A leap of faith now leads to a culinary adventure at Lautrec restaurant at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands. Chef Kristin Butterworth is literally pushing the envelope as she launches a new concept – called the “Leap of Faith” menu – at the Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond dining venue located within the resort’s Chateau Lafayette hotel.
As of October 4, dinner guests dining in pairs can take the leap by allowing Butterworth and her team to exercise their culinary creativity with a seven-course menu designed especially with the guests’ food interests in mind. Diners will be presented a sealed red envelope containing a list of seasonal items available for their special meal; together the pair will select 10 items that most appeal to them, and Lautrec’s accomplished staff will do the rest.
Lautrec and Butterworth certainly have the chops to make this concept truly memorable. The 96-seat restaurant is one of just 27 dining venues in the entire world to boast five AAA diamonds (since 2007) and five Forbes stars (since 2009), and Butterworth is the world’s only female chef to helm one of these “dual-distinction” restaurants.
Though all patrons will have the option to order from Lautrec’s usual award-winning menu, Butterworth believes those pairs who opt for the “Leap of Faith” menu will be duly rewarded. “It’s our style to offer up something like this for those who are up for an adventure, while having all the standard menu options for the other guests,” she says. “Whoever partakes in this menu will get a truly unique and customized experience.”
Lautrec will keep each night’s list a total surprise until the envelope is presented, but all foods on the list are items ordinarily found at Lautrec, which specializes in European-American cuisine. There’s nothing outlandish on the list and servers will inquire about dietary restrictions and allergies before delivering the list of selections to the kitchen.
Butterworth, who was born and raised in western Pennsylvania and received her culinary degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, worked at a variety of acclaimed resort restaurants throughout her career before returning to Pennsylvania to truly hone her craft.
She’s not aware of any other restaurants promoting a similar “Leap of Faith” experience, and Butterworth acknowledges that this new concept will challenge her culinary team … in a very positive way. “It’s going to keep us on our toes, for sure,” she says. “But I think we’re up for it!”
The Leap of Faith menu selections will evolve seasonally, just as the standard menu does. Lautrec is committed to community-supported agriculture and takes great pride in working with a variety of local farmers as well as the resort’s own horticulturists who tend Nemacolin’s Holistic Garden.
In keeping with its commitment to provide fine dining options for all guests, Lautrec also features a vegan menu, a vegetable menu and a young adult menu. In addition to being noted for its sophisticated food offerings, the restaurant also boasts a 1,200-bottle wine list. (With 21,000 bottles in its wine cellar, Nemacolin is home to Pennsylvania’s largest public wine collection.)
The “Leap of Faith” menu is currently available only for pairs dining together. The experience is $145 per person, or $270 per person when paired with wines. Lautrec is open year-round, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 866-399-6957.