Set to take place in Park City, Utah over the course of two weeks from January 18-28th, 2024, and coinciding with the iconic Sundance Film Festival, is an exclusive partnership between The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection and SingleThread. Nestled within 3,500 exclusive acres, surrounded by majestic towering peaks, expansive alpine fields, verdant hillsides, and a crystal-clear spring-fed creek, this 46-room retreat beckons guests to rediscover their connection with the natural surroundings, making this luxe resort an ideal setting for a one-of-a-kind residency by three Michelin-starred Restaurant SingleThread.
Coming from the husband and wife team behind SingleThread, chefs Kyle and Katina Connaughton have created the “Title Page” residency. This is a pioneering concept that seamlessly blends gastronomy and cinema for a one-of-a-kind immersive and enlightening dining and film experience for guests.
“Title Page” is more than a culinary event; it’s a narrative in the making, a script yet to be written. Drawing inspiration from the collaborative process of crafting a film, the Connaughtons envisioned a dining experience that reflects the journey of a movie, with each dish telling a story. This residency serves as the writers’ room, where ideas are born, nurtured, and brought to life, mirroring the spirit of the Sundance Film Festival.
“We are currently working on a new idea,” explains SingleThread chef and owner Kyle Connaughton. “One that incorporates and shares details about the dining experience with the guest through short films that are meant to both educate them and entertain as a way of going deeper into all the incredible people and food systems behind their meal.”
The idea behind this concept traces back to the Connaughtons’ realization during their six years at SingleThread. In those mere moments when a dish is presented to the guest, they recognized the impossibility of conveying the myriad tales behind each ingredient, from the hands that cultivate the vegetables to the artisans crafting the plate. “Title Page” seeks to bridge this gap, bringing the diners closer to the unseen world beneath the culinary surface.
The exclusive omakase-style dining experience during the 10-day residency at the luxurious mountain retreat is the centerpiece of “Title Page.” SingleThread will be offering just two seatings each night, with only 14 guests per seating. The inspiration behind this unique approach lies in distilling the essence of each dish into smaller, interactive servings.
The Connaughtons aim to engage guests in a conversation, intertwining the flavors of the cuisine with the rich narratives behind them. It’s an exploration of appreciation—of food systems, traditions, and the symbiotic relationship between diners and the diverse artisans and producers involved.
We chatted with the SingleThread chef and owner Kyle Connaughton about the ‘Title Page’ concept and its origins, what guests can expect from the omakase experience and more. Here’s what he had to say.
What is the concept of the ‘Title Page’ residency at The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection, and how does it tie in with the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT?
It’s something we’ve really formed in our minds and are starting to work out the details on now. And that’s why it’s called “Title Page”, we have the idea in our mind but we haven’t written the “script” yet for this. It’s a work in progress and this residency is the culinary equivalent to being in the writers room while a film is being written.
Since this idea is a dining experience and film together we decided it should take the path that a film would take and approach it that way. Coming to Blue Sky during Sundance allows us to feel the energy of film and the people who make it and love it and bring that creative energy into our process.
It’s an experience and it’s also a conversation as we embark on a new line of thought. In the spirit of Sundance we are doing this sort of first debut much in the way a film would be shown for the first time and may very well go back and have further editing. But for us we are just starting both the culinary and film journey with this project.
How did this concept come about?
Something Katina and I and the rest of the team realized through the six years of SingleThread is that when we bring a guest a course we have about 30 seconds to tell the guest about that dish. We have things to tell them regarding the vegetables on the plate that we farm, how we farm and why, maybe the fishery that the fish came from whom we work closely with, the artisans who made some of the base ingredients on the plate, or the 8th generation potter that made that plate itself by hand.
We can’t possibly tell all those stories as well as how the dish is made and maybe the story that the dish tells. So when a guest dines they really only see the end result of so many things and people that we are close with and mean so much to what we do- farmers, fisheries, ranchers, artisans, craftspeople. They see the tip of the iceberg but not what is going on below the surface. They are as much a part of SingleThread as anything in the restaurant is.
So we want to be able to show more of that behind the scenes, share why it’s important both culturally and environmentally, and connect our guests to those people and places to give them that appreciation we feel.
Can you provide more details about the exclusive omakase-style dining experience being offered during this 10-day engagement? What is the inspiration behind the over all dining experience?
The inspiration here was to distill down our dishes and cooking to smaller dishes to really focus both the flavors and the stories behind each of the dishes. For this project we really felt that interactive omakase format was the right way to engage guests and have that interactive conversation together. We’re connecting film with the culinary experience and the conversation we want to have with the guests.
It’s about talking about this kind of appreciation, telling stories about food systems that are working, traditions that people are working hard to hold onto, and where they fit into that. The guests themselves have a part of that, it’s because they are dining that they are supporting all of these important things whether it be regenerative farming, sustainable fisheries, artisanal food product makers, or artists making pottery.
How will the experiential “trailer” in the experimental test kitchen help guests gain a deeper understanding of the creative process behind the menu and the people involved in its production?
This sort of extended trailer was a way for us to explain the “why” behind what we are doing. We are using film to tell these stories that are so important to us but otherwise may be unknown to them. We are working with my good friend Justin Taylor Smith who has made films such as Omoiyari, Fourth Phase, and Ikigai to create these “episodes” in our long term vision but for now just to share this reason for going the direction we are trying to take our guest experience.
What can guests expect from the transformation of The Lodge at Blue Sky’s dining space using natural materials and delicate moments of beauty curated by SingleThread?
We have this beautiful small place that I’ve had my eye on for a few years. Its a private dining room and we had dinner there with the family that owns Blue Sky several years ago and just loved the space and how it was kind of hidden. When this idea on how we could collaborate came up Katina and I asked if we could start to realize this thought we had in there and for two weeks transform it into an omakase “restaurant”.
The amazing team there jumped right in and have been helping to give the space a whole new look. We are working with our good friend Dwight Hwang to create custom artwork for it and Katina will be creating floral installation pieces each night for the space.
How has the previous collaboration with Chef Kyle and Katina Connaughton been received at The Lodge at Blue Sky, and what can guests anticipate from this year’s event in terms of culinary innovation and experience?
We love working with Blue Sky and we have all become very close and a part of that very special family there. We did a project called Usu-Zan in 2022 with about 70 of the SingleThread team which was a two week residency creating a menu inspired by our years living in Hokkaido. It was so much fun and really well received by guests. We are thrilled to be back and this time creating something very intimate.