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From The Blog An Evening at Cloudland Farm with Chef Mike Borraccio

Farm to Table Dining New Chef Mike Borraccio of Cloudland Farm

Cloudland Farm is operated by Bill and Cathy Emmons whose philosophy is raising happy and healthy animals, providing the best nutritious feed, and caring for the land with their family. This 1,000-acre farm is home to Black Angus beef cattle, turkeys, chickens, pigs, horses, and of course farm to table dining in a comfortable and picturesque setting.

Dining is available on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays with pre-fixed menus that change weekly created by new incoming Chef Mike Borraccio. Mike joined the team here at Cloudland during a transitional time in 2020, where longtime and respected Chef Ira was leaving after 6 years of heading the kitchen. Chef Mike has integrated right into the fold adding his own touch and sharing with us his background in cooking and approach to his menus.

Join us for a recap of our lovely evening at Cloudland Farm and interviewing their newest Chef.

outdoor table
Jennifer Schmidtke
Outdoor table at Cloudland Farm

To begin the night, you get to take in the wonderful views while driving up Cloudland road. In the summer, fall, or winter this drive sets the mood for a lovely dining experience. 

Once you arrive at Cloudland you're greeted by the friendly staff and can browse the restaurant's store stocked with meats from the farm and highlighting some local artisan's work and Cloudland Farm gear. Cloudland is reservation only and also BYOB, be sure to call ahead and snag a reservation. 

plating food
Let's meet Chef Mike Borraccio

Q. Hello, Mike thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.... Woodstock residents and visitors always appreciate sitting down for a good meal, let us know how you got your start as a Chef.

A. My family has owned and operated Lino’s Italian Restaurant in metro Detroit, Michigan. I learned a lot from my dad and grandma by hanging out at the restaurant throughout my childhood. When I graduated high school, I moved to Chicago and fell hard for the food scene there. That set me on a path of self-education, I read tons of cookbooks and immersed myself in every cuisine and technique that I could.

I learned a lot from my dad and grandma by hanging out at the restaurant throughout my childhood.

indoor dining
Indoor dining

Q. Where did you get your training/influence from and how would you describe your style?

A. After deciding I wanted to pursue a career in the restaurant industry, I had the fortune to work in a farm-to-table restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, under Pat Wise and then Jeremy Paquin. There I was able to help write the ever-changing menu and pursue any creative lead that I wanted to. I would say my style is mostly a melting pot of American-European with a seasonal focus. I write the menus for Cloudland the week before based on produce coming off the farm and what I find exciting at the moment. I like to cook au-pif or by feel, creating a loose game plan and filling in the blanks as I go.  

I write the menus for Cloudland the week before based on produce coming off the farm and what I find exciting at the moment.

chef plating
Chef Mike Borracio

Q. Was there anything specific that drew you to live/work in Vermont, how did you come across Cloudland Farm?

A. After closing one restaurant and opening two more in 2020, I needed a change. I quit my job in February 2021, road-tripped out west for 4 weeks, then on my way back to Michigan I started looking for jobs all over the country. I found Cathy Emmons, from Cloudland Farm’s, Indeed post and reached out. I packed up all my belongings and moved to Woodstock 2 weeks later.

dinner plates

Q. The daily commute is breathtaking, what is your favorite part of Woodstock, Vermont so far?

A. I love all the opportunities to be outside! Even if it’s only staring at the hills and trees. The views from the Cloudland kitchen are unbelievable too, I don’t know of many kitchens where you can look out a window and see gorgeous colors and varied textured landscape. I’ve also been hiking 2-3 days a week and riding my motorcycle; Woodstock is a great home base for both.

Q. When your guests sit down for dinner at Cloudland Farm what do you want them to take away from the experience?

A. I love that Cloudland has a strong community; it is something that I believe guests can feel as soon as they pull into the driveway. I hope that guests can be transported to a restorative place in their mind, refreshed by the food and staff, and have a memorable dining experience among the gorgeous setting.


dining view
Jennifer Schmidtke

Q. Where do you want to take Cloudland Farm in the future?

 A. I always save time during my prep to add to the Cloudland pantry/larder. I look forward to seeing how far I can put up all the different seasons of fruits and vegetables that come off the farm. I would also love to contribute to the farm store, possibly selling our fresh and dried pasta and sauces.

Take in the views of Cloudland Road on your way to this special dining destination.