Chef Tim Hollingsworth Talks Wine Pairing, Knife Work, And Keeping The Customer Happy

Do you have any fast food guilty pleasures?

I don’t eat a ton of fast food, to be very honest with you, but there’s certain times. Obviously if I’m on a road trip or different things like that we will eat fast food. I just drove up to my parents’ house, it’s like an eight and a half hour drive, so we usually stop and eat once or twice. In-N-Out is definitely one of them that’s kind of a staple one, especially being from California and living in California. In-N-Out offers great, reliable food … I guess two other ones. I grew up on Round Table Pizza, that was something that my family would go and eat, so I like having Maui Zaui Round Table Pizza, or even Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell.

I always order the same things. It’s Nachos BellGrande, two Tacos Supreme, and Cinnamon Twists, and it’s one of those things that it’s just nostalgic for me. I usually am not happy after I eat it, but looking forward to it and thinking about it is one of the things that it’s definitely nostalgic for me. 

Is there one single ingredient which you just couldn’t live without?

Potatoes. I love potatoes.

Are there any foods that you just can’t stand?

Anything with shredded coconut, I’ll taste in two seconds, whether it be like Samoa cookies, the Girl Scout ones, or like German chocolate cake, any of those things, that’s the one thing. I have never liked it, even since I was a kid. When I was a kid, I didn’t like hot dogs and things like that. It’s still not something that I have very often, but maybe like once a year I’ll have a hot dog, and now I’ll actually kind of get a craving for it every once in a while, that once a year hot dog, but it’s like hot dogs were a thing that I never liked either, for whatever reason. If my family had them growing up, I would have the bun with ketchup on it.

What is your one single favorite dish to prepare? 

I’ll give you two answers. I really like cooking what people want to eat, because part of cooking for me is the satisfaction of making something for somebody else and seeing the reaction that I get from them. And so for me, If you said, “Oh man, I’m really craving fried chicken. I’m really craving this or that,” whatever it is, I’m excited to make it because I know that you really want it. Doesn’t really matter if I want it or not. And then other than that, it would go back to the roasted chicken or the steak. I make a steak and I cook it on top of a layer of potatoes that are layered with shallots and thyme and garlic, and they kind of cook down, and I have white wine garlic that I’ll sauté and put it over the top of the steak. Put butter on that steak, sort of the juices from the steak, then the butter melts down, goes into those potatoes, they get a little crispy at the bottom, so the potatoes and steak for me, and whatever vegetable you want to have with it, that’s one of my favorite things to have, or the roast chicken that we talked about earlier with the grilled lemon and potatoes. Another one of my favorites. Just simple and clean.

Is there a dish that you would just be happy to never make again?

I don’t think so. I mean, I like cooking, and like I said, I like cooking for people, and so if somebody said that they really liked something, even if it was a German chocolate cake, I’d make it.

Find some great wines at Wine Insiders, follow Chef Hollingsworth on Instagram, and check out Otium next time you’re in LA.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *