French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth is leaving the restaurant, according to Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Hollingsworth will be replaced by Per Se executive sous chef David Breeden. Breeden says his food is heavily influenced by the South, having grown up in Tennessee and having cooked in Charleston restaurants during the early part of his career (Charleston Grill, McCrady's, the Woodlands Resort and Inn). He began work at the French Laundry in 2005 and was eventually transferred to Per Se in 2007. Hollingsworth will work with Breeden during the transition before leaving to start work as a "culinary consultant." Below, a press release.
THOMAS KELLER NAMES NEW CHEF DE CUISINE AT THE FRENCH LAUNDRY
Yountville, CA – Chef Thomas Keller announces that David Breeden, the Executive Sous Chef at Per Se in New York is heading west to become the incoming Chef de Cuisine for The French Laundry beginning early 2013.
"We welcome David back to The French Laundry. I've watched him evolve into the fine chef he is today," says Keller, who originally hired him in 2005 as a Chef de Partie. "Just as all our past chefs beginning with Eric Ziebold, Corey Lee and now Timothy Hollingsworth have made their mark, I am eager to see what David's contributions and legacy will be. Our entire team is excited to support him in this next phase of his career."
Originally from Greeneville, Tennessee, Breeden grew up heavily influenced by Southern cuisine and the cooking of his Grandmother. He worked in Charleston's finest restaurants including Charleston Grill, McCrady's and the Woodlands Resort and Inn before his initial experience at The French Laundry in 2005. In 2007, he was given the opportunity to join Per Se, Chef Keller's New York fine dining restaurant where he rose from Chef de Partie to Sous Chef in just two years.
"I am really looking forward to returning to The French Laundry, a place that taught me so much and where I consider home," said Breeden. His significant other Laura is from Napa and together they are looking forward to raising their young son Elijah and growing family in the same town where she grew up.
"It is such an incredible honor for me to be given the opportunity to return to The French Laundry. I'm very excited to be able to continue my relationship with Chef Eli Kaimeh and the team at Per Se and to be able to collaborate and evolve with them in a new way. When I was the Meat Butcher at The French Laundry, Chef Hollingsworth was the Meat Chef de Partie. Six years later, we get to work hand-in-hand again through this very exciting transition for the restaurant," he added.
Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry's current Chef de Cuisine, will work alongside Breeden before heading out on his own as a culinary consultant.
"I have had extraordinary experiences while working with Thomas, ranging from my participation in the 2009 Bocuse d'Or competition, to garnering his mentorship and support for the opportunity to inject my own personality in the restaurant's cuisine. He helped me gain a wider perspective of what a chef's responsibilities are to his team. I'm excited for David to receive this amazing opportunity as I had."
"I have a strong philosophy about mentoring and with all team members, it's important that they learn from each other," Keller said. "Even in my restaurants, it's all about building relationships."