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Parts Unknown's Lyon Episode: Just the One-Liners

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Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

On last night's episode of Parts Unknown, host Anthony Bourdain visits Lyon, France with acclaimed chef and Lyon native Daniel Boulud. Bourdain previously told Eater the Lyon episode is "the greatest food centric show I've ever done," and true to that claim the episode is chock full of food porn from humble home cooking to professional charcuterie to the most exalted dining rooms of the region.

With Boulud by his side, Bourdain tries his hand at making sausages, dines and hunts with the legendary Paul Bocuse, hangs out in the kitchen of the three star Maison Troisgros, and sees just how good French school children have it when it comes to cafeteria food. He wonders: "What is it exactly about this place? Over the past century, the system here, the tradition, whatever it is that took hold here, churned out a tremendous number of the world's greatest chefs — Point, Chapel, Troisgros, Bocuse — and, as importantly, influenced nearly all the rest of them."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

1. On the big question about Lyon: "What is it exactly about this place? Over the past century, the system here, the tradition, whatever it is that took hold here, churned out a tremendous number of the world's greatest chefs — Point, Chapel, Troisgros, Bocuse — and, as importantly, influenced nearly all the rest of them."

2. On chef Daniel Boulud: "Like Prince or Madonna, he needs really only one name in New York, or anywhere in the chef world: Daniel, the name of his three-star eponymous restaurant in Manhattan, one of many in an empire that stretches from London to Singapore."

3. On why Lyon is a food mecca: "Look at the fundamentals, the things the Lyonnais think of as birthrights: The right, for instance, to eat delicious cured pork in unimaginably delicious forms ... Terrine, pâté, sausages, rilletes; it's an art that's revered here and widely enjoyed."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

4. On watching Boulud overstuff a sausage casing and break it: "That's how you get pregnant."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

5. On Paul Bocuse: "In Lyon, and even across France, one name stands above all others. Murals, bridges, markets, casual brasseries, the name of Monsieur Paul is everywhere."

6. On chickens from Bresse: "The Rolls Royce of chickens."

[Photo: Parts Unknown/Facebook]

7. On the influence of Eugénie Brazier: "The at times brutal world of the Michelin-starred kitchen looks much of the time like a boys club. But, where did they come from? If we track back a bit to where it all began for Lyon and for many of the chefs whose names we now look up to it all goes back to here: Le Mere Brazier, the godmother, the original master. Teacher. Chef. Force. Two restaurants with three Michelin stars. An achievement no one, male or female, had ever attained. And for many years, Lyon's most famous chef. Her influence runs right through every kitchen that's come since, and her graduates carry on her recipes and traditions."

8. Daniel Boulud, on cooking poulet en vessie, a chicken with truffle-stuffed skin cooked inside a pig's bladder in court bouillon, finished with a sauce of truffles, foie gras, and cream: "The most miserable thing is when the bladder explodes ... As the chicken cooks, the bladder starts to really expand. You have to talk to your bladder!"

9. On a magnificent end: "Even if I weren't a chicken I'd want to go like this, to die surrounded by truffles, foie gras, and fine wine."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

10. Daniel Boulud on the food at his elementary school, where the chef spends less per child than the average American elementary school: "I don't think my chefs in New York would do better."

11. On author Bill Buford: "For a dope fiend, feeding the monkey means finding and sticking with heroin. For one poor guy it's this, French food. In particular, Lyonnais food."

12. On the bouchon: "A bouchon is a uniquely Lyonnais institution. A casual, laid-back kind of a pub-slash-bistro with a limited, usually old-school, menu and always, always, an unpretentious vibe. People come here to unwind and eat with abandon."

13. A member of one of Lyon's all-male societies on how their eating marathons have worked smoothly for centuries: "No women, no politics, no religion."

14. On the legacy of Maison Troisgros: "Many have called Maison Troisgros the best restaurant in the world. And in the sixties, the brothers Pierre and Jean were early, important, and fundamental innovators of what came to be known as nouvelle cuisine."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

15. On Salmon with Sorrel, a signature dish of Maison Troisgros: "It seems now, maybe, a simple thing. But it absolutely turned the world upside-down when it debuted on the Troisgros menu in 1962 ... Before this, fish was generally overcooked. It was served alongside elaborate garnishes, starches, vegetables. This simple, elegant, almost Japanese ode to flavor, changed the way we cook fish in restaurants today, and how we make sauces, what our plates look like."

16. On dining with chef Paul Bocuse at his restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges: "This is a dream come true ... The meal of my life."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

17. Boulud, translating Bocuse on his former chef La Mere Brazier: "She was such a screamer. He says you would fall on your ass she was screaming so hard."

18. On the food: "As if the chef had been listening to my deepest, darkest secret yearnings the legendary Lievre a la Royale, an almost completely disappeared, incredibly difficult preparation of wild hare. The animal is first slowly cooked, then coated by a sauce of its own minced heart, liver, and lungs that's been thickened with its own blood ... Absolutely the lost ark of the covenant of cuisine ancienne. Everything great about cooking is encapsulated in this dish."

[Screengrab: CNN/Parts Unknown]

19. On dining at with Paul Bocuse at his hunting lodge: "It is for me a dream to spend this time with a legend, but I'm thrilled to that Bocuse seems genuinely delighted ... In Lyon, and all across France, he's Monsieur Paul, he's the great chef, a public figure, a hero, an institution, always treated with the greatest deference. Here it appears he's free to enjoy the simple things, with friends, the local farmers, who talk to him like anybody else. It's a pretty damn magical thing to see."

20. On Daniel Boulud's father: "Daniel's dad can something of a Gallic MacGyver."

21. On being with Daniel Boulud during a family dinner: "If you know Daniel at all, he can't really help himself. He's popping up and down, serving everybody, making sure everything is just right. And sitting here with his family in the house he grew up in, you can see where it all comes from."

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