Patrick O'Connell

Chef & Sole Proprietor

Patrick O’Connell is a self-taught chef who pioneered a regional American cuisine in a tiny Virginia village 67 miles west of Washington DC. His alliance with local farmersand artisanal producers was an adaptation born of necessity more than 40 years ago when nothing but milk was delivered to the town of “Little Washington”, VA (pop. 133). O’Connell, a native of Washington DC opened The Inn at Little Washington in 1978 in a former garage on the corner of Main and Middle Streets. It has evolved from a simple country inn to an international culinary shrine. Chef O’Connell is now referred to as “the Pope of American cuisine.”

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 and The Inn have enjoyed enormous national and international recognition. He is the author of three books. Governor Mark Warner has stated that “Not since Thomas Jefferson first brought tomatoes to Virginia and the New World has one man created such interest in the culinary arts.”

O’Connell was asked to cook for Queen Elizabeth at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond on her visit to Virginia in 2007. Through Relais & Chateaux, he staged a dinner celebrating the coming of age of American Cuisine in Paris and participated along with Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Charlie Trotter in the “American Food Revolution” in Oxford, England. He has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, the CBS Early Show, the Martha Stewart Show, Top Chef, the Diane Rehm Show, the Charlie Rose Show and is a frequent guest speaker at The Smithsonian Institution and The Culinary Institute of America.

Awards & Accolades:

O’Connell was one of the original inductees into “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.”

The Inn became America’s first five-star country house hotel and the first establishment in the mobile travel guides history to receive two five-star awards; one for its restaurant the other for its accommodations.

The Inn also received AAA highest accolades: two five diamond awards.

O’Connell and The Inn have won six James Beard Foundation awards:

Restaurant of the Year in 1993

Best Chef in the mid-Atlantic region

Best Wine Service

Outstanding American Chef Award in 2001

In 2019 the James Beard Foundation honored Patrick with the Lifetime Achievement Award which is bestowed on someone “whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat cook and/or think about food in America.”

In 2020, President Trump presented Patrick with the National Humanities Medal and called him “one of the greatest chefs of our time who has raised the culinary arts to new heights of excellence by embracing regional flavors and championing local farmers.”

Chef O’Connell has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in the Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University.

The Michelin Guide awarded The Inn at Little Washington Three Michelin Stars in the 2019 guide. The Inn has retained this distinction each year.

In 2021, The Inn at Little Washington was awarded the Michelin Green Star for sustainability and was the only recipient of the distinction in the Washington Guide.

Media:

Executive Team

Ed Gannon

General Manager

Ed Gannon launched his career in Culinary where he ignited his passion for Food and Beverage. This passion led him to the helm of some of the best kitchens in New England including Aujourd'Hui at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston and The White Barn Inn. During his culinary years, Ed trained with The Inn at Little Washington’s stagier program under the direction of Patrick O'Connell. As Ed continued to explore his passions, he found his true calling in Hotel Management. On this new journey, Ed took on roles as Resort Manager and General Manager with some of the top luxury brands including Auberge, Rosewood and Four Seasons. His ascension eventually led him back to The Inn at Little Washington as General Manager. Ed has shared that "he is honored to be a part of this legacy property where striving daily for excellence is the culture".

Andrew Wright

Director of Operations

From his grandmother's kitchen at the age of three to helping earn the coveted Michelin Three-Star rating for The Inn at Little Washington, Andrew Wright has always been inspired by how a love of the art and craft of cooking can be a catalyst for memory-making, relationship-building, sharing and connections. Andrew considers cooking much more than a profession or a job. It is an everyday adventure where he gets the privilege of leading and working with the best team in the world.

Joon Chang

Director of Hotel Operations

Before joining The Inn at Little Washington in 2020, Joon worked in the nation’s capital for over 7 years, successfully managing hotel operations in multiple luxury, boutique properties. His expertise in the field has also allowed him to spearhead hotel ownership and management transitions, navigate hotel renovations and provide consulting for hotels. Joon’s passion for perfection ultimately led him to the Inn, where the beauty of the countryside ensured he would not be missing the city life. Now, Joon works tirelessly with Chef and Owner, Patrick O’Connell to create a restorative, once-in-a-lifetime experience for every guest.

Tim Lucas

Director of Finance

Tim discovered his passion for hospitality during the first decade of his career in Chicago. The culture of the big city fueled this newfound love as he explored locally owned restaurants, wineries, and breweries. After a decade of management experience, Tim decided to follow his dreams of a career in hospitality and landed in Hilton Head Island, SC, one of the top travel destinations in the world. It was there that Tim became the financial leader for some of the islands most prestigious resorts. In 2016, Tim joined the Inn at Little Washington, enchanted by the vision and philosophy of Patrick O’Connell. As he puts it, “I feel privileged to be an integral part of the Inn’s leadership team: the best in the world.”

Lisa Albert

Director of Special Events

A native of Virginia, Lisa got her start in the hospitality industry decades ago waiting tables at the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg. She's always had a love of food and enjoys cooking and eating with her extended family. She has a 25 year background of event planning and experience and is now in her 7th year at The Inn. She loves collaborating with Patrick on one of a kind, memorable parties and events. Her hobby is horses and she owns a farm in Warrenton where she stays grounded with the day to day operations.

Nelson Colwell

Director of Business and Brand Development

Nelson joined The Inn at Little Washington team after nearly two successful decades in the technology sector. An analytical thinker and problem solver, he used his sense for business to craft custom technology solutions for hundreds of organizations. Like many others in the Inn’s 43 year history, Nelson found his true calling under the mentorship of Chef Patrick O’Connell. After becoming enchanted by Chef’s mission to create a Transformative, Restorative and Life Affirming experience, helping others to experience this vision became his very own ‘magnificent obsession’. As Director of Business and Brand Development, Nelson is constantly looking for new ways to make The Inn experience more accessible to the world through exciting new offerings and strategic partnerships. Nelson is currently in his 7th year at The Inn.

Food and Beverage

Julian Eckhardt

Culinary Director

Julian began working at the Inn at Little Washington in 2009 as a cook. Originally from southern Vermont, Julian had an affinity for food and gastronomy at a young age and started working in restaurants when he was 14 years old. After completing his training in culinary arts and hotel management in upstate New York, he embarked on his professional career in the restaurant world. After working under Patrick O’Connell for many years, Julian found his stride through various roles and responsibilities as part of the culinary team and is now helping guide the new generation of cooks as Culinary Director. Julian feels very fortunate to be part of an exceptional group of talented, creative and thoughtful individuals– all of whom bring a unique perspective and consistent determination to our kitchen.

Jeremy Anderson

Chef de Cuisine

A native to Fauquier County, the Inn at Little Washington was always at an arm’s length to Jeremy. It took 15 years of working the lines, bussing tables and washing dishes in the fast casual restaurants and hotel kitchens within the local community for him to develop his fundamentals and realize there was much more to learn. It was that curiosity that found him standing at the Inn’s doorsteps. Jeremy became a member of our team as a Sous Chef in 2015 and has the rare opportunity to work with Chef Patrick O’Connell by conveying his culinary vision, upholding the Inn’s vast traditions and still looking towards the future for continuous progress.

Lindsey Fern

Director of Wine

Lindsey discovered her passion for wine while backpacking through Europe and Africa in the late 1990’s after graduating from Simmons University in Boston. She has worked in restaurants all over the world including London, England, Ibiza, Spain, Miami, Florida and San Francisco’s Bay Area. Lindsey joined the Wine Team at the Inn in 2014 as their Cellar Master and has moved up the ranks and became Director of Wine in 2021. She is the only woman running a 3 star Michelin restaurant’s wine program in the country! Lindsey is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and the mother of 2 beautiful girls.

Cameron Smith

Maitre du Fromage

Cameron Smith (affectionately known as “Cheese Whiz”) is the Inn’s Maitre du Fromage. He has become one of only a handful of Certified Cheese Professionals through the American Cheese Society and is an avid student of the history and science of cheese making. His cheesy jokes and puns have added an entertaining twist to our cheese service. Cameron is also our “Tea Master” and is certified through the International Tea Masters Association. He curates the rare and exotic teas served during our afternoon tea service and is learning the art of the ancient Japanese tea ceremonies.

Eleanor Gould

Director of Estate Gardening