Chef Tim Hollingsworth Chooses His Favorite Foods To Cook - Exclusive

If you talk long enough to chef Tim Hollingsworth, the man behind Downtown L.A.'s award-winning restaurant Otium, one thing becomes quite clear: This guy really loves potatoes. He mentioned them a dozen times during a recent exclusive interview with Mashed – though, to be fair, a myriad of other foods were also discussed, and many of those came up multiple times as well. But, if you think of the humble potato as a surprising favorite of a celebrated chef, you first need to hear how Hollingsworth preps them.

"People rave about our potatoes," the chef said, adding, "And they're pretty simple ... fairly simple." He described the process like so: The potatoes are steamed, smashed, and fried. They're then seasoned with lemon juice and lemon zest, chopped shallots, black pepper, fleur de sel, Aleppo pepper, and chopped parsley. They're then paired with a creme fraiche. "Those potatoes are something that, for me, are a must-have if you're coming to Otium," Hollingsworth added. "I think if you like fine dining food, or if you don't have a lot of experience [with] fine dining, the potatoes are going to be great, no matter what."

So yeah, potatoes ... maybe not so "simple" when they're cooked like that. But, when asked about his favorite dish to cook, Hollingsworth took a different approach. Rather than naming a specific food, he said for him it's all about preparing the dishes that make people the happiest.

His favorite foods are all about the person he's cooking for

"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," Tim Hollingsworth told Mashed. "For me, it's [like] if you said, 'Oh man, I'm really craving fried chicken. I'm really craving ...' whatever it is, I'm excited to make it because I know that you really want it."

Asked if there were any specific things Hollingsworth loves to cook (beyond those amazing potatoes), the chef did have a few foods to name like roasted chicken and steak. To make a mean steak, he takes a unique approach and shared, "I cook it on top 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. [Plus] butter ... and the sort of the juices from the steak. The butter melts down, goes into those potatoes, they get a little crispy at the bottom. ... [And] whatever vegetable you want to have with it, that's one of my favorite things to make." As is roast chicken with grilled lemon and potatoes because it's "simple and clean," he added.

In other words, chef Tim Hollingsworth is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, albeit the finest cuts of meat and the best, most elevated potatoes you have probably ever had. One more thing the chef raves about is wine. "Nowadays I have wine with almost every meal. And to me, the reason why I enjoy that is [because] it offers something that's delicious that pairs in conjunction with the food ... I think a meal is more complete with wine because I think [it] balances out your meal, and [that] is really, really important."

Follow Tim Hollingsworth on Instagram and find some great wines with his own go-tos at Wine Insiders.