I just got back from 24 hours of “Paulomania” in Lyon. “Paul” being Paul Bocuse, one of the most influential chefs of modern French cuisine. I went to the graduation ceremony for his cooking school that I attended back in May-June; it was for the students graduating with Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. I probably wouldn’t have gone (I’m a little shy of events like that), but another student from my program was coming down from Switzerland, and she stopped here on the way…so it seemed like the thing to do. And I had a wonderful time.

E. stayed the night at our home before we headed down to Lyon, so we had time to cook together. We prepared a fall menu, with oven-roasted chestnuts, walnut pesto pasta with nuts from a friend’s tree, pumpkin gratin, roasted guinea fowl, and pumpkin soufflé.

The following day we went to Lyon early to spend the afternoon moseying around the city before the ceremony began, so we had a lovely lunch together at a perfect French restaurant called Théodore, and then strolled around looking at cooking shops and cookbooks in bookstores…including books by Paul Bocuse, the hero of our little story.

Here’s a little Paul Paraphernalia, gathered from his restaurant when our class got to visit back in June.

With Bill Clinton…
Yes, that is a re-make of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, with Bocuse as Christ.
So apparently a lot of artists like to render his likeness.

The graduation ceremony was great…and very very different than American versions…my favorite part was that they played dance music while announcing the graduates, and the white-haired monsieur handing out the diplomas would occasionally bust a move.

Mr. Bocuse was present, and there was a moving moment where everyone stood to give him an ovation.

We got to see another one of our classmates and the chefs who taught us during our course. And we got to partake of the fabulously impressive spread of hors-d’oeuvres prepared by the students and staff of the school. My pictures really don’t give justice to the detail and intricacy of these masterpieces—I really can’t imagine the organization involved to produce those thousands upon thousands of mini works of art.

The following morning E. and I went out to coffee, and I kid you not, who should be sitting there in the same café, enjoying his morning coffee and newspaper, was Paul Bocuse himself. A totally surreal moment.
Later we went to the gastronomic indoor market named after Bocuse…Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, just to round out our Bocuse weekend experience. It’s a fabulous place, full of the finest of French cheeses, pastries, and other artisinal foodie wonders. 

And then, on my way home to St. Albain on the train, we passed by his legendary restaurant, where you can get a bowl of his famous soup for a mere $111.00.

Meeting Bocuse at his restaurant, at the end of my course at the Institute Paul Bocuse.

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