A single date can sometimes sum up a person’s many sides. For Chef Grégory Cuilleron, this could be February 11. The day, in 1926, when Paul Bocuse, the world-famous chef who symbolized Lyonnaise gastronomy tradition, was born. The day in 2005 when the Act in Favor of Equal Rights and Opportunities for The Disabled (loi pour l’égalité des droits et des chances des personnes handicapées) was passed. And the date in 2008 when M6 TV show «Un diner presque parfait» first aired and revealed Grégory’s existence to the public. He has now chosen to use his media visibility to help a cause close to his heart: the position of people with disabilities in society.
While Grégory was born with a disability, he considers that “it’s television that made him a handicapped person.” After becoming visible on TV, he received many messages from people with disabilities or their families, and from various organisations. He then thought this was an opportunity to send certain messages: “to encourage those who needed it, of course, but also to slap a few faces!”
An ambassador for Agefiph, in favor of the occupational integration of people with disabilities
Born with left radial hemimelia, Grégory was already in close contact with Assedea, the association helping families of children with hemimelia (absence of a forearm), and his mother is a member. He shares his experience and meets with children.
But he is especially active with Agefiph, the state organisation working to open more work opportunities for people with disabilities. He has been its ambassador since 2011, succeeding comedian Jamel Debouzze.
Thanks to “national video campaigns, regional round tables, conferences, cooking shows and corporate challenges”, Grégory Cuilleron takes an active part in Agefiph’s missions: “the occupational integration and job retention of people with disabilities.”
He is currently working on encouraging businesses to set up “ongoing in-house training for people with disabilities, who often suffer from a lack of training compared with those without disabilities.”
He also wants “to encourage people who have become disabled, after accidents for instance, to remain fully employed and apply for disabled status with their employer.”
In favor of equal access to recreational activities
But there is more to life than work ! A keen lover of movies, literature and music, Grégory Cuilleron tries to keep some time for leisure in a very busy schedule.
Because he wanted to make it easier for everyone to access culture, he partnered with Eurocks Solidaires to make Les Eurockéennes de Belfort rock festival accessible to physically or visually impaired or deaf or hard-of-hearing people.
Those who want can make their stay much more comfortable and hassle-free by using dedicated facilities or adequate equipment, being assisted by professional helpers, getting hearing aid, using adapted toilets and staying in adapted lodgings.
A fan of sports, especially football (and he specifically supports Olympique Lyonnais !), Grégory Cuilleron supports the French parasports Federation, which offers adaptive sports activities for people with physical or sensory disabilities. According to the Chef, “achievement through sports, be it athletics, swimming, team sports, cycling, horseriding, etc – can boost self-esteem and help get a better sense of one’s place in society.”
This is why he eagerly helps some of the Federation’s events, such as the latest table tennis French championship held at Lyons Palais des Sports, the French team’s last tournament before they fly to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
In this context, and thanks to his experience with the media, Grégory Cuilleron interviews and encourages athletes. And, using his culinary talents, he offers them healthy and balanced recipes. A coach, a motivator, and a supporter all rolled into one!
His advice to all: «Turn you attention toward yourself for a while, take stock of your disability, and be realistic.” But he adds that “you must be able to challenge yourself and set yourself no limits. And above all you should try to prove wrong those who think that certain things cannot be done.”
Thank you Hôtel Bachaumont for your kindness.
- July 12, 1998: France wins Football World Cup
- Every September 8: the historic day of Fête des Lumières (Day of Lights) in Lyons, moved to December 8 due to a flood in 1852
- October 4, 2009: Grégory wins «Un dîner presque parfait : le combat des régions » M6 TV cooking contest. He went on to compete in « Top Chef » (M6) and to be the announcer for « La Tournée des Popotes » (France 5)
- 2011: Opened his first bistro / caterer’s shop « Epicerie & Compagnie »
- December 8, 2015: Opened his first restaurant, « Cinq mains » (Five Hands) in Lyons
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