Chef Opie Crooks of A Rake's Progress - Biography

Washington, DC

October 2018

Patrick Crooks, known to friends and admirers as Opie, 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 the 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, known for an intense focus on the ingredients and traditions of the mid-Atlantic region. Gjerde and Crooks serve hyper-local comfort and technically precise food that helped earn Gjerde a James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” in 2015. Admired by his peers for his creativity, energy, and leadership skills, 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 leads a massive team that applies the strict sourcing ethos to all aspects of the operation, including fine dining, banquets, the coffee shop, and even the hotel’s staff meals.