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Traditional but Modern

Lyon's Cuisine is Alive and Well

Between Paris and the Côte d’Azur, Lyon has always enjoyed gastronomy of world-renown. Some of its glorious restaurants did not survive, such as the illustrious La Mère Brazier, but under the auspices of Paul Bocuse, who will turn 81 on February 11, 2007, a new generation of chefs has marched into the kitchens, adding their own creativity to their roots.

Lyon’s cuisine is in great part built on the products from its surrounding area: prime Charolais beef, lambs and sheep from Loire and Auvergne, Bresse poultry, butter and milk from the mountains nearby.

Quality is as strong as ever, with a new creative attitude. The “Toques Blanches Lyonnaises” (an association of eager chefs) has recruited new members, totaling a hundred chefs, some of them already well-known, but many belonging to the new generation.

Olivier Paget of Le Fleurie appears to be the leader of this trend. Running his restaurant with his wife Jacinthe and a lean staff, he offers a wonderful menu every day with a bargain prix-fixe price of just 13,50 Euros and a magnificent Beaujolais wine list.

Joseph Viola, who won the distinctive prize of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” in 2004, has settled in a landmark Lyonnaise "bouchon" (local name for a typical bistro) called Daniel et Denise. He kept well-known dishes on his menu, such as the famous “Tablier de sapeur,” tripe dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, grilled and served with a mayonnaise sauce composed of blended hard-boiled egg yolks, capers and mixed herbs, with chopped hard-boiled egg white added.

Mathieu Viannay, another winner of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” award, is also typical representative of this new generation, whose philosophy and goal is to please diners at moderate prices. Viannay performs a sharp, creative style of cuisine for a considerate bill of fare at his establishment named after himself, Mathieu Viannay.

Another development of note in Lyon is the renovation of the wholesale food market, located in the city center. As well, Mayor Gérard Collomb plans to launch a federation of the gourmet cities of Europe.

(Updated: 09/08/10 NW)

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