Cooking in the Gastronomy Capital of France: A Conversation with Vy Spear
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where do you live? What made you decide to travel to France?
My name is Vy Spear and I reside in California in the United States. When I’m not traveling the world, I’m encouraging others to travel and change their life as the Public Relations Manager of Contiki Vacations.
Last year, I decided to make my mom’s dream come true and take her to France for a mother-daughter trip. We ended up taking a Uniworld River Cruise in the Burgundy and Provence region, and the cooking class was in Lyon.
What kind of cooking class did you take? How long was it, and where was it held?
Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France and home of the legendary Chef Paul Bocuse. I opted to participate in a cooking demonstration/class at the L’Institut du Paul Bocuse in Lyon. It was about a three-hour class.
Did the cooking class include any extra activities, such as a visit to a marketplace or a restaurant?
The class offered a first-hand look at how Bocuse Institute students are trained. The head chef leading our cooking class allowed us to get hands-on and we learned tricks and techniques from a culinary training program.
What did you learn? What were your most memorable experiences? What were the biggest disappointments?
I learned how to properly poach an egg for a traditional Lyonnaise salad, and we learned how to make a traditional fish dumpling stew that reflects the region and its focus on local ingredients.
It was such a memorable experience for a food lover because Chef Paul Bocuse is world renowned as one of the top chefs in the world. It was great to see where some of the world’s top chefs go and train. As for disappointments, I wish it were even longer and we got to explore the Institute a bit more beyond the class.
What do you wish you knew before you went?
I knew there was a strict timeframe, but I wish I had known that we wouldn’t be actively cooking as much as watching.
Would you recommend other women travellers take this cooking class? If so, please provide details of the school/class.
I highly recommend this class to women travellers who may be fans of Chef Bocuse, or who want to see how a traditional Lyonnaise meal is created. While I participated in a shorter class as part of my river cruise, the L’Institut du Paul Bocuse offers food enthusiast courses that can be 1-week, 3-week or 6-weeks long.