On International Women's Day we Celebrate Eugénie Brazier

08 March, 2021

Photo: Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon 

A Modest Woman

As her popularity surged, Brazier's restaurant attracted celebrities and notables like Marlene Dietrich and Charles de Gaulle, yet modest Brazier never sought the limelight. She famously even turned down a French legion of honour claiming that the medal "should be given out for doing more important things than cooking well and doing the job as you're supposed to."

Fellow legendary Lyon chef Paul Bocuse, one of France's best-known chefs, was also one of her students. He described her as a "tough and modest woman who knew instinctively how to select the best of us".

Eugénie Brazier's Legacy

Brazier earned three stars at each of her two restaurants, one in Lyon and the other in a hunting camp in the Alpine foothills at Col de la Luere in 1933 when she was just 38 years old, and had been working in professional kitchens for just 15 years.

The restaurants retained their six Michelin stars for two decades, an achievement unmatched until Alain Ducasse was awarded six stars with the publication of the 1998 Michelin Guide France, an incredible sixty-four years later.

Brazier's original restaurant in Lyon, run by her family for many years after her death on 2 March 1977 aged 81, was bought by the Michelin-starred chef Mathieu Viannay in 2007, who retained her classics on the menu.

Brazier's first and only cookbook, La Mere Brazier: The Mother of Modern French Cooking, was published posthumously in 1977 with 300 classic regional French recipes from Lyon.

In 2007, thirty years after Brazier's death, her granddaughter Jacotte founded l'association des Amis d'Eugénie Brazier (the Association of Friends of Eugenie Brazier) to promote the careers of young women apprentices, guide and support them in 'the very masculine world of cooking' (univers très masculin de la cuisin) and impart Brazier's professional values. 

 

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