Cooking with flames and passion

Published on 18/12/2023

Nothing beats a warm fire in the depths of winter. What’s more, cooking over embers, an ancestral method, makes food all the more tasty. Whether it’s a grill, chimney fire or smoking chamber, many restaurants are now embracing flame cooking. Read on to discover our hot picks.

Each morning, Massimiliano Monaco, the maestro in charge of the kitchens at the restaurant Cocotte (Lyon, 4th district), begins the day with the same ritual: lighting up his charcoal oven and watching the glowing heat spread over the embers. This approach carries with it a charming element of uncertainty, which he never grows tired of. He has always loved “working the flame. Sometimes the charcoal is drier and lights faster, and other times it’s damper... You’re never fully in control, which is what makes this cooking method so fun. It’s more complicated. Not much more, but just a little,” he adds with a laugh.

Chef Jonathan Alvarez of the restaurant Clone (formerly Demeter) echoes this view: “Cooking with fire requires inventiveness. You need to test again and again until you find the right balance and achieve a subtle aroma and tenderness, without drying out the food.” With this aim in mind, he organises impromptu tastings with the team, alongside the pastry chef and the restaurant manager. He allows himself to be surprised each day. On the menu, which evolves as he carries out his experiments, you’ll find pork breast confit, braised endives, grilled glazed octopus, grilled clementine, roasted celery and more! “I’ve been doing this job for 26 years and I never dreamt it was possible to imagine so many things with charcoal fire cooking.”

Warm gatherings

This seemingly simple cooking method respects food and keeps its flavours intact, giving quality produce pride of place. There’s no way to cheat when cooking over a flame! The two chefs are of the same mind: “All of our meat and vegetable suppliers are located within a 150 km radius around Lyon. Meat like calf and lamb arrives almost whole and is cut up on the premises,” explains the chef of Clone. “We source our products directly from breeders and fishermen, and work from large pieces,” agrees Massimiliano Monaco. This is one of the key aspects of charcoal cooking: it preserves the taste of food, reveals the nobility of produce and encourages sharing. “Dishes like the Châteaubriand beef steak, large bream, shoulder of lamb and beef ribs are the most popular with our customers. I bring the dish directly to the table and everybody serves themselves like at home,” enthuses Massimiliano Monaco.
Such friendly gatherings are perfect to bring some warmth to the winter season.

Ready to reignite the flame?

2 cours d'Herbouville - Lyon 4
56 rue Tronchet - Lyon 6

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Smoké & Fries

If, like us, you love burgers, then you’ll love Smoké & Fries. Their secret weapon? The Kamado Kokko, a Japanese ceramic smoking chamber which infuses each burger recipe with a subtle woody flavour. You will find pulled meat, of French origin, as well as smoky melted cheese, and sweet caramelized shallots. The dishes are accompanied by delicious home-made sauces, as well as French fries with various toppings, including the Poutine (French fries with cheese curds and gravy). It’s smokin’!

21 rue Ferrandière - Lyon 2

French Fumoir

Open the doors of this restaurant in Lyon’s 7th district where the barbecue, imported all the way from the Texan town of Mesquite, ensures perfectly cooked meat. Pulled pork and pork ribs are patiently and lovingly cooked and glazed, before being served with a sweet potato puree or new potatoes. Make sure you don’t miss the farmhouse chicken leg with peanut butter and Cajun spices. All of this is served in an industrial-style dining room, which is set off by the bar
decorated with turquoise Zellij tilework.

16 rue Élie-Rochette - Lyon 7

Tibone et Dorade

Charcoal fire cooking offers the guarantee of healthy and flavoursome cuisine, like that served up by Chef Putey, who has just taken up the reins at the restaurant of Hôtel ParkSaône from his predecessor
Chef Junot. The menu features grilled meats and fishes, which are as delicious as they are low-fat, and minimally processed, all lovingly prepared in a Josper® oven. Designed like a closed barbecue, combining a grill and oven, it produces traditional flavours and juicy meat with a perfect texture.

Hôtel Parksaone
26 rue Félix-Mangini - Lyon 9


Firm believers that slow cooking with wood smoke is the best way to preserve and enhance the unique flavour of each meat, the managers
of the restaurant Smokey prepare their lamb shanks, ribs and chicken legs with love and passion. Their speciality? The Brisket, beef breast smoked for 16 hours to achieve the meat’s characteristic tender and juicy quality.

16 Place Docteurs Charles et Christophe Mérieux - Lyon 7 

La Grille BBQ

Fire and fiesta are natural companions! With a conviction that charcoal cooking is the simplest and warmest there is, the lively team at La Grille BBQ has designed an events catering service for both private functions and corporate events, ranging from weddings to festivals and worksite meetings...

By Vanina Denisot