James Beard Award winner
Location: Washington, VA
Establishment: The Inn at Little Washington
Why he's a big deal: O’Connell and The Inn have won five awards from the James Beard Foundation including "Restaurant of the Year" in 1993, "Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region," and "Outstanding American Chef" for 2001. He is also the author of the The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook, A Consuming Passion, and Patrick O’Connell’s Refined American Cuisine.