In case any followers of the Eyester-Kessler exchange missed it (I did), Nick Oltarsh also responded to Kessler's open letter to Atlanta chefs. Oltarsh, chef at Lobby Bar and Bistro and Room at Twelve, was in agreement with Kessler for the most part. His response opens this way:
Mr. Kessler and all the Atlanta dining folks:
In response to your open letter to chefs, as a local Atlanta Chef the message has been heard and truth be told, I concur. I think we chefs and restaurateurs have acquiesced to the challenges of the Atlanta dining scene and have done so without much fight. We need to regroup and accept this open letter challenge. But we need help from our partner, the diner, in two key areas. One, we need your financial support. Last year was tough. Please dine out! Two, the more adventurous our diners are, the more we can express our creativity. Here are my suggestions for how the Atlanta community can help us become a more dynamic restaurant town
It ends this way:
There is a world beyond burgers and french fries. Don’t get me wrong. I eat burgers and I love them and any chef who says otherwise is a big, fat liar and a Judas to the profession. Yet, I also love exhilarating, innovative, tricky, witty and daring cuisine. Yes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but isn’t it fun as a diner to be part of the process? So go to your favorite burger joint, where you could very well see me, but also support your local independent fine-dining restaurant. Both of us deserve your business.
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