Sergjio, the new Executive Chef at Mad River Barn

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We borrowed a shot from his website,, but you know us… we’ll get a less serious one soon :)

We are excited to announce that Sergjio Shantoja is the new Executive Chef at the Mad River Barn.  We love good food, and when we had the opportunity to interview Sergjio for the position, we were thrilled. We had heard about his success as Executive Chef at Waterworks in Winooski, and we were very excited about the prospect of Sergjio joining our team.

Prior to his position at Waterworks, Sergjio was Executive Chef at Urban Tavern Hilton San Francisco, in Union Square.  While he enjoyed the experience, he knew he eventually wanted to return east. Waterworks provided the perfect opportunity to do so while enabling him to focus his creative and management skills on the launch of an immensely successful restaurant. When the position opened at the Mad River Barn, Sergjio was intrigued. Boutique Inns like the Mad River Barn offer chefs significant opportunity for artistic freedom, across breakfast service for guests, events, and traditional restaurant operations. After several meetings over several days, we were all convinced he was the perfect person for the job.

Sergjio has already had a significant impact on operations here at the Barn. We’ve introduced the first round of changes to both our restaurant and events menus, where our focus was on broadening our offerings, including a wider variety of small plates and vegetarian offerings. We’ve also increased our purchasing of local products, and will continue to do so.

He’s also lead the effort to start local production of food here at the Barn. Over the coming weeks, you will begin to see the introduction of our herb and vegetable gardens, which will continue to expand over time. These ingredients will find their way into our menu, for both the restaurant and the pub. We’re also working on some cool props, including slate we have left over from our renovation and old cutting boards  for gorgeous serving dishes (Joanne, our designer, would be so proud).



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But best of all, is the food… We are loving the “taste testing” we are getting from the new menu (this is the time when it’s good to be us). We just tasted the new Hanger Steak with Gremolata Sauce…O.M.G.! Delicious!  We can’t wait for you to try it out!

Mad River Barn's new menu

And our becoming famous (in our own minds)  Beer & Burger Monday’s are now not only a great deal, but extra yummy!

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(Seriously, could you not just jump into that picture!)

We dragged ourselves away from our plates for a moment to ask Sergjio what makes him excited about his new position…

“Vermont is on the cutting edge of the farm to table movement and the Mad River Valley has some amazing farms. Mad River Barn is a special place with a great deal of history and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to creating menus that allow us to build our relationships with local farms and food artisans. We’re now listing the farms we work with on the menu to give them the recognition they deserve for the incredible products they produce.

Growing the restaurant business side of Mad River Barn is very exciting, and we’re starting it in many different ways, including growing our own food and herbs. I’m also excited to be living in the area with my family and enjoying the Valley, including driving around and picking what is in season and using in the menu.”

Yup… he’s just as excited as we are to bring Mad River Barn to a new culinary level with healthier, new and exciting food choices.

If you are looking for us, we’ll be in the kitchen…waiting with our plates for the next taste test…

Our best, Heather and Andrew








Renovations Continue at Mad River Barn

Well, things are coming along at the Annex and the Barn. We had a week off in April and are refreshed and ready for some summer fun! The weather has been amazing and we’ve been working away on spring cleaning, a few tweaks at the Barn, and the renovations at the Annex are in FULL SWING!

Loving this reclaimed wood look rug by FLOR!

Loving this reclaimed wood look rug by FLOR!

We’ve added a full wall to wall carpet in the dining room — it is a recycled product and goes in like tile. So if one gets ruined we don’t have to replace the whole carpet. Clever… we know…

Now off to the Annex (soon to be the Longhouse). Things are moving along… the framing is almost complete and we are so thrilled with the look of these rooms! They are going to be awesome!

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The walkways are being put in and some ofthe landscaping will be done. We will incorporate the last two antique grinding stones into the pathway. (Those things are heavy!)

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We know this part may not seem exciting, but check it out — look at the large windows, big room space and the alcove for a wall mounted TV… can you see it?

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It is official… we have caught our designer, Joanne Palmisano’s bug… the “save every little tiny piece of wood — we could use that somewhere”—bug! And we are… checking out what we made this weekend…


That’s right, from this reclaimed wood and the old square head nails we pulled out of them, and the old pipe hangers, we made menu holders for the dining room and pub. How clever are we?!?

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And the less thick pieces of the left over wood we will add the cast iron robe hooks to and place in the rooms. It seems we can never have enough hooks!

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And while we are all working away, Joanne’s out shopping… hmm…something is wrong with this picture! Just kidding, Joanne! We are so excited she is once again finding some cool old pieces to add to the rooms, including more chicken feeders for bathroom lights. She picked these up while she was presenting at the Country Living Fair in Nashville!

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The relatives are back from the Midwest to help us out. Thanks so much! They are taking a quick break, checking in with the painter, Frances (left). Check out this amazing roof line in the upstairs bedrooms — can’t wait to see how these turn out!

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Future firepit? Not sure…but we had to keep the bottoms of the old tanks…how cool is this!

That’s it for now! More to come soon… follow along (just put your email address in the sidebar and you’ll get the blogs when they post).

Our best, Heather and Andrew