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New at Norma's

Side Dishes: Mark Timms Returns

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When Chef Mark Timms left the Vermont National Country Club six months ago, he said he was bound for a job at a fancy resort restaurant in Georgia. But instead, he headed to a Pennsylvania spa called The Lodge at Woodloch to be the executive chef — and a patient of sorts.

“I pretty much lied about where I was going,” Timms admits sheepishly. “I went away . . . to get myself mentally organized and cleaned up, in a way, both physically and mentally. In Vermont I was heading towards alcohol. I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I was getting out of control.” At the Lodge, he professes, “I learned a lot about how to eat healthily and how to handle myself more professionally and more honestly.”

Now he’s back in Vermont as executive chef at the Topnotch Resort and Spa eatery Norma’s Restaurant, and, he says, he’s got his act together. “I’m jazzed and I’m healthy,” Timms enthuses. “I have a different philosophy now.”

So does his cooking. Come December, Timms will roll out a new, bistro-style menu, with a selection of healthier “super-food” spa items for weight-conscious diners. Fans of his experiments with molecular gastronomy, such as foie gras “lollipops,” may see some bold options on the bar menu.

And, Timms says, he’s in it for the long haul. “I have to be here until I retire,” he explains. “My wife is not going to move again. I need to, in my own mind, settle down — and in Norma’s, I think I’ve found the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.”

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