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Netflix’s ‘Final Table’ Winner Says Culinary School Doesn’t Matter

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.

.:SPOILER ALERT:.

Winner of the first season of The Final Table, chef Tim Hollingsworth, appeared on The Katchup Podcast and spoke about his career and participating on the competitive cooking series.

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.

The Final Table champion is now chef and owner of Downtown Los Angeles’ all-day restaurant Otium, and The Fields LA spots C.J. Boyd’s and Free Play.

“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.

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The Katchup

Behind The Scenes of Netflix’s ‘The Final Table’ With Timothy Hollingsworth

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth was already considered one of the best chefs in the U.S., but his victory on Netflix’s The Final Table competition put him in rarefied air.

Hollingsworth joined The Katchup Podcast, presented by Foodbeast, and talked about his victory for the very first time since the Netflix series launched in November.

While every cooking competition has notable chefs throwing down head-to-head, Netflix really threw its weight behind the show in order to get the absolute best of the best, asking them to cook dishes from around the world.

While there has been some criticism of the show, it mostly did a good job of bringing together accomplished chefs and challenging them to learn about different cultures’ cuisines, on the spot.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

With impressive stage setups, a pressure-building premise, and a room full of chefs with crazy accolades, Hollingsworth took the competition in stride, beating out 23 other world-class contestants.

Chef Tim took us behind the scenes of The Final Table, sharing how he paid his dues in the industry even without culinary experience, and described what it takes to successfully run a high-end restaurant.

At about the 36:00 minute mark, the guys start digging into the nitty gritty of the show itself. Hollingsworth talked about what it was like entering the competition, with little to know knowledge of the premise, considering it was the first season. He explained how the show was pretty honest in its portrayals, but still carried a bit of TV magic to keep things interesting.

The Katchup crew also discusses how cooking shows have become background noise of late, and how The Final Table is not only bearable, but for better or worse, it carries the Netflix binge-factor that you don’t get from traditional shows on TV.

Check out the full interview above, and be sure to subscribe and comment on iTunes, Spotify, and or YouTube if you guys enjoyed the conversation.