Pinehurst Activities & Recreation Archive

First Look – The Menu from Friday Night’s Dinner at our Chef & Maker Weekend with Paul Verica


Our popular Chef & Maker weekends return in 2018 with delectable meals, interactive demonstrations, informative workshops, chef dinners and more! We invite you to learn a little something about why the South is such a unique place to live, discover and visit. Up first, from May 4-6, is James Beard Award-Nominated Chef Paul Verica of The Stanley, in Charlotte.

Below is the first look of the menu for Friday night’s Farm-to-Table Dinner Reception. There, Pinehurst’s acclaimed culinary team will kick off the weekend with a delectable menu featuring local, farm fresh food, inspired by guest Chef Paul Verica’s approach to cuisine. Enjoy the evening by visiting each of the food stations while discovering great beer from Whitestreet Brewery and Highland Brewing Co., wine from Italics Winegrowers and Biltmore Wines and spirits from Topo Distillery and Piedmont Distillers.

You can join us on an overnight package for the Chef & Maker Weekend, or, if local, purchase Friday night tickets here.


Salads and Cold Items

MG3 Farms Hydro Lettuces, Watercress, Butter Lettuce, snipped to order and tossed with dressings and toppings to include: hand-pulled Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, live Herbs and Mortar-and-Pestle Pesto

Duck Egg Salad with pickled Vegetables and Chorizo

Crispy Pork Belly with Ginger marinated Baby Bok Choy and Pickled Mushrooms

Crawfish with Baby Kale, local Romaine, grilled Spring Onions, Celery and Sweet Corn with a Malt Vinegar Dressing

Spending Sunday morning in the kitchen with @alexverica is a Sunday well spent!

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Paradox Farm Showcase
Fried Paradox Farm’s Cheese Curds with Carolina Reaper Ranch Dip

Flamed Paradox Farm’s Feta with Sanford Strawberries and boiled Hampton Farm’s Peanuts

Goat Cheese, Tomato Bruschetta on grilled Paysano bread with Pumpkin Seeds and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Seasonal creations from Paradox

Breads, homemade Crackers, local Honey and Green Tomato Jam

Baked Oysters with Wild Ramp and Topo’s Vodka Sabayon

Shrimp Ceviche with Citrus, grilled Sweet Potato and Sesame Seeds

Crab Cakes and Hushpuppies with Corn Maque Choux, Shiitake Mushroom and Cilantro

Sea Scallops seared over salt blocks with Coconut and Ginger Quinoa, finished with a Pepper Gastrique

Our last official day of service at our current location will be this Thursday October 5…the last four years has been quite the ride for me on many levels and we as a team (members past and present) have achieved some great things…being named the #1 restaurant in Charlotte, receiving a nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef in the South East, being named the best chef in Charlotte and so many other great accolades all of which would have never happened if it was not for the hard work and dedication of my team and our amazing network of farmers and purveyors…so thank you all of you for your loyalty, hard work, dedication and helping me bring this dream to life. We will miss the town of Waxhaw, which has been great to us over the years and we are very excited about our new project..which should be open in January…thank you all for your continued support over the years and we hope that you will all join us on the next phase of this journey and I will try and keep the sappy posts to a minimum this week…hopefully we will see you in the coming days. Paul

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From the Fire
Mills Family Farm BBQ Brisket Taco with Pickled Slaw and Blackberry Habanero Sauce

Coal-roasted Hanging Chickens with Lemon and Herb Spring Asparagus over Old Guilford Mill Grits

Dutch-Oven Chatham Rabbit Confit, stewed White Beans, Arugula and Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Local Catch, basted with Thyme Butter and served with Sweet Potato and smoked Spring Onion Fried Rice

House Pretzels

Grilled Naan Bread

Cauliflower Casserole

Baked Macaroni with Jalapeno and Pancetta

Slow Braised Collards with Garlic and Chili Flakes

Fig, Manchego,Cinnamon Pastry with a Wheat Berry Fig Leaf Gastrique.

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Live Liquid Nitrogen Sorbet Station

Shelly’s Chocolate Cobbler

Beach Pie

Upside-Down Rhubarb and Ginger Cake

Limoncello Cake with Whipped Yogurt and Macerated Berries

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Our Chef & Maker Weekends are back in 2018

Featuring acclaimed chefs from all corners of North Carolina, Pinehurst Resort announces the return of its popular Chef & Maker culinary series celebrating the South’s best chefs and producers.

The 2018 Chef & Maker Series will highlight three award-winning North Carolina chefs showcasing their unique talents alongside a variety of artisan makers. The first weekend, May 4-6, features acclaimed Charlotte chef Paul Verica (The Stanley), then July 13-15, Wilmington chef Dean Neff (PinPoint Restaurant), and finally James Beard Award-winning chef Bill Smith (Crook’s Corner)  on Sept. 14-16, who will also be doing a book-signing ofCrabs and Oysters : A Savor The South Cookbook.

Each weekend includes interactive discussions and demonstrations by award-winning makers. May’s event will include Nancy Bruns of J.Q. Dickinson Salt- Works, a seventh-generation salt-making family, while in July Pinehurst will welcome Jael and Dan Rattigan of French Broad Chocolates. September brings Shannon Healey of Alley Twenty Six Tonic Syrup.

You can find the weekend itineraries for each weekend here: May, July, September.

Packages start at $399 per person and include two nights’ accommodations at one of the resort’s charming historic hotels, including The Carolina Hotel and The Holly Inn.

The weekends each kick off with the Pinehurst culinary team hosting dinners inspired by the cuisine of the featured chef. Events will include a farm-to-table celebration, a mountains-to-sea themed event and an oyster roast. The Friday night events will be open to the general public and tickets are available for $70 per person at

“The Chef & Maker series last year was a tremendous success, and we are delighted to host it again in 2018,” says Pinehurst’s Executive Chef Thierry Debailleul. “Pinehurst has a long and storied tradition serving as a festive and comfortable setting for unique culinary events, and we look forward to collaborating with some of the best chefs in the South.”

For more information about the series, including chef bios, complete weekend itineraries and Chef & Maker package details, visit or call 888-832-5890.

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A Look Back: Christmas at Pinehurst

It’s always fun sifting through vintage photos, but it’s even better when they include memories from Christmas past. 

Most of these images were shot at the Carolina Hotel during the 1940s, proving the holiday season was just as special then as it is now.

Enjoy this look back in time.

Photos copyright Tufts Archives

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Molly McKenzie’s Moment

Molly McKenzie came to Pinehurst clutching Chef Katie Button’s cookbook. She left with so much more


Photos by John Gessner

MOLLY MCKENZIE IS in her element.

There are four forks at the place setting, and should someone feel overwhelmed by the proper time to use which utensil, McKenzie could probably set them at ease.

She peruses the menu in front of her. It’s eclectic, and the Sunburst Trout, thinly sliced but served raw, precedes the grilled squid dish of the second course. Before McKenzie can get to the dark chocolate custard with orange sorbet, she’ll dine on the rabbit braised with pimenton, garlic and white wine served as the main course. If her brow furrows or the corners of her mouth crease to betray any false sense of confidence, it is not noticeable. She knows to keep an open mind.

McKenzie is so comfortable in the fine dining ambiance of The Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst the server pours her a glass of wine as she settles into her chair. The wine, a Finca Montepedroso Verdejo from 2014, is described as “velvety with excellent volume, structure, and acidity, ending in a long and spirited finish.”

Molly is 11 years old.


THE TABLE OF 10, including Molly’s mother Fiona McKenzie, shares a good laugh at the moment. Consider the ice well broken. Quickly, the wine is removed from Molly’s setting and another glass is placed on the table. It too is a wine glass, but this time, it’s filled with orange juice.

Molly is a quiet little girl of 11, although she’ll tell you she’s almost 12. Her chestnut-colored hair is cropped at the shoulders, and on this night, the light makeup doesn’t quite hide the freckles underneath. She’s soft-spoken and she breaks into an effervescent smile when nervous, but she knows what she’s talking about. Her vocabulary, especially in this arena, can match those who are speaking at the front of the room.

That includes Chef Katie Button. The owner and executive chef of Asheville hot spots Curate and Nightbell, Button is the featured chef at Pinehurst’s Chef & Maker weekend event. The Saturday night Chef Dinner is the highlight of the weekend, and Button is the main attraction. The 110 people in the room are here to experience Button’s considerable talent, which is fully on display on the dishes placed in front of them.

Molly is among the most interested. She’s been to Curate. She’s reading Button’s cookbook. And she’s been cooking since she was 2.

“I want to be a chef,” Molly says.


KATIE BUTTON HAD NO SUCH CLARITY at 11. Growing up in New Jersey, Button was a serious student. She studied at Cornell and went on to earn a master’s degree in biomedical engineering before entering a PhD program.

But while her mind might have been focused on neuroscience, Button finally discovered her heart was in the kitchen, not the lab.

“I basically had no idea what I wanted to do,” Button says. “When you graduate from college (with a) chemical engineering degree, and you don’t know why you got that degree in the first place, and you’re totally lost and confused, what do you do? You just keep studying, because you can’t get a job and you interview terribly. So that’s what I did. I just kept studying. But I was cooking the entire time.”

A prestigious internship at Spain’s famous El Bulli eventually followed, and both Curate and Nightbell have garnered national attention, leading Button to a James Beard Award nomination, being named as one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2015 and television appearances.

Fiona McKenzie’s own culinary path has taken her from her native Australia, though Europe, across the United States and eventually to nearby Sandhills Community College, where she is an associate professor and department head of the school’s Culinary and Pastry Arts program.

Whenever the family travels, Fiona wants to experience the culture of the place. For the McKenzies, that includes food. A weekend trip to Asheville a year ago led them to try Curate, and Molly was hooked.

“Curate was super good,” Molly says. “I especially liked the croquettes.”


THE ORGANIZED CHAOS OF A KITCHEN tasked with serving four courses to 110 people is perhaps best left behind the kitchen’s Out door. While guests dine and the room’s volume crescendos with each wine tasting, Button and the Pinehurst culinary staff keep things moving.

Button takes a break from behind closed doors to emerge into The Carolina’s Grand Ballroom and introduce each course, but these are to be the extent of her appearances for the evening. Not that they are wasted appearances. Button speaks in paragraphs, and her allusion to the fresh trout as “happy fish” draws hearty laughs from an audience that feels no divide from the acclaimed chef in its presence.

The dessert course – formally named Crujiente de Chocolate y Kikos – signals the coming end of the evening. Waiting for her plate, Molly leafs through Button’s cookbook, Curate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen. There’s a blur of commotion at the chef’s door, and again Button appears. Whizzing to the right and between two tables, Button makes a beeline for Molly’s chair.

The little girl’s cheeks blush red, but the smile breaks wide. She beams. She glows. She moves to the edge of her chair. Her eyes sparkle even in the dimly lit ballroom. There’s a reason why.

“I almost started crying,” Molly says. “My mom and I had a little geek-out moment.”

“Molly looked a little nervous when I came out, but I think I was more nervous than she was,” Button says. “You have this wonderful little girl who has these huge expectations, and you want to make sure you don’t dash those expectations.”

Molly McKenzie, Chef Katie Button and Molly’s mom, Fiona.

Button tells Molly she’s glad the little girl is there, that it’s cool she’s there and especially great that her mom brought her to the dinner. Button wishes she could see that happen more often, that parents would bring their children to these kinds of events instead of opting for the babysitter.

“I don’t know why she would be nervous,” Molly says. “I’m just a little girl.”


Button asks Molly about the menu.

“Molly was obviously clearly into food, and the food I served that night wasn’t exactly easy dishes for a kid,” Button says. “It was pretty adventurous – we had raw trout, we had a squid dish, rabbit – but it was inspiring to see how much she was able to enjoy it.”

“The squid was my favorite, my absolute favorite,” Molly says. “Mom says to always keep an open mind.”

Button crouches down to get to Molly’s level in the chair. The two talk. They pose for pictures. Button looks through the book with Molly and signs it. The wine glass is refilled with OJ.

“To see that come from a little girl who still has her entire life ahead of her, who still has so much time to figure what she wants to do and what kinds of person she wants to be – feeling like I’m a positive influence for her and for her mother to feel that I’m a positive influence for her, that’s the absolute best compliment I could ever get.” -Chef Katie Button

“(Chef Button) was just delightful,” Fiona says. “She didn’t have to come out. But she was so charming, and it was so kind and gracious of her to make a personal connection with Molly. It was a human touch that Molly will never forget.”

“Lots of times I’ll do events, and the food is great and you have all kinds of adults come up and tell you how wonderful it was and give these wonderful compliments and say these flattering things,” Button says. “And that means so much to me; I love making people happy through food.

“But to see that come from a little girl who still has her entire life ahead of her, who still has so much time to figure what she wants to do and what kind of person she wants to be – feeling like I’m a positive influence for her and for her mother to feel that I’m a positive influence for her, that’s the absolute best compliment I could ever get.”

Rather than the inside of the cover, Button finds a page deeper into the cookbook to sign for Molly. It feels more personal. And the chef who speaks so eloquently about food and the relationships it can create and inspire boils her career, her philosophy, her perspective  – all of which this singular moment could serve as the perfect metaphor – down to a simple three-word inscription:

“Cook your passion.”


MOLLY TAKES THE BOOK TO SCHOOL at New Century Middle the next day. Every chance she gets, she looks through it again as the whims of other 6th-graders whirl around her. She’s devouring it, but holding it carefully in her hands. No doubt, every once in a while, perhaps to make sure it’s still there, she turns to the page Button signed.

“Cook your passion.”

“I’m thinking about what I’m going to make first,” Molly says.

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Creative, fun, vibrant – that’s Chef Katie Button

Katie Button will headline the finale in Pinehurst’s popular Chef & Maker series, which will take place from Sept. 15-17. To get to know Katie a little better, please watch the above video, which covers her creativity and experience with tapas and the unique small plates served at the Nightbell, an ultra-cool restaurant and lounge in Asheville also known for its whimsical decor and delicious cocktails.

Growing up in New Jersey, Katie Button was a serious student, going on to earn a master’s degree in biomedical engineering and entering a PhD program. But she soon discovered her heart was in the kitchen, and comes to Pinehurst considered as one of the next wave of culinary stars.

Video: A Pinehurst Short Course Update

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