We reported late last year on the departure plans of French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth, who's been with the restaurant for twelve years, and in the top role for three and a half. Now his last day is set for March 31, and he tells Grub Street that he'll be be taking a break from restaurant work for a while to ultimately focus on refining the concept for the taqueria we discussed with him in November. And he'll be doing it in Los Angeles. "I just want to clear my head for a bit, do some surfing. I've been in the Napa Valley for so long I kind of want to check things out down there, see what it's like." He still hasn't nailed down an apartment, but he's thinking he'll be in West Hollywood, where he's also going to start work for a video production company.
It's something he mentioned earlier as being a new skill he wanted to develop, and he told the L.A. Times this week, "Its just like when I came to the French Laundry I was 21 years old and hadnt 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?"
Hollingsworth is still in the midst of training his replacement, former Per Se sous chef David Breeden who's only been in the restaurant a little over a month now. Hollingsworth says, "I'm really excited for him, and for the opportunity he has," and he wants to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
But don't expect any fanfare or greatest-hits menus when Hollingsworth departs. He says it's just "business as usual" at the Laundry between now and the end of the month.
As for where we might see him reappear with the first of what will likely be a chain of casual-but-upscale Mexican restaurants, inspired by his own travels in Mexico, he says it probably won't be down in L.A. and therefore could be back in the Bay Area. But he won't be making decisions about that for at least a few months.