10Celeste Borel: Owner of L’Auberge Provencale
“We didn’t know that we are supposed to be advertising a farm to table restaurant because we’ve been doing it for 30 years.”
Celeste Borel is a woman of many different talents who has put her heart and mind into her job, being the owner of L’Auberge Provencale along with her husband Alain Borel. Some of the few tasks she juggles day by day include manager, social media, wine director, menu development, weddings coordinator, and a marketer. L’Auberge Provencale is a spectacular French Country Inn and a beautiful romantic bed and breakfast with so much to offer. They are a food destination with great service, they book hiking, biking, cavern tours, vineyard tours, horseback riding, and much more. This country atmosphere blended with a French Auberge relaxes and revitalizes the mind.
Where were you born? Did this impact you wanting to pursue a French restaurant?
“Well I was actually born in Philadelphia my husband however was born in the south of France. He is a fourth generation chef in his family so when you marry a Borrel this is pretty much what you do. I’ve worked in restaurants practically my whole life, I’ve worked in baking pastries, I worked in a bakery when I was 14 years old until I was 16. I met my husband down in Key West and he had a couple restaurants there, we had two restaurants down there before we decided to come up here.”
Why a luxury business?
“I’ve always wanted to own a Provencale, which is basically a country Inn. On my husband’s side of the family he has the French which were very proper and then the Armenians who grew their own livestock. So he grew up learning about farm to table ever since he was very young. So we came up here and we got this farmhouse and open up as a restaurant in 1981, and then we started to add rooms to make it a Country Inn rather than just a restaurant.”
Describe to me a typical day at L’Auberge Provencale for you.
“I try to have breakfast first because I don’t know the next time I’ll eat throughout the day. My job right now is to take care of booking, the weddings, and overseeing the special events because we have a lot of them here. We do a lot of intimate family weddings and intimate eloping, a lot of smaller weddings because that’s what our venue is about. I’m also checking in with our chefs and helping them create the menus. Making sure that we’re on top of everything for the restaurant. We didn’t know that we are supposed to be advertising a farm to table restaurant because we’ve been doing it for 30 years. I’m at the bar if I need to be, I’m checking people in if that’s what I need to do, planning weddings, I do a little bit of everything.”
What is your passion for food and comfort?
“To support our locals as much as we can, which we have done for a long time. I’ve always believed that food is a part of life. I think that food should be excellent and that it should be the best tasting and beautifully presented. It doesn’t end with that, it ends with the commodity around the table, the sharing. What I try to deliver to people is to get that experience without any stress and all they have to do is just sit around and enjoy themselves and will take care of the rest.”
How do you promote your business, do you have seasonal specials?
“We do have specialties that run throughout the year. We have dinner credit in the restaurant, or package that includes a cooking class. You have different packages that we do throughout the year, we also have wine dinners that we do once a month on Sundays. So for that they basically arrive here around 12 o’clock and we have a little meet and greet. After the food get sent out around 1 o’clock, we have a presenter from France or America, where they are doing their wine pairing with our food, so a lot of people like to attend that. We also have local tastings.”
I’ve heard that you are a wine person, do you prefer a white to a red wine?
“I like both and I’m not saying that lightly. I love Reds especially from the Valley. I’m not big on cabs that hit you over the head I like them to be elegant. I think that a burgundy is very elegant and refined. Then again there’s nothing wrong with a white wine. I think my philosophy about wine is to think about the area from which it was from and then you can look at what meal to pair it with, I think that it’s regional and it should stay that way. We have about 7500 bottles in collection and about 1100 on our lists.”
Tell me a little bit about your chef.
“Steven Ferrell graduated from CIA of course and he trained under several other chefs before coming here. We also have two other chefs that work here that he worked under, who are fantastic chefs and he learned a lot so we promoted him in house which I have never done before. His food gets great reviews and I know that he will just progress, and get better and better. When being a chef here, the challenge is to move out in the middle of nowhere, and to find people who are just as passionate as you are.
Being a farm to table restaurant for so long, is that hard to maintain?
“ I think for the most part we have it all down, we’re still exploring new farms. We brought in a pig not too long ago and we’ve been raising it and feeding it all kinds of wonderful things, it’s a beautiful animal. We use everything, the whole animal, and we don’t let it any of it go to waste. We’ve raised pork and chickens, lambs, eggs, produce, and ducks. Everything you can get here, except for seafood which we source from as locally possible as we can. It’s what we’ve always done it just makes sense. I don’t see any reason to change it because it’s wonderful that way.”
So tell me a little bit about the weddings at L’Auberge.
“We do a lot of intimate lovers just for two, we have a package for them so they don’t have to do anything except get the license, get a dress, and a ring. We have the flowers for them, the champagne, the wedding cake, the lodging, and dinner it’s all inclusive. We also have the intimate family wedding which is up to 20 people. We have everyone for you if you need a photographer, a florist, makeup. and hair person anything you need me already have those vendors. It makes us a one stop shop and I’m the coordinator so I don’t have to pay for that. I can make their life so much easier.”
How do you set yourself apart from any other Inn and restaurant?
“Well first off we’re French, and we’ve been farm to table forever. I don’t mean to sound egotistical but I think that we have the best food in the valley and that sets us apart. The other thing that sets us apart is our beautiful restaurant and the incredible amount of renovations. Also, service. The people who work for me are here because it’s a career and they can really aid in your dining experience.”
What is your favorite food personally?
“Oh man I love food period! I would have to say lobster I think that is a perfect type of food, also tomatoes when they are in season. I would also have to say Foie Gras which is a delicacy, the liver of a goose.”