The eponymous restaurant situated in the Vonnas village, not too far from Lyon and from the Burgundy region in the middle of the Bresse countryside, has a history that spans before the French revolution. For many generations the Blanc family has been farming in the region. 1872 was the year when the family settled down in Vonnas, and the inn established then has grown to big business over the years.
The communications were limited to say the least in the late nineteenth century, but the word managed to spread around and the small inn became more and more famous. Adolph Blanc married Elisa Gervais and they took over in 1902. Elisa was working in the kitchen and eventually became a famous chef. The small auberge in Vonnas got help from the railroad which was built not far from the restaurant and from the invention cars which made it possible for people to visit Vonnas from longer distances. The oldest son of the family, Jean Blanc, took over in 1934 and his wife, Paulette, became the new cook. Their son, Georges Blanc, was born in January 1943 and he took over the kitchen from his mother in 1968. It was three generations of female chefs before Georges took over. The Blanc family has been innkeepers since 1872 and in the 1970’s Georges turned the property into a prestigious Relais & Châteaux. All the changes, a strong focus on quality and a more clear direction at gourmet lovers and luxury, awarded Georges Blanc as a top destination.
Vonnas is a small village not far from the village Bresse. The region is famous for its poultry or more specifically the chicken. The “Poulet Bresse” is by many considered the best chicken in the world and is of course the main ingredient on the signature plate of Georges Blanc as well. It almost feels like the whole village of Vonnas belongs to Chef Patron Georges Blanc when you enter it, with shops and restaurants in a total of more than 20 buildings owned by the cook and his family. Georges Blanc has become an institution relying a lot on traditions and that is not always a good thing. It is important for a restaurant to coexist in the time we are living. Not necessarily follow any trends, but at least offer a service that is up-to-date and a cuisine that not solely, or close to it, is relying on old reputation. The Bresse chicken is still delicious, but the cuisine should be upgraded to be recognised and compared with all the world’s other great top restaurants. Especially since the Blanc family has an amazing wine knowledge and one of the finest wine cellars in the world with around 135,000 bottles from some 3,000 appellations.
Chef Patron Georges Blanc runs his kitchen today with his son Frédéric as the Executive Chef and together with the additional Executive Chef Frédéric Desmurs as well. There is a lot of skill in the kitchen and dining room, so it should be no problem to make the cuisine and overall experience of Georges Blanc an amazing one if there is a will to do so.
Written by Andy