Urbane Renewal: The French Laundry's Former Chef De Cuisine Is Now Helping Heat Up Downtown L.A

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Urbane Renewal: The French Laundry's Former Chef De Cuisine Is Now Helping Heat Up Downtown L.A


BEST WESTERNER

When art collectors Eli and Edyth Broad decided to build a contemporary-art museum, they picked a site smack in the middle of downtown's already simmering cultural scene. Then they turned up the gas, recruiting Tim Hollingsworth to run its restaurant, Otium. It and the museum are both set to open September 20, which also happens to be five days after the chef's first child is due. We checked in with him before things got really busy.

Here you'll have a more varied crowd than in Napa Valley. What's the plan? The idea is a family-style restaurant, for people to share--to create that same kind of interaction that I had as a child. You sit down at a dinner table with your family and say, "Pass me the potatoes," and you're all talking.

Won't some want a taste of The French Laundry? I know that expectation is going to be there, so it's, How do I achieve that in a more casual environment? I want someone to be able to come in and have a roast chicken and a beer, or an elaborate meal that's exciting and innovative. It's creating the balance between the two.

Got an example? We'll be doing savory, seasonal tarts, and one might have black-cherry marmalade, burrata cheese, tomatoes, basil, caramelized onions. …

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