Patrick O’Connell, a native of Washington, DC, is a self-taught chef who pioneered a refined, regional American cuisine in the Virginia countryside. His alliance with local farmers and artisanal producers was an adaptation born of necessity more than 35 years ago when nothing but milk was delivered to the tiny town of “Little” Washington, VA (pop. 158). Long before the farm to table movement had a name, he began cultivating fruitful relationships with his neighbors — many of whom have a strong connection to the land and a heritage of self-sufficiency. Selecting The Inn at Little Washington as one of the top ten restaurants in the world, Patricia Wells of The International Herald Tribune hails O’Connell as “a rare chef with a sense of near perfect taste, like a musician with perfect pitch.”
Patrick has evolved and refined many of the dishes from his childhood, making them relevant in a new century while keeping their soul intact – building a sort of culinary bridge between past and future. His commitment as an Ambassador of American Cuisine has fueled his involvement in the international association, Relais & Chateaux, where he currently serves as President of Relais & Chateaux North America.
O’Connell is the author of the best-selling cookbook, The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook, A Consuming Passion. Of his second book, Patrick O’Connell’s Refined American Cuisine, Governor Mark Warner said “Not since Thomas Jefferson first brought tomatoes to Virginia and the New World has one man created such interest in the culinary arts.” His third, The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession, is a New York Times bestseller tells the story of The Inn’s remarkable 36-year transformation from a rural garage to the sumptuous country house hotel it is today.