Growing up in a small desert town of Lancaster in Southern California was about as far from Italy as one could imagine. “Just about the only thing you could do there,” recalls Julia Holland, “was get in trouble or play tumbleweed tag.” But as a little girl, Holland had big dreams—dreams to see the world. “I loved to cook and knew that I desperately wanted to go to culinary school,” says Holland. “My father thought that was a crazy idea and pushed me to go to college and earn a business degree, but I spent every spare moment cooking. He finally agreed to let me explore the culinary world.” The young Holland enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. “Le Cordon Bleu offered me some amazing opportunities being in the heart of the L.A. food scene—even the chance to work with Wolfgang Puck,” she relates.
“We are both foodies and love getting inspiration from different cuisines and trying to replicate them at home. Yep, I cook at home too. I think I owe my love of cooking to my Aunt Nora—that lady knew her way around the kitchen.”
While in school, Holland observed that the other students weren’t really specializing in a particular food category. She notes, “You hear about sushi chefs who spend 2 – 3 years just learning how to create perfect rice. I loved that idea and decided that I wanted to specialize and fine-tune pasta making.” Ever a perfectionist, she dove head first into her chosen specialty, selecting to master the art of gnocchi first. “It’s the hardest,” Holland says. “I figured if I could do that well, the rest would come.”
Master it she has; for the past few years Holland was the in-house pasta chef and educator at a resort in Newport Beach. “I taught hundreds of classes and made over 2,500 pounds of pasta a year,” she shares.
When one of her mentors in Newport Beach let Holland know that the Four Seasons Silicon Valley was looking for a Sous Chef, she jumped at the opportunity. “The chance to cook in an Italian restaurant under the Four Seasons brand was too good to pass up,” she says. “Here at Quattro at the Four Seasons, I’m having the opportunity to hone more of my culinary skills, but I’ll always love pasta.”
When she’s not in the kitchen in Palo Alto, Holland loves to discover new dishes with her boyfriend in San Francisco. “We are both foodies,” she says, “and love getting inspiration from different cuisines and trying to replicate them at home. Yep, I cook at home too. I think I owe my love of cooking to my Aunt Nora—that lady knew her way around the kitchen.”
Quattro Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley. 650.470.2889 | www.quattrorestaurant.com