The Mères Lyonnaises

The influence of the ‘Mères’ (women chefs nicknamed ‘Mothers’) on the history of gastronomy in Lyon was such that their legacy still lives on in our restaurants today. Many of these legendary cooks, from whom our chefs still find inspiration, hailed from the countryside and came to work for wealthy families in Lyon, before striking out on their own. Their rich and hearty cuisine, combining home-grown influences with bourgeois recipes, was enjoyed by workers and silk merchants before becoming popular among the gentry, industrialists and politicians.

Some established a reputation as true culinary geniuses, such as Mère Fillioux and Mère Brazier, both of whom were awarded three Michelin stars. Not far from Lyon, Mère Bourgeois (in Priay) and the Mères Blanc (in Vonnas) also boast a constellation of stars. These strong women, renowned for their corpulence and fiery temperament typify an era that had its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. Later, other Mères would leave their mark on Lyonnais cuisine including Mère Léa (Léa Bidaut at La Voûte), Madame Andrée (Andrée Goiran, at le Molière and la Sauvagie) and Paulette Castaing (Le Beau Rivage in Condrieu).

Today, three female chefs are keeping the flame alive at the Toques Blanches Lyonnaises: Brigitte Josserand (Le Café du Jura), Florence Périer (Le Café du Peintre) and Catherine Roux (Au Comptoir d’Alice). A warm welcome and luxuriant cuisine await their guests.