McBocuse, not goods. Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, cannot digest the transformation of a restaurant belonging to the Bocuse group into the 32nd Lyonnais sign of McDonald’s, the fast food giant.
The scandal, it must be said, has an entirely ideological flavor. The fact is that Paul Bocuse in France and especially in Lyon is a legend. Died less than four years ago, he was the most important chef of the twentieth century: he was responsible for the invention of Nouvelle Cuisine, that revolution in food habits that we still benefit from today, because he imposed the lightening of the menu, the attention to quality and freshness of the ingredient, the shortening of cooking. A cuisine of the market, of the season, of health, of flavor. To understand the importance of Bocuse in French popular culture, suffice it to say that he was the first chef to end up “embalmed” in the Musée Grévin, the French version of waxes. And that the character of Auguste Gusteau, the chef of Ratatouille, is clearly inspired by him.
But Bocuse was also a businessman. And in the last years of his career he had decided to build on his fame by opening numerous restaurants in Lyon and its surroundings, none of which could be remotely approached to the Auberge du Pont de Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, the family restaurant that Paul led to three Michelin stars between the 1950s and 1960s. Some of the Bocuse designer labels (in memory) are honest brasseries. And the one in particular on which the big yellow M has set its eyes, in the Vaise district, belongs to the OuestExpress chain, which offers simple and pop dishes in its premises, among which – ironically – burgers with prices ranging from from 4.90 to 10 euros (and with 2.90 more you also get frites, or chips).
It must be said that the appearance of the Bocusian meatball is much more attractive than that of the American giant. But in short, it is not as if a gourmet restaurant with French tablecloths ended up in the clutches of the saturated fat multinational. We were already in the junk food area or almost. However, this circumstance does not lessen the indignation of the protesters, who look more like No McDonald’s than the groupie of the chef of the century. The collective NAMVI (acronym of Non Au Mcdo Vaise Industrie) has launched a petition to ask the municipality of Lyon to revoke the authorization for the works, obtaining 13 thousand signatures (but it must be said that a click on change.org does not deny anyone) . Since the Bocuse Group does not seem interested in remaining in the 9th arrondissement, someone proposes to transform the space into a market for Lyon artisans and farmers. Utopias. “McDonald’s is in good standing. After all, we have no means to prevent him from opening in Vaise, ”one of the leaders of the protest said disconsolately to Le Figaro. For its part, the ecological administration is Pilates. “McDonald’s does not represent our model of nutrition in any way, but it is a private negotiation, we cannot do anything”. With all due respect to Bocuse.