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Delicious Legacy

Side Dishes: After its chef's passing, the Millbrook Inn lives on, without dinner


Published January 19, 2011 at 7:52 a.m.

Thom Gorman, 65, was a travelin’ man. In November, Gorman, his wife, Joan, and his friends Richard Fink and Lee Duberman of Ariel’s Restaurant in Brookfield journeyed together to San Miguel, Mexico. According to Duberman, “He cooked his last Indian meal there, for us.”

Gorman, former chef-owner of the Millbrook Inn in Waitsfield, died of cancer on December 23. The Basebox at Mad River Glen will host a potluck memorial dinner to celebrate his life on Wednes-day, January 19, at 6 p.m.

Gorman traveled every continent but Antarctica, skiing, climbing and learning the cuisine at every stop. When he and Joan opened the Millbrook Inn in 1979, it was the time he’d spent with the Peace Corps in India that most strongly influenced the menu. Gorman made fettuccine by hand and served dishes from as far afield as Thailand and Grand Turk Island. But it was his Vermont lamb rogan josh and Misty Knoll Farms chicken brahmapuri that kept guests returning year after year.

In the wake of her husband’s passing, Joan Gorman has kept the inn open without dinner service. “I’m running a bed and breakfast now,” she says. Gorman plans to run the inn until it sells, closing as always for stick season, and between October and Christmas.

Joan Gorman, once the inn’s pastry chef, has had plenty of offers to prepare desserts for area restaurants, she says, but has turned them all down. Instead, she plans on hosting occasional dinners for inn guests, though she’ll more likely stew up Mexican mole than Indian specialties. “That was Thom’s,” she says.