Chef Bios: Daniel Patterson

A look at the life of this self-taught chef

Daniel Patterson

Without any formal training, this self-taught chef and food writer has managed to open popular restaurants with even stronger reputations.

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Patterson’s mother taught French and history and his father was a lawyer. Frequent trips to France have influenced the way that he views cooking. He got his first start in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher when he was 14 years old. In 1989, Patterson moved to Sonoma, Calif. with then-girlfriend—and later wife—Elizabeth Ramsey. When he was 25, Patterson opened Babette’s, a French-inspired restaurant, with Ramsey in Sonoma, Calif. Babette’s closed its doors in 1999 when the lease expired. Then in 2000, Patterson and Ramsey opened Elisabeth Daniel. Despite the restaurant’s strong reputation, business was slow and closed in 2004. During that same year, Patterson co-wrote The Magic of Essential Oils in Food and Fragrance with Mandy Aftel.

More recently, Patterson has opened Coi in 2006, which has earned 2 Michelin stars, and helped open Il Cane Rosso in 2010 with Lauren Kiino, chef-owner at Bracina. Additionally, Patterson often writes food-related pieces for New York Times Magazine, Food and Wine Magazine and San Francisco Magazine. He currently resides in Oakland, Calif. with his wife Alexandra Foote.


Culinary Style: California Cuisine
Restaurants: Coi
Born: 1964

Patterson dropped out of Duke University before moving to Sonoma with Elizabeth Ramsey.