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Omnivore - Kessler gives 10 pointers to Atlanta chefs

The AJC dining critic tells chefs to up their game

John Kessler, dining critic at the AJC, has posted "an open letter to Atlanta chefs." It includes 10 suggestions (not commandments) to chefs and is a must-read for anyone in the industry.

His opening comments:

Four months ago I started dining out again as a restaurant critic for this newspaper after a five-year hiatus. I haven’t hit every major restaurant yet but have been to enough to witness a real change from my last go-round at this job. The standards aren’t what they used to be.

The economy hasn’t been nice to the restaurant community. In particular, the decimation of the top tier — the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, Seeger’s, Joel — means fewer young chefs get the kind of exacting, old-school European training they need to run their own kitchens.

This May, thousands of visitors are going to descend on our city for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, and they will be eager to see the vibrant, exciting contemporary Southern cooking that we’re known for. Let’s show it to them. But first, consider these 10 requests — pleas, really — that will make Atlanta a better place to chow down.