Brett Martin, food critic of GQ, and his friend chef Riad Nasr take a pilgrimage to Lyon, the 3rd largest city in France and the jewel of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Beguiled by the sunny Beaux-Arts architecture and bucolic proximity, the two explorers don't lose focus of their main quest: the cuisine of Lyon.
While Martin is in search of the meaning of nouvelle cuisine, he admits that "Lyon is the city to go eat in right now because it's been the city to go eat in for at least 100 years." Lyon is the home of andouille sausage, boudin noir (blood sausage), tripe, and quenelles (flour and cream dumplings); the birthplace of bouchons (a mix of a cafe, bistro, and restaurant); the hub of delicious wines (Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône are bottled nearby); and the capital of a lush agricultural region, all of which combined to create a culinary landscape that some say rivals Paris.
While Martin pays respect to the ingredients of Lyon, his purpose was to pay homage to the man who raised it to haute cuisine: Paul Bocuse.
Bocuse and Nouvelle Cuisine
Martin and Nasr set their sights on L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, fondly referred to as just "Bocuse," the flagship restaurant of the famed chef. Bocuse was the maestro of nouvelle cuisine, the approach to French cooking designed to lighten the classics and bring them into the present. Martin tours many Lyonnais establishments, but remarks that for the rest of his days he'd crave the Soupe aux Truffes Noires V.G.E at Bocuse's, which costs $110 a bowl.