outshining-taste-of-edesiaWhen we ask the French which city is the center of French gastronomy, many of them would say it’s Paris. However, there is now a new group of individuals, French or otherwise, who argue that, Lyon, France’s second largest city, is outshining the capital. And they have good reasons to support this idea.
Some might think that Lyon’s cuisine is less glitzy and glamorous than Parisian gastronomy. I could not entirely agree, because to me personally, I believe that there are sophisticated chefs based in Lyon who place great emphasis on presentation and quality of ingredients. It’s a different style from the haute cuisine, but it does not mean that it’s inferior in any way.
One of the greatest chefs who is still a prominent figure in the Lyon gastronomic scene is the 88 year-old Paul Bocuse, who has long been associated with la nouvelle cuisine. La nouvelle cuisine is about making delicate dishes with the freshest ingredients available. Simplicity, seasoning with fresh herbs, regional local inspiration, cooking with modern techniques and equipment are all part of its characteristics.
A world away in Macau, we have Lebanese born Elie Khalife, Chef de Cuisine at MGM MACAU’s Parisian brasserie, Aux Beaux Arts, who graduated from the Institut Paul Bocuse. Bold and passionate about food, he is indeed known for being for the most innovative and creative chef around town. Lyon was Elie’s home at one point in his career, where he worked at Paul Bocuse’s brasserie, learning from Chef Bocuse himself, whose culinary heritage is one of a father-son tradition that dates back to the 17th century.
Bringing the tradition of Lyon to Macau, Chef Elie invites Chef Bertrand Esnault, a representative of the Embassy of France and the world-renowned Institut Paul Bocuse at the International Culinary Demonstration “Festival of French Gastronomy,” to deliver an experience of a lifetime to discerning gourmets with the special “Le Vrai Lyon” menu at Aux Beaux Arts.
“It’s a big honor to be working with someone who had taught me so much when I went to culinary school. It brings back wonderful memories and it is an incredible experience for my team also. “Le Vrai Lyon” menu is all about the traditional dishes of Lyon, but we try to make them cool and sophisticated with modern presentation,” Chef Elie says.
In my opinion, the gâteau de foie de volaille et son coulis, baked chicken liver custard, is the highlight on the menu. Soft and fluffy, the creamy wonder has an intense flavor of chicken. In French, it is described as “un soufflé salé au foie de poulet,” a savory soufflé of chicken liver. Usually, in the households of Lyon, it can be served as an appetizer or a main course.
“It is interesting that the Lyonnaise cuisine is made famous with the history of les mères lyonnaises, women who were house cooks for wealthy families. After the French revolution, these women set up their own businesses serving homemade dishes mixed with traditional cuisine. Many became famous with their dishes and methods of cooking although they came from rural areas with almost no education. The secret is refined simplicity, and those women knew how to get it right. But nowadays, men like Elie and I are back in the scene cooking traditional Lyonnaise cuisine,” Chef Bertrand explains with a smile.
Seriously speaking, I love Paris, but with places like L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges with three Michelin stars, which is worshipped by many as the ultimate restaurant serving Gallic cuisine, and La Mere Brazier, Lyon is indeed a city with a great gastronomic reputation, and it is a privilege that we can get a taste of it in Macau without flying all the way to France.

Categories Taste of Edesia