Alain Borel was born in 1953, in Avignon, France and as a child, began peeling vegetables in his grandfather’s 3-star hotel kitchen, the Hotel du Louvre, just blocks from the Pope Palace in Avignon. At 14 he and his family immigrated to Montreal, Canada where his father opened L’Auberge Provençale in Rougemont, outside of Montreal, and Alain worked as a cook under his father. Montreal was too cold for a family from the south of France, so they moved to Key West, Florida and opened Chez Emile.
During his teen years, he traveled throughout the US, working a year at Le Provençale in Seattle, Washington, and at his uncle’s restaurant, Chez Henri, in Sugarbush, Vermont. At 22, he headed back to Key West and bought his father’s restaurant, Chez Emile, and opened the Sandwich Deck as well.
After 5 years of success and wanting to open an inn, in 1980, at the age of 27, he and his wife Celeste moved to the Virginia Hunt Country. Only a chef with a pilot’s license could spot the site for a French country inn from a small plane, flying above the rolling hills of Virginia. They opened L’Auberge Provençale in White Post, Virginia in the summer of 1981, and it has been a haven for Washingtonians who make the short trip to the Shenandoah Valley.
In 1992, Great Chefs Television taped Chef Borel preparing a Pheasant Breast with Rosemary and Vanilla for their Great Chefs of the East series (episode # 6).