Lyon’s reputation for fine food dates back to antiquity, when the then city of Lugdunum had a monopoly on wine and already boasted a famous chef called Septimanus!
Lyon cuisine owes much to the women known as the Mères Lyonnaises. Originally cooks for influential bourgeois families, they set up in business in their own right in the early 20th century. They provided an opportunity for everyone to discover simple, subtle cooking such as poularde en vessie (chicken cooked in a pig’s bladder) or cardoons with bone marrow. Mère Brazier has been welcoming gourmet diners since 1921. Fans, such as General de Gaulle or former mayor Edouard Herriot, brought her cooking to public attention. The world-renowned Lyon chef Paul Bocuse began his career in her kitchen.
Some other famous mères: Mère Guy, Mère Blanc, Mère Fillioux, Mère Poupon, Mère Léa and La Grande Marcelle.
“Ever since Roman times, eating has always been considered an essential part of life in Lyon! In the early 20th century, the Mères Lyonnaises brought us genuine expertise: excellent home cooking. One of these cooks, Mère Brazier, achieved legendary status when, in 1933, she became the first woman to be awarded three Michelin stars in two different establishments. And this gastronomic tradition lives on, thanks largely to Paul Bocuse and the disciples he trained throughout his career. Paul Bocuse also represents a milestone in French gastronomy, as it was through him that chefs achieved a status, and even great pride” (Jean-François Mesplède, Food journalist).
Culture and leisure pass
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