Michel Leny, who opened his award-winning Café Society restaurant in Midtown’s Evergreen Historic District more than two decades ago, will be serving up something entirely different in 2013: Travel to Europe.
Leny will begin conducting tours to the parts of Europe where he grew up, in Belgium and France. Working with Memphis-based Peacock Travel Group, Leny plans to lead several small groups on tours that will include out-of-the way spots and top restaurants not usually offered by larger tour groups.
“A number of my customers have asked me about taking them on some type of guided tour of the part of Europe that I know and love,” Leny said. “I’ve been contemplating the idea for a few years and have decided to take a stab at it.
“I think I will be able to provide expertise not always offered by larger firms. My groups will be small and intimate – only about eight to 12 – and we’ll visit some wonderful places and dine in some superb restaurants not usually offered.”
Tricia Peacock, owner of Peacock Travel Group, a franchisee of Travel Leaders, said she’s “been after (Leny) for more than a year to do something like this.”
“He’s perfect for this – not only because of his knowledge of food and the area, but also because of his charm and personality,” Peacock said.
While some details are not yet finalized, Leny’s first trip is scheduled for May. A special New Year’s holiday in Paris also is being planned.
Those interested in one of Leny’s up-close and personal tours of Belgium and France should call Peacock or Julie Butler at 527-1991.
Café Society, at 212 N. Evergreen St., will remain open and Leny said he plans to remain strongly involved with all facets of the restaurant. Leny fashioned the restaurant, which he began in 1987, using lessons and ideas he had learned from his father, who was the head chef at the world-famous Maxim’s in Paris.
In 2011, Café Society welcomed new owner Chef Cullen Kent, a 2007 graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Kent and Leny continue the tradition of International cuisine emphasizing Belgian influences and classic French food.