March 17, 1955- February 11, 1998
While I have many wonderful memories of my dear friend Patrick Clark, a few great moments do come to mind. Patrick was always willing to help whenever I called upon him to share his talents and expertise. He worked with me on several events for the National Counsel of Negro Women in Los Angeles. He helped me to coordinate the judges for the “Real-Men-Cook” Annual Gala, and was a founding member of board of trustees for the Taste of Heritage Foundation.
Patrick loved to cook and I never hesitated to ask him to do so, for those visions we shared, he participated in the first Elegant Taste of Heritage dinner held at the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California and hosted the first Elegant Taste of Heritage dinner on the east coast at the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington, D. C. The most memorial day was November 19, 1991 when Patrick came to The School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as part of our second annual Distinguished Chef Series. He conducted a master cooking class, and worked with my students to prepare a Gala Banquet, one of the greatest meals of my life. First course Cannelloni of Cabbage and Root Vegetables with Potato and Olive Oil Broth, Second course Sauteed Zucchini Wrapped Shrimp with Mixed Wild Mushrooms, Fresh Thyme and Light Shrimp Sauce, Main course Medallions of Venison with Roasted Beet Sauce, Butternut Squash Puree with Deepened Fried Sweet Potato Chips and Dessert course Warm Apple Bread Pudding with a Vanilla Custard Sauce. Patrick was the first chef I contacted to contribute to A Taste of Heritage: New African-American Cuisine, a collection of foods and dishes that reflect both the family histories and training of the chefs that contributed to the timely book. Chef Joe Randall 5/29/98
Patrick Dean Clark
March 17, 1955-February 11, 1998
Born in Brooklyn, NY to Melvin and Idella Clark, Patrick emulating his father who was a chef, embarked on his culinary course at age 9.
He enrolled in the hotel and restaurant curriculum at New York City Technical College (his father’s alma mater) from which he earned an Associate of Arts Degree. To refine his skills, he entered the food program at Great Britain’s Bownemouth Technical College and subsequently put his training into practice with an apprenticeship at Braganza
restaurant in London.
Having developed a finesse for French cuisine, Patrick put the first rung in his won reputation ladder at Regine’s in New York City. He continued to climb it with stints at New York’s Le Coup de Fusil, La Boite and the Pear Tree; but it was tenure at Odeon and Cafe Luxembourg that put him on the city’s gastatorial map. He launched his own restaurant, the highly regarded Metro, in 1988.
Patrick decided to give up the rigors of chef/ownership in 1990 and for the next two years served as executive chef of Bice’s Beverly Hills, where he garnered three stars from The Los Angeles Times.
Chef Clark’s three star status continued to shine on the East Coast, where he took on the kitchen at the prestigious Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, DC. The hotel’s just across the street from the White House afforded the introduction of Patrick’s talents to a host of world’s notables, from Heads of State to Poet Laureates. In fact, the Clintons were so taken with his unique style of contemporary American cuisine that he was one of the four candidates they considered for White House chef, until Patrick removed himself from the running.
In May of 1994 Patrick was named Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Region at the annual James Beard Awards. Thus anointed by the food world’s Oscars (and already the recipient of the distinguished Grand Master Chef Award in 1988 and 1989 (as well as 1988’s Chef in America National Medallion) Patrick found himself fielding offers from all over the world.
Patrick accepted the position of Executive Chef at Tavern on the Green, the nation’s most successful restaurant, effective February 1, 1995. The “free hand” that Tavern proprietor Warner LeRoy gave enabled him to do whatever he wanted to do.
Patrick was dedicated to his profession and endeavored to serve as a role model and mentor too many aspiring chefs. For the past few years, he has been Chairman of the United Negro College Fund’s annual culinary fundraiser in New York. He has also participated in the annual Masters of Chefs competition in Carmel, California along with numerous other community activities.
Patrick and his family resided in Plainsboro, NJ for the past three years and worshipped at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ.
Patrick went home to rest on Wednesday, February 11, 1998. He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Lynette, his children-Preston, Aleia, Ashley, Brooke and Cameron-his sister Deborah Clark-Littles, a nephew Brandon, a niece Danielle, of Queens, NY and a host of friends and colleagues, Patrick was 42 Years old.
Leah Chase’s expertness in Creole cuisine is held in such high esteem that she was honored and featured in the Culture Expressions Gallery of the newly opened Smithsonian Institute of National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., along with chefs Edna Lewis, Patrick Clark, Joe Randall and Hercules, George Washington’s enslaved chef.