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The great chef Patrick O'Connell went to college to please his parents. "They bought into the American dream, believing that their children should never have to toil, sweat, or perform physical labor." Like many people of their generation, O'Connell's parents considered working in a restaurant to be a lower work that people resorted to if they couldn't get a higher education. But O'Connell became part of the revolution in America cuisine over the 25 years that changed that perception.
Patrick O'Connell is a self-taught chef who created the Inn at Little Washington with his partner, Reinhardt Lynch, in 1978. Located in Washington, Va. (about 60 miles west of Washington, D.C.), the restaurant was one of the first establishments in Mobil Travel Guide's history to win two Five-Star Awards simultaneously-one for its restaurant and another for its accommodations. The inn has received this award for the past 14 years. Zagat's 2003 hotel survey ranked the inn's 100-seat dining room as America's best. Mr. O'Connell was named Outstanding Chef in America in 2001 by the James Beard Foundation. His most recent book is Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington (Bulfinch Press, 2004).