French Laundry’s Hollingsworth moving to L.A., no restaurant plans

Timothy Hollingsworth, right, with Paul Bocuse, Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse, during training for the Bocuse d'Or.
(Dave Getzschman / For the Times)

Timothy Hollingsworth, the 33-year-old chef de cuisine at the French Laundry, is moving to Los Angeles. But don’t get your hopes too high. He doesn’t have a restaurant planned – not yet, anyway.

Hollingsworth announced in November that he would be leaving the Laundry in spring. At the time he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Paolo Lucchesi that he was playing with an idea of opening a more casual and popular type of restaurant, maybe even a spin on Mexican.

He’s still thinking about doing something like that, but first he’s going to be working in video production. “I’ve never done that before,” he says. “It’s just like when I came to the French Laundry -- I was 21 years old and hadn’t had any experience in fine dining. I just threw myself into it and ran with it. I like challenges, so why not give it a shot?”

His experiment at the French Laundry certainly worked out well. He started as a commis, doing the most menial tasks, and worked his way up to running the kitchen for owner Thomas Keller. He did so well that he was selected to represent the United States in the 2009 Bocuse d’Or international cooking competition. He finished sixth, the best ever for an American.

David Breeden, who has been executive sous chef at Keller’s other three-star restaurant, New York’s Per Se, will take over the top job at the French Laundry.


“After 12 years at the French Laundry, I’m used to serving a certain segment of society, and that’s been a great experience,” Hollingsworth said. “But what most people tend to eat on a daily basis is not necessarily the most healthy and most people probably don’t have the strongest understanding of ingredients. Being able to offer that kind of experience to a larger number of people would be a really cool thing. It wouldn’t necessarily be health food, but on the healthier side.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at the French Laundry so much. But it’s one of those things – I’ve been doing fine dining for 12 years now. I want to try my hand at a new bag of tricks, to learn a different aspect of things.”


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