Gay Chef Uses Mannequins & Drama to Serve Meals & Social Distancing

Restaurants are either still closed, closed for good or starting to re-open to test the waters in a new world with COVID-19. Michelin-Starred out gay chef Patrick O'Connell has used mannequins to address a the new need for social distancing in dining rooms. More below...

The Inn at Little Washington COVID-19
Mannequin Patrons at The Inn at Little Washington (The Inn at Little Washington)

At the three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington, chef/owner Patrick O’Connell hatched a plan to use mannequins wearing vintage costumes to fill seats left empty by Virginia’s rules mandating that restaurants operate at half capacity. Some on social media found the prospect of dining among inanimate companions … well, a tad creepy.

But theatricality has long been a signature of the world-renowned restaurant, where cheese is served from a mooing cow-shaped cart and crystal chandeliers hang in the kitchen’s chicken coops. “The Inn at Little Washington has always celebrated the ‘living theatre’ of a restaurant,” O’Connell said in an email, adding that he hopes the setup will amuse diners while complying with the regulations. “We’re all craving to gather and see other people right now. They don’t all necessarily need to be real people.”

Source: Emily Heil for Washington Post.