I am Tulsa - Libby Auld
Owner of Eloté Café and Catering and member of Tulsa's Young Professionals.
Whether in her home kitchen or at the organic Mexican eatery she founded just over a year ago, Eloté Café and Catering, Libby Auld is exercising her creativity, passions and flair for the festive.
Probably unknowingly, Auld shares some of the same qualities as the ambiance of her downtown restaurant. Both Eloté and Auld are cheery, bright, eclectic and committed to excellence.
Born and bred in Tulsa, Auld graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1999 and earned a degree from Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee culinary school. But her interest in the kitchen did not begin in her collegiate years. Ever since working at a downtown Mexican restaurant in high school, Auld has combined her passions for cooking, urban life and working within the dynamics of a restaurant kitchen staff.
In 2002, Auld further developed her culinary skill while interning at the famed Topolobampo and Frontera Grill restaurants in Chicago. Equipped with all the necessary tools (and appliances) for success, Auld took the great leap of starting a small business in May 2008 with the opening of Eloté.
“The best metaphor I’ve heard for working in a restaurant is that a kitchen is a pirate ship,” Auld says. “The chef is the captain. There’s a first mate, drinking, heat, knives and a great camaraderie.”
That staff camaraderie is evident in any visit to the restaurant, whether during a short lunch break or for a leisurely meal. But then again, it’s not hard to get along with Auld. Her laid-back nature immediately makes one comfortable in her presence, even as her focus shifts a mile a minute from the restaurant to her everyday to-do’s to the well being of her family (she is the mother of a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter).
It’s obvious that Auld has a full plate, both literally and figuratively. From answering customer service and inquiry e-mails to overseeing sales and catering jobs, she plays a direct, daily role in every aspect of the restaurant. And why wouldn’t she? This East Fifth Street and South Boston Avenue lunch and dinner joint combines two of Auld’s most fervent passions: organic, eco-friendly dining and the reinvention of downtown Tulsa.
“I’m really glad to be here,” she says. “Tulsa, in my opinion, is the best place to live.”
At Eloté, Auld walks her talk of the importance of “going green” by ensuring the freshest ingredients possible and engaging in green practices such as recycling fryer oil to make clean-burning bio-diesel fuel and composting all leftover produce, which is sent to Newsome Community Farms and used as a tool to educate children in the farms’ north Tulsa elementary school gardens.
Regarding the resurgence of Tulsa’s downtown, Auld says new businesses have “to be unique and one-of-a-kind” in order to attract people from the areas of the city where they live, work or which they simply feel are more convenient or familiar. Other members of Tulsa’s Young Professionals (TYPros) also share her belief, a common area of interest within the group.
Aside from the networking opportunities provided by TYPros, Auld benefits from being a part of the change-agent think tank “dedicated and motivated to see something actually happen,” she says.
Auld’s favorite one-of-a-kind downtown haunts include the Soundpony and Joe Momma’s Pizza. And when not there, she can be found working in her vegetable garden or playing with her children at one of Tulsa’s many sprinkler parks.
And despite Auld’s confessed love of Tulsa and all it has to offer, family always comes first for this mom.
“I see myself here, but something tells me I’ll follow my kids wherever they go,” she says.
Auld describes herself as “action-based, entrepreneurial and a go-getter,” which are fitting descriptors. So with all Auld has contributed to the Tulsa community, let’s hope that when grown, her children don’t go too far.
I am dedicated to Tulsa because I love the potential that Tulsa holds. I like being a part of the shaping process.
I am a member of Tulsa’s Young Professionals because it is a great way to stay connected with other energetic people who love Tulsa. I like the events because, as a restaurant owner, I spend a lot of time in the restaurant with other restaurant people. I like to get the perspective from other TYPros because of all the different business backgrounds.
I am passionate about sustainability and how it pertains to our local economy as well as our environment (I serve on the board of Sustainable Tulsa).
I am looking forward to downtown living.
I am proud that Eloté is proof that healthy and environmentally friendly businesses can be affordable and profitable.
I am an asset to Tulsa because I care about the future of Tulsa.