Chef Opie Crooks of A Rake's Progress - Biography

Washington, DC

September 2019

Patrick “Opie” Crooks knew he belonged in the kitchen ever since he started washing dishes and bussing tables at 14. He watched the chef and loved the intensity, energy, and urgency involved in the role. In 2006, he graduated from Le Cordon Bleu’s Atlanta campus and immediately jumped into a position with legendary Chef Roy Yamaguchi at the Atlanta location of Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. He spent nearly a decade working for Yamaguchi, becoming a chef-partner and moving between Atlanta, Jacksonville, and finally Baltimore, with a brief stint at Anne Quatranno’s Abattoir in Atlanta in between.

In 2013, he left Roy’s to join forces with Spike Gjerde, first as chef of Shoo-Fly and then as chef de cuisine of Gjerde’s landmark Woodberry Kitchen. Gjerde and Crooks’ technically precise and hyper-local comfort food helped earn Gjerde a James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” in 2015. Admired by his peers for his creativity, energy, and leadership, Crooks was named “Best Chef ” by Baltimore’s City Paper in 2015. In 2017, Gjerde and Crooks opened A Rake’s Progress inside The Line hotel in Washington, D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. There, Crooks applies Gjerde’s strict sourcing ethos to all aspects of the operation, leading to a two and a half star review from critic Tom Sietsema in The Washington Post and a StarChefs Rising Stars Award in 2018.