Benoit Josserand, owner of Café du Jura, at 155 years old, undoubtedly one of the city’s oldest dining establishments @Antoine Merlet
Big mouth. Benoit Josserand is the head of mythic Jura coffee155 years on the clock, it is certainly one of the oldest food establishments in the city.
A historian by training, passionate about Lyon, he was president of Les Bouchons Lyonnais association from 2018 to 2022 because, he says: “It’s better to do things from the inside than to live them out”. Not the type to take a hit, “Father Josserand” has no tongue in his pocket. But he knows “adapt”it happens sometimes “satisfied”under penalty of arrest “avalanche of dirty comments” in social networks.
Lyon Capitale: Are you a big mouth?
Benoît Josserand: No, I just say what I think without banging my fist on the table, I prefer to convince people than to contradict me. Do you think it’s okay to speak out loud now?
However, cork patterns are said to be loud…
They can have a strong character, not a mistake. But gone are the days when we drove away dissatisfied customers or did not return to us. We will say that we are non-conformists today.
Do social networks play a little on the strong character of mushroom bosses?
That’s for sure. You have to get consent when you post something, otherwise you’ll get an avalanche of nasty comments, and if you’re self-righteous, that’s even worse. In social networks, people are both judge and executioner. This is horror.
. We may all be different, each Lyonnais has its own cork of reference, we all have a common point of being places of Lyon’s personality. Precursors of social diversity. In the past, we welcomed both januts and silk workers. There are people from all walks of life and all kinds of opinions. All the mayors of Lyon moved to Jura. Except for the current one (laughs).
What is the difference with the original Bouchons Lyonnais Association?
It was a union of friends, and like any union of friends, there was not a little rigidity, but a few excesses. My father, who was the treasurer, gave up the apron because it was too borderline. The association is out of order. The chamber of commerce and the tourist office then wanted to federate the Lyon traffic under a new entity. We have about twenty restaurants.
So the Les Bouchons Lyonnais label was used to extract real corks from tourist traps?
Please note: not all good Lyon corks are necessarily labeled Bouchons Lyonnais, but all labeled corks are good corks. As far as I know in France, we are not under a dictatorship, everyone is free to join any association they want. Now it has not been dismantled, but it has made it possible to gain visibility. Let’s just say that there are no real Lyonnais today. So the association allows people not to go anywhere. Mainly intended for new Lyonnais and visitors.
Can the true culinary memory of the city, the gluttonous guards of the temple, mushrooms be considered a culinary and cultural exception in Lyon?
But yes, it is above all a cultural thing. This is the art of living, jamming is the action of Lyonnitu. This is Leo’s intangible memory. If we remove the corks, Lyon won’t really be Lyon anymore. In the capital, Auvergne bougnats “wines and coals”, where the husband delivered coal and the wife served customers, no longer speak to people, disappeared. Paris has lost her soul a little…
“An activist and a great poster-sticker don’t necessarily make a good helper”
Do you think mushrooms play a role?
These are beacons of Leo’s personality and spirit. Today we find the same stores in big cities. I, I have left the Cordeliers. In the 80s there were 95% independents, now it’s the other way around. Lyonnais corks will never be big brands or franchisors. We will always be small independents. You won’t find any in Tokyo or Barcelona.