Inn at Essex/New England Culinary Institute
In 1968, Michel LeBorgne, now the vice-president of culinary affairs at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, became executive chef at Yale University. Perhaps that is why Yale is not known for student protests in the late 1960s. The students may have been politically discontented, but they were well-fed.
As the son of two great cooks, LeBorgne always wanted to become a chef. He began his apprenticeship at age 14 and worked in renowned European kitchens in Paris and Lausanne, Switzerland. He came to the United States in 1964 and worked in New York City and then as the chef at La Rotisserie Normande in New Haven before joining the Ivy League. When asked to describe his style of cooking, LeBorgne uses one word: simple. “Simplicity leaves no room for errors,” he says. As a corollary, he adds, “There is a fine line between success and disaster.” LeBorgne encourages his students to refine their techniques and to pursue the simplicity that has become his trademark.
The Institute’s Inn at Essex restaurant is “informal and cozy,” according to LeBorgne. It is at the Inn that students polish their skills for real customers.
When not creating in the kitchen, LeBorgne likes to cross-country ski and photograph the beautiful countryside of rural Vermont. He is a Maitre Cuisinier de France, member of the Academie Culinaire de France, and the Amis d’ Escoffier Society and Societe des Cuisiniers de Paris.