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George Blanc Restaurant Vonnas France
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Georges Blanc Restaurant, Vonnas, France

by Wade Rowland - Part 2

Adolph Blanc installed his new wife Elisa in the kitchen at "La Mere Blanc", and it is she who earned the passionate admiration of the "Prince of Gastronomes", Curnonsky. He so admired her frogs' legs in herbs, her Bresse chicken in cream and her crepes Vonnaissiennes that he described her, in 1933, as "nothing less than the finest cook in the world." National recognition followed, and son Jean brought home a bride, Paulette, a baker's daughter, who would in her time inherit the kitchen from her famous mother-in-law.

Chef Georges Blanc at Georges Blanc Restaurant in Vonnas France
Chef Georges Blanc at Georges Blanc Restaurant in Vonnas France
Photo by Christine Collie

In January of 1943 a son, Georges, was born to Jean and Paulette, a prodigy who was destined to be the most renowned Blanc of them all. Succeeding to the family business in 1968 after rigorous training in some of the best kitchens in France, he began the transformation of the simple country inn he had inherited, aiming first at a Relais and Chateau membership.

By 1981 he had achieved the pinnacle of culinary success, a third Michelin star. Gault and Millau give him 19.5 out of 20, their highest rating. There were other prizes, including the Légion d'Honneur. And now his sons Frédéric and Alexandre are being groomed in the kitchens and business offices of Vonnas, the fifth generation in this remarkable dynasty.

Our dinner at Georges Blanc was a jolly marathon that began with half a dozen tiny, clever amuse gueule or appetizers (e.g. a tiny veal stew presented in an egg cup) served up in the cozy bar along with aperitifs while we perused the folio-sized menu.

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