The Inn at Little Washington opened in a former garage in 1978 and has evolved from a simple country inn to an international culinary shrine. Its legend is multi-faceted; some view it as a classic, inspirational American success story — reaffirming that dreams can come true.
O’Connell has been referred to as “the Pope of American Cuisine”. His orientation is different from most chefs today primarily because he considers himself to be a restaurateur and as the title implies, his goal is to actually restore and heal people – the preparation and presentation of food being but a single element in the process. 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.”
O’Connell 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 served as President of Relais & Chateaux North America.
The Inn at Little Washington celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2018 with three culinary events that reflect the influences and relationships that have shaped O’Connell’s journey over the first 40 years. The Inn at Little Washington is the longest tenured 5 Star Accommodation and 5 Diamond restaurant in the world. The Inn became America’s first 5 Star country house hotel and the first establishment in the Mobil Travel Guide’s history to ever receive two 5 Star Awards-one for its restaurant, the other for its accommodations.
O’Connell was one of the original inductees into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. O’Connell and The Inn have won five James Beard Foundation awards, and the Inn at Little Washington Restaurant is the only restaurant honored with the Wine Spectator Grand Award in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
- Wine Spectator Grand Award for 23 consecutive years
- The Five Diamond Award for the Inn at Little Washington Restaurant for 30 consecutive years | American Automobil Association
- The Five Diamond Award for the Inn at Little Washington Accomodation for 29 consecutive years | American Automobile Association
- Five Stars for the Inn at Little Washington Accommodation for 29 consecutive years| | Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide)
- Five Stars for the Inn at Little Washington Restaurant for 29 consecutive years| | Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide)
- No. 11 Restaurant in the US | La Liste
- One of the top 125 restaurants in the world | La Liste
- O’Connell was knighted as a disciple of Auguste Escoffier in 2016
- 1993 Restaurant of the Year for the Inn at Little Washington | James Beard Foundation
- Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region | James Beard Foundation
- 2001 Outstanding American Chef Award for 2001 | James Beard Foundation
- Patrick’s book The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession named as a New York Bestseller
- 3 Michelin Stars for The Inn at Little Washington | The Michelin Guide 2019
- 2 Michelin Stars for the Inn at Little Washington | The Michelin Guide 2017 & 2018
- No. 1 restaurant| The Washington Post Fall Dining Guide 2017