Lyon’s inhabitants and, let’s be honest, the whole region know what they’re talking about when it comes to gastronomy or even just simply to cooking.
It has become common practice to consider Lyon as the capital of gastronomy and for other cities to spend their time trying to steal the title.
However, the title is not measured by the number of Michelin stars or of gastronomic restaurants. There are, of course, a great deal of both throughout the Rhône-Alpes, but if Lyon is not yet ready to cede its position, it is also because the city not only offers a number of top restaurants but also the chance to eat well pretty much everywhere, and especially in the famous “bouchons”, for reasonable prices.
Which is exactly what people who live in the city are looking for and which is a bonus for visitors too. And last but not least, because the region is a real garden growing some of the finest products, the most succulent fruits, the best meat, the most delicious cheeses.
Paul Bocuse - Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or, near Lyon
The top chef of top chefs is Lyon-born: Paul Bocuse, with three Michelin stars to his name for more than 30 years, who continues to mobilise his troops and carries high the flame of French and regional cooking. The bi-annual culilnary contest organised by the SIRHA organisation, bears the name Bocuse d’Or.
He is a symbolic personality who attracts customers from the world over to his restaurant, the Auberge de Collonges in Mont d’Or. Sought-after specialities include his truffle soup, Bresse chicken cooked in a bladder and the dessert petits fours that are made by his son-in-law, the chocolate maker Bernachon.
Since the end of 2006, the Halles de Lyon, which is where the top suppliers of the finest products come to sell their goods, have been known as “Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse”.
But Paul Bocuse, the charismatic chef, is also someone who has carefully planned his succession. Under the leadership of Jean Fleury, there are Bocuse brasseries in the four main districts of the city. They serve excellent food for a fully-inclusive bill of between 20 and 30 eruos per head. For the time being, despite a number of projects that are in hand, you can only eat “Bocuse” in Lyon, and only in Lyon.
Anne Sophie Pic
Anne Sophie Pic, the only female chef to be awarded 3 Michelin stars, is one of the up-and-coming young professionals that the whole chef community is keeping a watchful eye on.
Hôtel-restaurant Pic with Anne Sophie Pic in Valence
Her motto “To cook for those you love, is the most beautiful display of true love” indicates her culinary trend. Heir to the great Jacques Pic and several generations of chefs before that, she’s managed to ensure that her culinary skills can also be enjoyed at her bistro, “The 7”, which she named after the famous main road which heads off to the South of France.
Georges Blanc, another 3 Michelin-starred chef, is the champion of Bresse chickens… in his beautiful property in Vonnas where he’s recently added the Spa Mosaïc, one of the finest of its kind. Set around the main square in Vonnas is a bistro, where diners can eat frogs and chicken cooked in cream like his grandmother Elisa cooked, a shop, a bakery and other initiatives that bear the Georges Blanc signature.
Then there’s Michel Troisgros, who inherited the Buffet de la Gare de Roanne where his grandfather came to prominence and which was taken to a higher level again by his uncle and father, Jean and Pierre. He has subsequently transformed it into an establishment that is determinedly modern, serving a Japanese-influenced menu with a hint of Italian cuisine using regional produce.
Michel Troisgros : Hotel Restaurant Troisgros
The bistro “Le Central” is just next door, giving customers the chance to taste the chef’s style of cooking at a lower price. La Maison Troisgros was voted the Best Restaurant in the World by the American restaurant guide Zagat Survey.
Known for both his distinctive black hat and his 3 Michelin stars, Savoie-based chef Marc Veyrat’s reputation has been recognised for some time far beyond national borders.
Known to be mad about flavours, one aspect of his culinary style features mountain herbs that are picked in the Aravis village of Manigod, where Veyrat was born.
His daughter Carine has opened a small restaurant in the Veyrat family’s former home in Annecy, known as “La Reine des Prés”. A great success.
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