Executive Spotlight March 2020
Robert Barral, a native of the Provence area, attended culinary school in Montpellier and hotel school at Lesdiguieres in Grenoble, France. He trained at the Hotel Alban Ambassador in Basel, Switzerland; the four-star Chateau de Divonne in Divonne-les-Bains, France; and the Terminus Saint Lazare in Paris.
In 1976, Chef Robert joined the Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal and two years later transferred to Edmonton (Alberta) to open a new Four Seasons Hotel. In 1980, he moved to the Ritz Carlton Hotel (a Four Seasons Hotel) in Chicago where he stayed for five years as Executive Sous Chef before transferring to the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston in 1985, which he opened as Executive Chef.
In 1987 Chef Robert joined the faculty at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont and was promoted to Executive Chef in 1989, before the opening of the new campus in Essex Junction. From April 1993 to April 1995, Chef Robert was Corporate Executive Chef for New England Culinary Institute.
In 1995 he joined "Celebrity Cruise Line" as Corporate Executive Chef and worked on the Horizon, Zenith, and Meridien before opening the 74,000 ton "M/V Century" in December of 1995.
After almost two years of cruising around the world, Chef Robert returned to New England Culinary Institute as "Chef of Special Events." He quickly became the executive chef in charge of the food operations in Chittenden County, which includes the Inn at Essex and NECI Commons in downtown Burlington where he remained until he opened Café Provence in Brandon 15 years ago.
Café Provence is a casual place where good food and pleasant service go together and attract dinners from all around the Brandon area and beyond. Chef Robert’s creativity with food and love to teach is appreciated not only by many students but as well by the dinners who share his passion.