Amex Centurion Lounge at SFO Partnering with 3-Michelin Star Chef

a close-up of a restaurant menu
American Express has been aggressively expanding its network of Centurion Lounges across the country, with SFO one of the next to open, scheduled for late 2014. There is still a bit of speculation if the lounge will be land-side or air-side, but it will be located above the premium security checkpoint above gate 75 which is near the walkway between Terminal 3/International Terminal. According to its website, access to the lounges is available to “All American Express  Members with a valid American Express Charge or Credit Card”. However, while access for Platinum or Centurion card holders is free, there is a $50 charge for other cardholders.

On the topic of food, American Express also recently announced that Chef Christopher Kostow from the Three Michelin Starred The Restaurant at Meadowood will be joining the list of celebrity chefs that are curating and designing menus for the network of Centurion Lounges.

The celebrity chef concept intrigues me – on the one hand, I understand that its mutually beneficial from the marketing and PR perspective to both the chef, and in this case American Express. But in general, I haven’t seen these partnerships translate into better food since after all, we’re talking about mass-produced food that’s served either at an airport or on-board the plane. One notable exception was my recent experience on Cathay Pacific where the “Tosca” menu designed by celebrity chef Pino Lavarra from the Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong was fantastic and among some of the best food I’ve ever had in the air.

In an interview with Conde Nast, Chef Kostow didn’t give away much in terms of what to expect, other than the fact that the food will be “delicious and restorative and awesome.” It will be interesting to hear more details on this closer to opening, and look forward to spending some time chowing down in the lounge later this year.

How has the food been at other Centurion Lounges; are the Celebrity Chef partnerships translating into better food?

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