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Around the Table with Tim Hollingsworth

Around the Table with Tim Hollingsworth
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Winter 2023
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Chef and 'The Final Table' star shares mom's recipe

Growing up in Grizzly Flats, California, Chef Tim Hollingsworth played youth and high school football until an injury his senior year forced him to the sidelines. While he loved the sport, the real highlight was the chili his mother, Karen, would cook once a week after practice or a game.

"She would make a big pot," Hollingsworth says. "I remember getting home from football practice at like 4:30 in the afternoon and having a big bowl of it, and then an hour later I'd have another at dinner. I still love that chili."

An up-and-coming celebrity in the culinary world, Hollingsworth is a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year winner and was victorious on the Netflix global cooking competition show "The Final Table" in 2018. Living in Los Angeles with his wife and four children, Hollingsworth is the owner of the trendy contemporary American restaurant Otium. His previous establishment, the Southern barbecue eatery Barrel & Ashes, featured some of Karen's recipes on the menu — including her chili.

Around the Table

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Karen — a stay-at-home mom Hollingsworth describes as a fun, churchgoing woman who read her Bible every day — has been living with Alzheimer's for about 10 years. Hollingsworth visits with Karen as often as possible; his two sisters handle her day-to-day caregiving, along with his dad, Quintin, in Grizzly Flats.

"Our family is very close and very supportive of each other. There's not a lot of drama around any of [my mom's care]," says Hollingsworth, an Alzheimer's Association Celebrity Champion who has participated in several fundraisers for Alzheimer's care, support and research. "It's difficult on the family, but we're all just thankful that we still have her."

Hollingsworth attributes his success to emulating the strong work ethic of his dad, who toiled long hours in construction. Sometimes, Hollingsworth would tag along with Quintin and join in the work.

His mom's dedication to ensuring that her family always gathered at mealtime was also influential. In addition to chili, Karen's staples included chicken and dumplings, Sunday roast, pasta dishes and homemade pizza.

"My mom made almost every single meal that I grew up eating," Hollingsworth says. "We didn't have a ton of money so we didn't go out to eat a lot. She made breakfast every morning and packed my school lunch until I graduated high school. She always had dinner ready by like 5-5:30, and we would sit down and eat as a family."

Inspired by his childhood memories of familial togetherness centered around food, Hollingsworth continues his mom's tradition with his immediate family. At the table, he has one rule: No technology allowed.

"I didn't understand the importance of it when I was younger, but maybe in my mid-20s, I started to realize that the reason my family is so close has to do with being around that table," Hollingsworth says. "Now with my family, we have a meal together at least once a day. There's never any iPads or phones at the table — it's the time to talk and communicate."

Mom's Chili


1 lb. ground beef
1 medium-large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper
1 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
2 cans Texas ranch-style beans (15 oz. cans)
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
30 oz. water (Fill up the bean cans with water)


1. Brown the ground beef in a stockpot.
2. Add the onions and garlic in the same stockpot with the beef.
3. Add spices and continue to cook until the onions are softened.
4. Add beans, tomatoes and water, and simmer for 30-45 minutes on low, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes.

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