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Bourdain Parts Unknown: Lyon

One of his more purely food-porny episodes. I always love the ones that leave me wanting to abandon my real life, and relocate for a month. This one made me want to relocate for a year. The school lunch was...<sigh> lovely.

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  1. That school lunch-dude, right?!

    Why do kids have to eat such junk here. But then again, think of what they're eating at home.

    1. This episode is the best of the new season so far. Loved seeing Bocuse living out his twilight years so happy.

      I'm just getting tired of Bourdain seemingly showing up on every CNN program during the week to tout the upcoming episode.

      1. Ya this episode is one of AB's very best of all time.
        (I think he's a great novelist BTW.)
        To be frank I'm getting more than a little tired of 'Tony' being Tony'.
        Now that he's with CNN (for as long as that gig lasts) he's doing what he promised he would do: He's become a lot more 'political'. IMO not a good look for him considering all the years he spent helping spread the 'ugly American abroad' meme.
        To clarify. Tony has always appeared to easily fit into where ever he was filming. Lots of happy faces and shots. That's good. What I've never liked is his 'talk over' remarks he made when back home in the US. Too often we see a happy smiling Tony in say Scotland but the snarky comment/attitude voice over is kind of two-faced IYKWIM.
        Notice in this episode he dropped his snarky/ironic "what does Tony think about this?" attitude he's become semi-famous for.
        He had the good sense to understand he was in the presence of culinary history and greatness.
        Had he acted like 'Tony' he would have diminished himself and he knew it. Good for him.
        This is why I enjoy dear old now dead Keith Floyd's shows. Dozens of which can be watched on You tube.
        Note to Tony: People can get a belly full of very subjective biased 'personal opinions' about what's going on politically in the world today. Stay a bit closer to the foods of the world and farther from the foments.

        1. Super great. Highlights were the school lunch and the insane reconstituted bunny in the Paul Bocuse kitchen.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chompchomp

            When B referred to the sauce as chocolate-like, I wondered if this was what inspired chocolate rabbits. Were those some sort of fake food eyes? They turned up the freakish level.

            1. re: ennuisans

              Yeah, it reminded me of a giant, demented Easter basket bunny. I assumed they were just the real eyes.

              1. re: Wahooty

                Those eyes were very freakish. I would have loved to try that dish, but it looked pretty scary.

          2. I'm going to watch the Noma episode again today.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

            1. Aw, man. *Really* looking forward to this one. Better watch it while eating dinner, otherwise I'll be tempted to eat after meal time :-)

              2 Replies
              1. re: linguafood

                You know the food is impressive when it turns AB into a starstruck kid. He had some literally awesome dining experiences in this one.

                1. re: Wahooty

                  Nice. Now I'm really gonna hafta convince my man to watch this while we're eating!

              2. This episode raised the bar a LOT. For the first time ever watching a "food show", I felt privileged to be watching. No amount of money could buy me the hunting lodge experience we all got to see with Chefs Bocuse, Boulud, et al.

                Who woulda' thunk it that AB would save CNN?

                3 Replies
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I think his overall game has improved tons since the show moved to CNN. The Quebec, Noma, LA Koreatown and now Lyon episodes have been super solid.

                  1. re: chompchomp

                    Before he moved to CNN he was treated like a God by those around him but like crap by 'upper management'. They DID NOT like him having the rating power to tell them what to do and not the other way around. This caused no end of 'politics' within the show. Finally every one involved just said "screw it" and went their separate ways.
                    Tony didn't 'walk' until he had the CNN contract in his pocket though.
                    CNN basically told Tony: "Look we know you bring a great brand and ratings. Do what you want to but as long as you show us respect we'll do the same."
                    To Tony's credit he did not attempt to beat CNN over the head with his 'brand/rating score.
                    He told CNN: "Sounds good. You leave me alone and I'll produce for you. But the first time some drunk executive producer calls me at three in the morning with a list of things she wants to change about my show the fun's over". (A couple of previous executives from another company were/are famous for that sort of thing)
                    I think he's the happiest he's ever been personally and professionally and it shows in his shows.
                    You all MUST read his novels. He's an excellent writer.

                    1. re: Puffin3

                      Very interesting take; it sounds very likely, as well.

                      It feels right to view FN/CC as childish and CNN as more rational.

                2. His his joy in this episode was so palpable, it had my wife and I practically in tears.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: saeyedoc

                    Ya. It felt like he had 'gone to the mountain'.
                    For me it would be like spending the day visiting the Maranello factory.

                  2. Not too surprising. I don't know if it's possible to get a bad meal in Lyon.

                    1. http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/cnn-a...
                      "The 9 PM Season 3 opener of Bourdain’s hybrid foodie travelogue — which visited Punjab, India — posted 325,000 persons 25-54, according to Nielsen’s Live+SD numbers, up 34% over last season’s September 15 bow. "

                      CNN might be a nice place for Tony, but

                      "it slid 16% in total viewers from from Q1 2013. That viewership result slide tumbles CNN down to the third worst quarter it has ever had in total audience."

                      News about a drop in FN viewership sends Chowhounds into a tizzy, clutching their pearls, and asking 'how would you remake in FN into your own image?'. Yet here we are, celebrating what a great company CNN is!

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: paulj

                        CNN has become a parody of itself. 'BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!' THE INDIAN OCEAN HAS SALT IN THE WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!.
                        AB went to CNN largely b/c of his personal politics. The other cable networks being too much 'one way' or the other. He's a Bush-hating LIB without doubt and reminds people of it but he knows in his bones if he ever hooks up with the 'far-left' cable network' his TV career is over. Why? B/c his loyal viewer base is very 'catholic' and they don't like mixing politics, not even Tony's, with their dinner.
                        Don't post back about the "catholic" reference before you notice I typed it using a small 'c' please.
                        His personal management firm needs to do some focus group sessions using those little 'instant reaction' black boxes.
                        They would quickly notice the 'positive response' line ticking happily away until Tony expresses his opinion of say the Monarchy or 'Bush'. Then watch the 'negative line plummet.
                        Hey Tony! Less politic more polenta. Thanks.

                        1. re: Puffin3

                          You truly are a fountain of knowledge.

                          1. re: Puffin3

                            Yes, I want to see more food! I'm at the point of fast forwarding thru his non-food segments...so some episodes are reallly short. In Lyon, I only fast forwarded thru the hunting part.

                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                              Agreed. I can do without the political commentary, from either end of the spectrum. It's not what I tune a cooking\food show in for.

                              1. re: mike0989

                                Parts Unknown isn't strictly a food show. No Reservations was on Travel Channel, not FN. Bizarre Foods is a better choice if you want travel with food and minimal political commentary.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  "Parts Unknown isn't strictly a food show"

                                  Which is why I gave up on AB some time ago. The focus became more and more about himself, than the places he was visiting and their food. When he stuck to talking about food and what was wonderful and new we should be trying, he was good. When he starts venturing beyond that, it's like his books. The first one you read is great, the second one is "Ok, I'll give him one more chance". The third is, "You know, this is really one dimensional".

                            2. re: Puffin3

                              AB too liberal? I never heard of (or payed attention) to Ted N until AB joined he for a hunting party on NR.

                          2. Just saw this yesterday off the DVR. Agree on the quality of this one. I also like the Punjab one. I, a white American male, was just in Bangladesh in January. I kind of felt like Bourdain because I was treated so hospitably there. Home cooked meals, fish caught for me and cooked within an hour, street food, etc. Back home, and back to reality now!

                            I also thought that one if the best part was the school lunch piece. Trying to instill in my young kids the value of good food and not sacrificing quality and such. Constantly up against their school lunch quality, boxed mac and cheese, hot dogs, and other that the SO will do. That scene almost made me cry. Ok, tears did emerge!

                            EDIT: That chicken ensconced in the bladder looked awesome. I'd love to make it, but I have no idea where to get the bladder.

                            (Hey, let's drop the politics and focus on the food!)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rudeboy

                              American lunches are nothing short of an embarrassment compared to what our brethren eat over there. When I recall the school lunches of my childhood -- "meat"loaf, pizza barges, peas/carrots/corn combo, it just makes me really sad.

                            2. When I saw the baked pumpkin segment,


                              I thought, wow, I'm cooking like a French Chef! I've made this dish following a Dorie Greenspan recipe several times (on a smaller scale with a kabocha squash).


                              1. I'm becoming convinced that Bourdain is almost to CNN what Emeril was to foodtv at one time. He's interviewed on nearly every program to promo the upcoming weekend show, and on Saturday, CNN had an 8-hour block of just repeats of this season's shows.

                                1. Lyon episode is on again (5pm Pacific). This has to be its 20th play since first broadcast!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: RelishPDX

                                    Based on the commentary here, I watched this just now, and it was great. Except that now I'm hungry. AB was truly in awe of Bocuse, and he was so appreciative and happy. Mexico City is on now, and while I get that AB shows what he wants to show, I prefer the more food-oriented AB episodes.