The Millbrook Inn & Restaurant, Waitsfield Vermont, in the Mad River Valley, is a Country Inn Bed and Breakfast offering Accommodations and Dining near Sugarbush and Mad River Glen Skiing, Golf, and Hiking

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Cook's Tour Has Spiced Things Up Back At His Vermont B&B

Author: Diane Daniel
Date: November 20, 2005
Page: M2 Section: Travel

WHO: Joan, 56, and Thom Gorman, 60, of Waitsfield, Vt.
WHERE: India
WHEN: Seven weeks in April, May, and June
WHY: "This was Thom's 60th birthday," Joan said. "He told me he really wanted to spend it in India. The one place he'd never been there was the south. The last several years he's focused on southern Indian cooking." Thom cooks for their restaurant at their bed-and-breakfast, the Millbrook Inn.
SEASONED TRAVELERS: Thom learned to prepare Indian food when he served there in the Peace Corps from 1967-69. He went back in 2000 with Joan, who had never been. The Gormans travel, often overseas, for about five weeks every fall and for two months during mud season.
A PERSONAL PACHYDERM: "Unlike the way we usually travel, with few reservations or plans, I decided that because it was his birthday we'd have something a little fancier set up," Joan said. She chose a six-night package with Malabar House in Cochin, on the west coast. They stayed two nights at the historic boutique hotel, which then arranged stays at a home on Lake Vembanad and on a working rubber plantation. "At both, you get your own maid and chef," she said. At the first, they toured the lake in a houseboat. At the second, "you get your own elephant."
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Because Joan told the hotel about their restaurant and Thom's cooking, "when we got there they were unbelieveably accommodating. They'd devised complete special menus and invited Thom into the kitchen. At every meal, the executive chef invited him in." Said Thom, "I've been cooking Indian food for 30 years, and professionally for 26, and to actually meet with people there in commercial kitchens was unbelievable. They also were interested in getting my reaction. Not only the chef, but his assistant, typed out a bunch of recipes." When he came home, he added a mild yellow fish curry with coconut milk to his menu. "I can't make it fast enough."
HIGH RISE: One of the Gormans' outdoor passions is high-altitude hiking. For this trip, they went to Sikkim, the northeastern state bordered by Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. The main attraction there was a 10-day trek to the base of Mount Khangchendzonga, at 28,169 feet the third highest mountain in the world. The couple often hike alone, but this time hired a guide through Pardick Treks & Tours. "We had a sherpa, two porters, horses, yaks, a cooking tent, and a cook," Joan said. HEATED REQUEST: "We told them, no Western food," Thom said. "Our entire trip, we kept saying we wanted it spicier. We kept begging them, please cook it like you usually cook it. When I got the recipes, I saw they still were using with us all the kinds of peppers in the recipe."
PEAK EXPERIENCES: "It was a gorgeous trek, and we got to the highest point," Joan said. "It's a way for us of pushing an envelope. We had a fabulous guide and the food was wonderful. It was so beautiful when you got to camp. If it's raining or snowing, you snuggle down in your tent and read a book. For us that's heaven."

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