For those of you addicted to Netflix’s cooking competition series, The Final Table, the show pairs chefs from around the world together to take on national dishes to be judged by a panel of pop culture icons and culinary authorities. Those inspired to sign up for culinary school after binging this series, may want to give your wallet a beat first. You may not need culinary school to be a lauded chef, at least according to the winner of The Final Table.
For those of you who haven’t finished the series, maybe come back to this piece after, for spoilers on the winner are soon to come.
You’ve been warned.
During the episode, co-host Geoffrey Kutnick asked Chef Hollingsworth his opinion on culinary school and whether or not the resumes he receives from prospective chefs list culinary school on them matter during the hiring process.
“It does not matter to me at all,” Hollingsworth states. “At all. Period.”
“Nothing against culinary school, but I think people learn differently,” he explains. “I’m not going to sit here and say people shouldn’t go to culinary school. If you need that structure and that curriculum, then you should go to culinary school.”
Years back, Hollingsworth moved to New York to taste the experience of taking culinary courses, which he abruptly left.
“Going back, would I go to culinary school again? I would not,” he divulged. “There’s no way.”
Photo Courtesy of Netflix
The award-winning chef has no regrets about leaving culinary school behind.
He began his culinary career in his teens as a dishwasher, calling chefs and restaurants nonstop until he got his foot in the door. Hollingsworth worked at The French Laundry for 13 years where he held the title of Chef de Cuisine for four years under the acclaimed Thomas Keller.
“I’m happy I didn’t go to culinary school, I’m happy I didn’t have the debt from going to culinary school, but the one thing I wish I would have done was gone to business school,” Hollingsworth reflected. “I think that would have been helpful ’cause that part of the restaurant now, is a lot of what I do. Ultimately, if I had gone to school for that, I would be a lot more prepared now.”
Hollingsworth isn’t the only chef to feel there’s utility to enrolling in business school. Prolific chef Wolfgang Puck studied at Harvard Business School at 68 years old, where he learned negotiation skills and marketing.
Chef Hollingsworth’s views on culinary school is a breath of fresh air for those trying to make a name for themselves in the culinary world, but hoping to dodge the massive debt it could amass.
You can check out his entire interview, along with what it was like starring in Netflix’s The Final Table on The Katchup Podcast.