Last fall, Chipotle Mexican Grill staged the Cultivate Festival—a celebration of food, farmers, chefs, artisans, musicians, and thought leaders—in Chicago. It was such a hit that, this year, our homegrown burrito chain is hosting the event in both the Windy City and Denver. The free fest (with food, music, and an opportunity to rub elbows with the area’s best chefs) takes place this Saturday, October 6, at City Park. One bold name to look for is Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson of Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine. 5280 had the opportunity to chat with him about Cultivate and Chipotle’s impact on the food community.
5280: Has Frasca worked with Chipotle in the past?
LMP: Yes, we’ve known Steve Ells [founder, chairman, and co-CEO] forever. Chipotle is truly re-inventing fast food with classical cooking techniques.
What do you think Chipotle is doing for the food world?
They are the forerunner in healthy and delicious “fast-food.” They don’t change their menu around a lot, they just market the choices they make around their connections with farmers and sources.
Will we get to try any food from you at the Cultivate event?
I will be demonstrating northeastern Italian techniques that are new to most people such as the notion of great sausages with great condiments. I’m pretty sure the attendees will get to try the food.
Chipotle is presenting some new menu options including barbacoa chili, carnitas tortas, and tofu tacos. Which will be the first dish you’ll try?
Definitely the torta with naturally raised pork, black beans, pickled red onions, cilantro, and queso fresco.
At Frasca there’s a focus on wine but do you have a favorite Colorado brew?
Either New Belgium’s Blue Paddle or the Avery Karma—both served supercold.
What does “farm-to-table” mean to Frasca Food and Wine?
It means getting produce from particular ranches as quickly as possible. It means sustainable, healthy raised, and organic food. It means making a relationship with the farmers that flourishes to create terrific results.
What are some of your favorite local ingredients to work with in the kitchen?
Fruit. My top three are probably cherries from the Western Slope, peaches, and melons (such as honeydew) to make a caprese salad with prosciutto.
—Image courtesy of Chipotle Mexican Grill/Cultivate Festival Denver