BEST MAD GENIUS - 2001
Somewhere in Minneapolis, walking unremarked among us, is a woman to whom we all should be grateful: Patrick Atanalian's Minnesota-born beloved. Were it not for her, Atanalian surely would have flown this snowy burg, thus depriving us of his mad, mad, inspiring, sometimes terrifying, sometimes bizarre genius. Who else would make Chinese chicken with root beer? Who else salmon in a lobster-and-peanut broth? And who else could make them delectable, unforgettable experiences? Sometimes, sitting in the endlessly romantic Loring, it occurs to us that in a bigger, trendier city, Atanalian would be a cult chef of popular renown. And then we offer a silent toast to his sweetheart, and thank our strange, lucky stars.