WASHINGTON, DC – To celebrate The Inn at Little Washington’s 30th anniversary, Patrick O’Connell is hosting a black-tie gala at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington DC. The April 9th event includes a champagne reception with living tableaux by members of the Washington Ballet, a seven-course dinner and a screening of an Inn-produced documentary about the emergence of American cuisine.  Though the Inn will be the focus of attention, the gala also will honor 30 culinary pioneers living and dead who, O’Connell says, have played an instrumental role in the evolution of regional food. “This isn’t a list of 30 cronies,” he says. “It’s a group of people who influenced me and the Inn and who encouraged us by their own developments and actions.” The diverse list includes Thomas Jefferson, Julia Child, New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne, French Laundry chef Thomas Keller, former Washington Post food editor and critic Phyllis Richman and Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters.  As one of the event’s sponsors, Palateur Imports will be pouring the vintage 1978 Delord Armagnac at the after party at the St. Regis, Washington DC.  Mark Monaco from Palateur says, “the Inn is such a special place in my life and anytime we can help them go over the top we will, the fact that we had some 1978 laying around was a poetic finishing touch to such an amazing event.”