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Q&A With A Colorado Star Chef: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson

Bravo set its upcoming season of "Top Chef" in breathtaking destinations in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, Aspen and Telluride. We talked to a few of the local chefs who call Colorado home and appeared on the show about their favorite sides of living and cooking in Colorado.

Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Boulder's Frasca Food & Wine and Pizzeria Locale
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Boulder's Frasca Food & Wine and Pizzeria Locale

Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Boulder's Frasca Food & Wine and Pizzeria Locale is a "Top Chef Masters" alum. He has earned numerous awards, including: Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs 2005 and the James Beard Foundation Award’s Best Chef: Southwest in 2008.

Why do you choose to live and cook in Colorado?
I choose to live and work in Colorado because you can truly find a real work-life balance here. To me, this means I can ride my bike every day, get exercise and be outside, but also still work really hard. It’s hard to have this kind of lifestyle in other places.

What defines Colorado's food scene and sets it apart?
Now, unlike a decade ago, people are seeking out Colorado as a place to create and open many kinds of restaurants from all over the country. Ten years ago, Colorado was a place where people were from here or grew up here. Now, it’s a national destination and people are relocating here from all over the place. It’s raising the bar for the food scene, because these people moving to Colorado are bringing new ideas from all over the country.

Any Colorado food trends to watch out for?
The biggest trend right now, which is nationwide and excelling in Denver, is the integration of digital technology in restaurants. So, the way in which restaurants are or aren’t adapting to online ordering and mobile apps. Restaurants that are skilled at creating an easy-to-use and fluid ordering system will allow customers to have a better experience.

What is your favorite Colorado product to highlight in a dish?
I’ll pick two categories — one savory and one sweet. I think some of the best products in Colorado are due to our short, hot growing season. We get more kale, greens and lettuce, and these tend to be sweet and tender for longer. We also get stone fruits, like nectarines and peaches, that are outstanding because they thrive on the Western Slope of Colorado.

What are your favorite things to do in Colorado in your free time?
I love being with my family and riding my bike in the mountains.

What are your Colorado culinary recommendations for visitors?
There are a lot of great places to enjoy in Colorado, but some of my favorites include: Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Wonder Press, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Mercantile Dining & Provision, and of course the lounge area of Tavernetta and Pizzeria Locale.

Want More?

Read a Q&A with two local cheftestants from this season of "Top Chef" >>

See recaps from this season, including how to visit the places seen on the show >>