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Colorado chef and restaurateur Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, co-founder of James Beard Award-winning Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder is majorly expanding his culinary reach this year. Fresh off the opening of Sunday Vinyl, his month-old wine bar in Denver, Mackinnon-Patterson announced that he’ll be taking on the role as executive chef at the Centurion Lounge that will open in Denver International Airport’s Concourse C later this year.
Last weekend, American Express gave Card Members a preview of what’s in store at a Centurion Lounge Pop Up at the Arrabelle Hotel in Vail Square. The après ski-themed pop-up featured an oxygen bar, fondue station, masseuses, and Mackinnon-Patterson’s north Italian snacks paired with vintage Prosecco from his wine label, Scarpetta. We caught up with the chef between turns on the slopes to learn more about the new partnership.
Departures: You get offered countless opportunities for collaborations. What excited you most about the partnership with the Centurion Lounge?
Mackinnon-Patterson: "My business partner Bobby [Stuckey] and I say no to most collaborations because we don’t feel there’s the right synergy between brands. But he and I are both American Express Platinum Card Members and we use all of their travel services. We fly to and from Italy at least five times a year and when it comes to airport lounges, Centurion has a first-rate operation."
The menu for the Denver Centurion Lounge is still in development, but can you give us a sneak preview?
"The idea is to pull from all of our restaurants. So we might do a pasta dish from Frasca, a version of the rotisserie chicken from our Italian restaurant Tavernetta in Denver, and the butterscotch budino from Pizzeria Locale. Our newest project, Sunday Vinyl, has a distinctly non-Italian menu and we’ll offer some of our snacks from there like deviled eggs or porcini toast. We want it to be versatile and fun."
The pairing you created for the pop-up, Frico Pops and Prosecco, was a huge hit. What exactly is a Frico Pop?
"Frasca was inspired by the food of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a little-known region in northeast Italy. Bobby and I just completed a book on the region—part cookbook, part wine book, part travelogue—that will be published this Spring. Frico is a traditional dish you’ll find in Friuli. Essentially a cheese crisp, it was originally a way that people would recycle cheese rinds. They’d melt them down and turn them into a crispy snack. I put it on a stick so it’s easy to nibble on as your walk around or sip a glass of wine or champagne."
What was the highlight of the pop-up lounge for you?
"The whole experience was really relaxing with the fireplace and different nooks with couches. After skiing, I went right for the spa area and grabbed a Hypervolt massage tool and walked around massaging my muscles as I talked to guests."