The first thing was quickly remedied by a few study abroad programs that shed international light on what the world was truly about. First, a few months spent in northern Mexico developed a compulsion to help others and give credence to the plight of the disenfranchised and second, half-a-year spent in Paris, France and surrounding countries helped her further understand racism and simplicity of life.
|Enjoying pain au chocolat at fast food chain "Quick" in Paris.|
Instead of going to law school after finishing her degree from Brigham Young University in 2005, Holly enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago (then called The Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago). She never intended to work in a restaurant kitchen with a bunch of smelly boys. She went to culinary school with the expressed purpose of being a food writer. Not that food writing was at all popular yet, but that's the kind of foresight Chef Hollywog possesses, so we move on. She also enrolled at Northwestern University where she took classes toward an M.A. in Creative Writing and developed an abiding hatred of writing workshops. It remains so today.
After culinary school, Chef Hollywog moved back across the Atlantic and back to Paris to work as a personal chef and caterer for some of Paris' most affluent families. It was there that she started writing professionally and went in search of fantastic material with which to writer her Master's thesis. She found some, and came home in the winter of 2006.
Upon arriving back in the States, Holly went against her gut and started work as a chef in Tallahassee, Florida (it's complicated). She worked at a few dysfunctional restaurants before finding employment as a chef at Cypress Restaurant, a Florida Trend magazine Golden Spoon award-winning establishment. She never wanted to work in a restaurant, but she found that she was pretty good at it. Then, the love affair with restaurants began.
Holly moved back to Orlando, the place of her childhood, to finish her MFA in Creative Writing (non-fiction) at the University of Central Florida, which she did in 2009. She began to write restaurant reviews and articles for publications such as Orlando Weekly, Orlando Style and Cooking Light, where she spent a semester as editorial intern. She continued to work as a caterer and personal chef, as well.
|Duck feet in steamed buns in Flushing, Queens, are Holly's favorite streetfood.|