DC’s First Three-Star Michelin Restaurant Was Celebrated in High-Style

Chefs, socialites, and members of the press toasted all the best restaurants in DC.

Chef Patrick O'Connell accepts his Michelin three-star chef's whites. All photography by Dan Swartz.

Scoops of caviar and glasses of Bordeaux abounded at the French ambassador’s residence Thursday night, where Michelin hosted a party to celebrate the release of the third DC guide.

The biggest buzz? Chef Patrick O’Connell‘s long-awaited three stars, of course. They’ve arrived the same year his Inn at Little Washington is celebrating its 40th anniversary, a feather in the cap of the restaurant’s already very adorned lid.

“There are few times in life when reality is better than the movies, and today is one of them for me,” said O’Connell in a speech to the crowd. “I couldn’t have imagined that a DC boy born on South Capitol Street who started his career in Prince George’s County at Mr. H’s Hamburgers would be receiving this amazing accolade today.”

Cameras flashed and hands clapped as Michael Ellis, international director of the guides, presented O’Connell with his new three-star chef whites.

Ellis also presented chef’s jackets to the new one-star chefs who joined the Michelin ranks, Ryan Ratino of Bresca and Robert Wiedmaier, who along with chef Brian McBride, is behind Siren.

Also recognized were the chefs who retained their stars (everyone avoided losing any this year): Daniel Hoefler of Blue Duck Tavern, Jeremiah Langhorne of the DabneyFabio Trabocchi of Fiola, Nick Stefanelli of Masseria, Eric Ziebold of Métier, Ralf Schlegel of Plume, Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls, Nobu Yamazaki of Sushi Taro, and Jon Sybert of Tail Up Goat.

Not present were Johnny Monis of Komi and José Andrés of Minibar, although chef Jorge Hernandez accepted the recognition on Andrés’s behalf.

Chef Trabocchi created the menu for the event, which included spoons of Imperial Gold Caviar, chilled tomato gazpacho, thinly sliced jamón ibérico, sheep’s milk ricotta pansotti pasta, yellowfin tuna, chocolate-and-foie gras lollipops, and various pastries such as opera cake and raspberry-and-fig choux. 

French Ambassador Gérard Araud addresses the party.
2019 Michelin Guides and chef’ whites were presented to honorees.
Chef Patrick O’Connell (center) with Senator Mark Warner (right) and the Michelin Man.
Passed canapés of Calvisius Imperial Gold Caviar from Fiola.
Maria and Fabio Trabocchi with the Meridian International Center’s Tracy Bernstein.
Story Partners founder Gloria Dittus, Embassy of Japan Social Secretary Kiyomi Buker, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas.
Chefs Robert Wiedmaier, Cathal Armstrong, and Nicholas Stefanelli.
Minibar General Manager Jhonatan Cano (left) and Minibar chef Jorge Hernandez share a toast with “Champagne Dress” host Renee Theisen.
Venable’s Tom Quinn and FP1 Strategies’ Ryan Williams flank chef Aaron Silverman of Pineapple and Pearls and Rose’s Luxury.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.