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Timothy Hollingsworth’s passion for food was inherent from a young age. Family gatherings were almost always centered around food where a sense of familiarity, warmth and simplicity always lingered. However, it wasn’t until he was older when a deeper interest in fine dining began to evolve. In 2001, he worked as a commis and had the opportunity to learn from former chefs de cuisine Corey Lee and Eric Ziebold where his strong work ethic and love for food culture allowed him to excel and land a position as the chef de cuisine of The French Laundry in Napa Valley. During his twelve-year tenure at the French Laundry, Hollingsworth led an entire kitchen where he would begin to truly cultivate and craft his own style of cooking. After traveling the world, learning form acclaimed Chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse, successfully competing and placing in prestigious events, and completing rigorous training, Hollingsworth began to hone his skills and truly define himself as a chef. He would soon learn that his roots were where his heart was and his food would revolve around family and offer a taste of community and approachability to those who shared in the experience.
In 2014, Chef Timothy opened his first restaurant, Barrel and Ashes where he would allow customers to enjoy a fresh take on Traditional BBQ by reimagining dishes he grew up on. Timothy would only continue to build on bridging his past with his present endeavors and allow customers to feel the same sense of “togetherness” that he experienced growing up and throughout his life. This desire brought him to open Otium, a unique restaurant where he has perfectly fused the delicate elegance of fine dining with rustic simplicity and serves up his wood-fired dishes family-style. His incredible success has landed him numerous awards including the Rising Star Chef of the Year Award by the James Beard Foundation. Timothy regularly relies on his Pro 34 to create knockout dishes for LA enthusiasts day in and day out. Cooking with a Traeger and natural wood has added a uniqueness to his food that simply cannot be matched by a stove or an oven. It has allowed for him to continue to carry on the traditions he was raised on and bring his own family together to create more meaningful and flavorful experiences.
Tell us about your most memorable food experience?
I went to Champagne, France in the summer for a Bocuse d'Or dinner, and got to eat in the caves of the Taittinger champagne house. The three-course dinner was cooked by three Michelin star chefs, we had some amazing wine, and I was sitting next to Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Michel Troisgros.
Who do you credit with helping you most in your career, any mentors or people you look up to?
Without a doubt, Thomas Keller. His commitment to mentorship and his attention to detail are things that I will carry with me in throughout my career and life. His legacy in the industry is unrivaled.
For beginner home cooks & aspiring chefs what’s the one bit of advice you would give?
Cooking is a lot of work, it is ultimately a craft and a skillset that must be worked on and developed overtime. If you really want to succeed, you must build fundamentals. It's like being a carpenter, just because you can hammer wood together, it does not mean you are ready to build a house.
What’s your favorite thing to eat when no one’s watching?
Nacho Bell Grande from Taco Bell