For many of the Mill House Inn’s return guests, Executive Chef Carolyn’s lobster frittata is the best thing about the Hamptons. But for Carolyn, the place is magical because it means “farms, ocean, friends, and family!” And it has since she and Assistant General Manager Courtney Silhan were roommates as undergrads and all through their Masters program at Johnson & Wales University. “I spent many college breaks in the Hamptons with Courtney’s family, and never thought I’d be living out here,” says Carolyn. Until she was offered the opportunity to become chef at the Mill House Inn. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“We get to be part of the happy times in people’s lives, and make them even better,” she says. “Proposals, weddings, anniversaries, family vacations.” For her colleagues, a happy time of every day is the family meal Carolyn serves daily. Sometimes it’s a “’nack” and coffee in the morning, sometimes it’s lunch in the afternoon, but for her, “family meal is a time to try out new recipes, cook different food, try new cuisines, invite others into the kitchen, decompress, regroup and discuss the day.”
She’s been known to bring the same “family meal” philosophy to clients’ vacations when cooking dinner parties for guests in the inn’s stand-alone Graybarn Cottage. “During one event, the family’s five-year-old twins were bored, so we put aprons on them, set them on stools at the counter, and had them whip cream by hand for dessert—a competition, of course!” she recalls. “According to the kids it was the best part of their entire week-long vacation.”
And she treats everyone in the Hamptons like family. Our in-house “crusader of worthwhile causes,” Carolyn donates her time, energies, and talents to everyone from the Girl Scouts to the East Hampton Senior Center.
When she’s not in the kitchen, Carolyn may be found at:
Balsam Farms, loading up her market basket. “Talking food and farming with Alex, Jaime, Ian, and Bryan inspires me to cook better, so I do justice to their spectacular harvest each week,” she says. “I find myself playing with the pups, Blue and Summer, sipping a lemonade, and thinking that it just doesn’t get any better.”
Sparkling Pointe Vineyard, which “has a beautiful patio overlooking the vineyards; their chocolate and wine pairing tasting flight is a great way to relax in the early evening.”
Sen in Sag Harbor for “amazing sushi, atmosphere and ramen. Jesse, the owner, is the first sake sommelier on Long Island.”
East Hampton Grill for “artichokes when they are in season, fried oysters when they aren’t” and “rosemary biscuits with Southampton honey” year-round.
Page in Sag Harbor, where you’ll find “a great lobster BLT and a new hydroponic wall garden where they grow their herbs and microgreens in-house.”
East by Northeast to watch the sun set over Fort Pond Bay in Montauk and enjoy a meal designed by chef Jeremy Blutstein. “His menu is truly a reflection of Montauk fish and shellfish and local food—the best of which might be his ‘Food is Bond’ dinner featuring a Wells Farm pig,” she says.