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A foodie’s heaven

epicure 31 May 2013

The best time to visit Lyon is in end January, when restaurants are all set to impress the hundreds of chefs attending the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition held in the city, says Christophe Megel.

I first visited Lyon, a city located in eastern France’s Rhône-Alpes region, when I was six years old while on holiday with my parents. My father, who was a charcutier, introduced me to the city’s gourmet scene, which left a deep impression on me. Since then, I have been visiting the city to judge at the Bocuse d’Or, a biennial culinary competition.
The essence of Lyon’s food culture is anchored on heritage and tradition, so it’s hard for a restaurant serving avant-garde French food to do well. The bistros and bouchons (eateries serving mainly meaty dishes) do not evolve: they stick to the same menus for years, retaining Lyonnais specialities like pâte en croûte, and they don’t tweak or change their interiors. The ambience is cosy, and the service is warm, making you feel right at home. When you order a baba au rhum in a bouchon, don’t be surprised if the staff brings you a bottle of rum for you to add your desired quantity to your dessert. You leave the restaurant knowing the manager and the chef’s name. In Paris, you can sit in a restaurant for a long time and none of the waiters will talk to you.

Excerpt from June'13 issue of epicure

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