Auberge de Seattle; French Country Inn

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We thought you may like to read about a recent article published by "Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary" on our French Specialty Cooking School.

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WHO I AM CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM WHERE WE COME FROM, by Malcolom Gladwell
I come from a French heritage.  My mother Nicole was French and my father (Norman Gates) spent 17 years living with the French in France and in French Morocco.  He was much involved with the wine industry, in France and in United States, always curious about wine and wanting to share his knowledge.  In many ways, culturally, I am more French than American.  I lived in the Loire Valley, during five years as a teenager and my first years were spent in French Morocco, Casablanca.  My French heritage draws not only from the Alsace area of France where my Mother's family came from, but also from living in French Morocco and in the Loire Valley of France.  As I grew up, I was surrounded by excellent cooks who passed down to me the love of traditional French Classic cuisine.  I am bilingual.  I feel that I have a good understanding of the people, their way of life and I am anxious to share this "joie de vivre" with you in my cookbook. I truly enjoy celebrating my French heritage, and introducing you to all that I love and all that I hold dear about France in all her glory is my raison d'etre!  Our Auberge de Seattle Cookbook is filled with fifty recipes that were family favorites.  We started our French Specialty Cooking School in 2005 and in 2013 we were fortunate to receive an award from Bed and Breakfast that named us as one of the top 10 Bed and Breakfast Culinary School in the world.
 
We now feel that our next step is to share in the wealth of French classical cooking classes with like minded high-end Bed and Breakfasts Inns.  This is an exclusive offer to connect with qualified hospitality properties and license them with the tools to implement a French specialty cooking school that will create a secondary income stream to supplement their existing business. Where by The French International Culinary Experience will consult and teach Licensee/Owners and provide them with services offering the "know how" of creating a specialty cooking school that will provide traditional French Classical cuisine cooking classes.
 
Written by:  Nancy Gates-Douglas; Proprietress
L'Auberge Edge of Seattle; French Country Inn and French Specialty Cooking School.


Voted Best Bed and Breakfast Inn,
in Seattle 2006 and 2007!!
Voted Best Getaway Hotel in Seattle for 2006 on CitySearch!
CitySearch Editorial Winner of Best Romantic Hotel 2006 for Seattle!

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Reprinted from Seattle Weekly 
Article of Jan. 23-29, 2008
 
CLASS
 "OOH-LA-LA!"
French cooking as couples therapy
 
Last year, my boyfriend bought me a six-hour cooking class at L'Auberge Edge of Seattle B&B in Woodinville, partly as a Christmas gift, partly as an apology for past indiscretions.  Let's just say he was forgiven.  This truly lovely class, put together by the inn's proprietress, Nancy Douglas, started us off with a packet of cooking information and a glass of wine as we walked in the door.  Next, we introduced ourselves to the other couples (ranging from siblings to friends to some married 25 years) before embarking on putting together a surprisingly gourmet French meal.  I didn't think we, an amateur group, had it in us, but under the tutelage of the chef (this year, it's Tom Black), our class pulled off an amazing dinner, which we then sat down to enjoy (with wine, naturally) at the end of the evening.  (Douglas also offers a great package in which you can stay the night at the B&B after the dinner.)  This class taught me that cooking is an amazing couples activity, and that I actually have the potential to make haricots verts, potatoes Lyonnaise, and chocolate mousse!  All I need is six hours and an overly obliging boyfriend.  L'Auberge Edge of Seattle, 16400 216th. Ave. N.E., Woodinville, 425-844-4102, www.edgeof-seattle-cooking.com  $198 a couple. 3-9 p.m.
ALLISON HORD

Bring on the joie de vivre and come to France with us!
Soak in the foods and wines of the French countryside.

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The Woodinville Weekly
The Northlake News and The Valley View

Edition Date: January 22, 2007

Inn at the ‘edge of Seattle’ is well-kept secret

 

by Deborah Stone
Staff Writer

Staff photo/Ian Gleadle
Three years ago, Nancy Douglas officially opened L’Auberge Edge of Seattle Inn to combine her passion for gourmet cooking and her love for making people happy.

After living in this community for over 20 years and reporting about it for more than a decade, you’d think I’d know most everything that went on here. At least I thought I did.

Imagine my surprise then to discover that I have been living around the corner from a French country inn without any knowledge of its existence. I recently just discovered it by chance when I was doing some research on cooking classes and up it popped on the Internet.

When I examined the location of the establishment, I suddenly realized that it was practically in my backyard! I had walked by the long gravel driveway hundreds of times and I admit I used to be curious about the grand house that peeked out from within the secluded woods. But as there was no signage, I never imagined that it was anything more than a beautiful estate, built for some fortunate person.

That person, I learned, is Nancy Douglas, mother of two, ex-flight attendant and long-time entrepreneur. Douglas initially had the one-level house on five acres built to better accommodate her handicapped son, who was unable to use stairs.

Three years ago, she officially opened L’Auberge Edge of Seattle Inn to combine her passion for gourmet cooking and her love for making people happy.

“I am a pleaser and a giving person by nature,” Douglas explains, “and it really tickles me to make people happy. I also come from a long line of excellent cooks and was raised in a family that entertained a lot, so being in the hospitality business is a perfect fit for me.”

The independent-minded Woodinville woman had a colorful upbringing, with a childhood spent living in Morocco and France. Her mother, a French woman from Alsace, met her father, an American serviceman from a small California gold mining town, shortly after the war, in Morocco.

Douglas lived in Morocco her first seven years and learned to speak French and Arabic long before she ever spoke English.

The family moved to California for a period of time, but then they went abroad again to live in France. It is there, in the land of fine cuisine, where Douglas learned to cook.

“My grandmother was the real gourmet cook,” she says. “She taught me everything about French cooking and I loved it. We used to have big parties and we would cook for everyone and it was so much fun. Cooking became a kind of therapy for me and I got consumed with it. While my grandmother was into cooking, my grandfather was really into wine. He was an expert at pairing food and wine. He went on to train my father in the fine art of wine and then years later, my father went on to form the Knights of the Vine in California.”

Douglas spent her adult years, first as a flight attendant, where she traveled the world, and then later, as the owner of a promotional business for flight attendants. She created the business to help give flight attendants additional work opportunities outside of their flying time.

Fortune 500 companies would call her to hire the flight attendants for trade shows and large-scale events. It was a successful business that Douglas managed for almost 25 years. The idea to open an inn, however, came much later on, and she admits that it was a gradual decision that occurred naturally.

“I had this one bedroom apartment adjoining the house and my friends would always tell me that I should rent it out,” explains Douglas. “It basically started with that suggestion and then I slowly began fixing up the other rooms in the house, with the aim of becoming a B&B. Meanwhile, my parents kept telling me that I should hold cooking classes because I have the ideal gourmet kitchen to stage them in. Everything then fell into place.”

Today, L’Auberge Edge of Seattle Inn is a three unit (four bedrooms) establishment that can accommodate a total of 10 people per night. The inn is designed and decorated in the French provincial style with a Mediterranean flair, a remnant from the years Douglas spent in Morocco. Grand arches, stone walls, handsome woodwork and terra cotta touches fill the place with warmth and give visitors the sense that they have entered into another world, a world of elegance and refinement.

Each room is beautifully furnished and accessorized with amenities ranging from hydro massage-soaking tubs to radiant heated floors. In addition to the totally self-contained one-bedroom apartment (includes fully equipped kitchen), there is a honeymoon suite with a fireplace, a studio suite and a standard one bedroom.

Guests receive a self-catered breakfast in the morning and upon request, Douglas will prepare other meals. Each Thursday afternoon, she offers high tea in the dining room, which includes delicious pastries and finger sandwiches, along with an assortment of teas, all served on sterling silver settings, fine china and hand-embroidered linen.

The tea service is complimentary to guests staying at the inn, however, it is also open by reservation to the public, for a fee.

“I’ve had various women’s groups in the community book tea service because it’s a great way to spend an afternoon together,” comments Douglas.

Another unique aspect of the inn is its cooking classes. Twice a month, top-of-the-line area chefs come to give hands-on classes in traditional and regional French cooking. Intensive culinary weekend sessions are also held on occasion.

Douglas says, “I truly believe that cooking is an art, part preparation and part presentation, both which are equally important. It’s much easier to cook if you have seen the dish prepared in front of you.” She continues to explain that food can be an adventure in gastronomic education.

“As you learn, your taste buds acquire an appreciation for new culinary delights and seek other taste adventures. Our cooking classes are here to teach and to stimulate you and our chefs are here to inspire you with their zest for cooking, tasting, testing, and mixing and matching of food and wine.”

The sessions are open to the public and can also be booked by groups, looking for team-building experiences.

In addition to cooking classes, the inn offers its guests accessibility to a variety of relaxation and stress reduction therapies, including massage, facials and Reiki treatments. Douglas feels that a true getaway is not complete without such services, which in her opinion help to replenish the mind, body and spirit.

Recently, she also added wedding planning and special event catering, to the menu of special services available at the inn.

She says, “I’ve just had the grounds landscaped and now there’s a wonderful area specifically designed for outdoor weddings and receptions. I can accommodate parties of up to 250 people outside and then there’s the whole dining/living room space indoors. It’s a very romantic setting and with the honeymoon suite on site, it makes for a complete package.”

Business at L’Auberge has been steadily growing and according to Douglas, the inn is usually booked from April through Labor Day, with a week being the average length of stay during the summer months.

Guests have come from all over the world, and more recently, locals have begun discovering the place. The only advertising she does is via the Internet.

“People seem to find me this way and I keep adding and updating my Web page to keep things current,” comments Douglas. “It’s working pretty well so far, so I can’t complain. What makes me very happy, though, is the positive response I get from my guests. They tell me that it’s warm and welcoming here, as well as quiet and tranquil. They are able to regain peace of mind when they stay here because it’s away from the outside interferences of daily life. And when my guests are happy, I’m happy.”

Douglas is particularly thrilled with the ratings her inn recently received from City Search. L’Auberge was given the Best B&B in Seattle award, along with the Best Getaway B&B in Seattle and the Best Romantic B&B in Seattle, for 2006.

“That’s exciting,” she adds, “because it tells me I’m doing something right!”

 



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