Answers from Our Experts (1)
As the proprietor and chef, Patrick O’Connell has put his heart and soul into The Inn at Little Washington. A native of Washington, D.C., O’Connell opened the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant in a former Northern Virginia garage in 1978.
The self-taught chef is more than just a chef; O’Connell is a culinary pioneer when it comes to gourmet cuisine. Before the whole organic and farm-to-table movement really took off, Patrick was creating relationships with neighboring farms because nothing but milk was delivered to the small town of Washington, Virginia. After the restaurant proved to be successful, O’Connell cultivated his own “field of dreams,” a garden that supplies The Inn with much of its produce. Incorporating the freshest of ingredients, chef O’Connell insists that no dish be less than perfect. Of course, it helps that he is preparing dinner in what we think is the most beautiful kitchen in the world. Designed completely around the two chef’s tables, O’Connell’s kitchen is stunning with its brass and plethora of windows. A step inside this kitchen, which is something that the chef offers to each and every guest, will help you understand a bit more about the “Pope of American Cuisine,” as he’s been called by Robert Mondavi.
The feel-good menu at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel is full of classics from childhood as well as modern American cuisine, both of which are as gourmet as it gets. We dare to say that chef Patrick O’Connell is nothing less than a culinary genius. He incorporates dishes from his childhood, refined to fit the menu of course, in order to evoke that sense of comfort. With dishes such as mac and cheese with Virginia country ham topped with shaved truffles, you’ll get that decadently rich flavor as well as that feel good comfort.
Serving as the president of the North American chapter of Relais & Châteaux, O’Connell is involved in more than just his own property. He even has an award in his honor — the American Culinary Pioneer Award — that is given annually. Patrick O’Connell has led his Five-Star restaurant and hotel to five James Beard Awards including Restaurant of the Year, Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region and Outstanding American Chef Award. He has done just about everything in the culinary world from cooking for Queen Elizabeth to appearing on Top Chef.