Simple, familial cuisine and local specialities are the ingredients which have made the 'mères Lyonnaises' ('mothers of Lyon') famous.
Originally, these women were cooks for Lyon's large middle-class families. It was at the end of the 19th century that some of them decided to start their own restaurants which became the best establishments in the city. They were quickly nicknamed the 'mothers' and their establishments hosted the Compagnons du Tour de France Journeymen (a French organisation of craftsmen and artisans dating from the Middle Ages which is still active today) whom they gave the opportunity of discovering fine cuisine: 'poulard en vessie' (fatted chicken in a bladder), 'cardons à la moelle' (cardoons cooked in marrow), 'poularde demi-deuil de la mère Brazier' (a fatted Bresse chicken flavoured with slivers of truffles slid under the skin), among other things.
Although this tradition is gradually fading, the names of the 'mothers' (Blanc, Fillioux, Poupon, etc.) are still alive in the memories of the locals, and the big chefs, like Bocuse, are carrying on the recipes and the secrets that these mothers taught them over their stoves (as a young baker's boy, Paul Bocuse worked for 'mother' Brazier).