Chef Mills was a bully and was mean to many of us when I worked at the Chop house.I think he is was just a lazy man and his culinary skills very limited. I have to set the record straight with regards to the bread basket incident Chef Mills is a liar,right in front of me I watched him slam a draw on the corporate chefs hand initiating the entire incident and then in response the corporate chef pushed a hotel pan with bread in it in his direction. It never hit him nor was it close to a violent act. Chef Kenny then acted out a hissy fit because I believe they had words earlier during service about his ability to expedite. Using this as an excuse to leave is just ridiculous. He hated the corporate chefs being in his kitchen, but he could not get by without all the company chefs and several assistants helping him everyday. Simple lunch service would fall apart everyday after a certain amount of business. I left because Chef Mills and Steve the manager where clueless. Good luck to the Chop House because it is a beautiful restaurant and the owners are very nice people I hope they find a great new chef.

  22. Wow did you guys notice that Chop House has gone through two General Managers(last one quit last week)now Exec. Chef Kenny. Something doesnt seem right to me perhaps it is the upper management. They have three chefs in one kitchen:exec, corporate, and culinary director?(what the hell does that mean)they have only been open for six months.Of course that doesnt work and Kenny started with him at the old Go Fish with that Chris dude. Where they later fired Kenny for the other chef. I have heard some rumors about Mike Hoque being a DB. He officially sucks and will tell you anything you want to hear. That chef at Dallas Fish Market hasnt changed the menu since the other chef left, he sucks too!!!

  23. I would love to taste the cooking of this genius, John Tesar. Where can I do that? Oops. Nowhere! The greatest culinary talent in the state of Texas isn’t exec chef ANYWHERE. He’s just backseat driving for the exec chefs at a second rate steakhouse and a couple of second rate seafood shacks. Next we can see this master chef dust off his burger menu from his failed restaurant in Houston. What a giant! Watch your back, Keller and Ducasse!

  24. I just got an email a week and a half ago from their PR chic Courtney saying to come in on Fridays for free tastings of Kenny’s grilled delights and sample wine tasting…i am not surprised this has happened…Dallas Fish Market has always been overrated…guess i’ll email Courtney and see if the Friday afternoon happy hours are still on…oh, i also got a discount card for DRG…wonder what it will get me now at DCH!!!

    @Les Hall – i ate at Pappa Bros a couple of months ago, same thing with the salt…ugh

  25. I’m confused why the owner needs to have his name front and center. I smell a big ego and bad PR.

  26. Served it up is clearly lost, rude and distasteful…why does this blog attract such haters. Clearly, Served it up has been over served and has no life

  27. This is the most disgusting display I have ever seen on this blog, Kenny Mills should just move on and know he created his own mess he was the Chef right? Nancy you should stop this disgraceful libelous forum to protect your own integrity. What’s next naked pictures hopefully not of Kenny. It is so obvious that Kenny and Steve or there supporters have written the last few comments and if the accusations that Tesar is CJ in Art Servers blog then someone must be drinking or smoking crack. How about some journalism how about some reality. I want to see and interview with Tesar and some real questions and some real facts not this small town restaurant gossip this is real crap and shameful D magazine should be ashamed.

  28. Art district server tell us who you really are, tell us how you know Tesar. Tell us why you hide behind some stupid name Tell us what you know, how you know it and why you feel so strongly about a person you have never worked with. Have you ever met him? Do you know him? Why the multiple post? Why so much time to hate? Please tell us why you care so much to write such shameful empty things.

  29. This is sad and frighting that D magazine allows this crap to happen. I agree man wow shame on you D shame. Tesar write something stand up to these assh*&es. We know you are a good guy,must suck that people get to hate on you just because your that good.

  30. When Tesar came to town, maybe he failed to realize that even though Dallas is a large, vibrant,dynamic city with an emerging dining scene, it also has a relatively small restaurant industry where everybody knows everybody. And when your a schmug Ass-W*pe to both the people who work with you, and the people who serve you, you really should not be surprised that people find the time to revel in your demise.

  31. Okay, Dry Aged and all of you other blue meanies, I am turning off the comments because they are no longer comments. I’m sorry I didn’t check the comments earlier. You kids settle down and go back to your rooms. Take a time out. However, if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant kitchen, this is pretty much how many of them roll. Good night. See you in the morning. I have another scoop coming in just before noon.