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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

Marseille, France. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 04, 2015 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:53] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: I need a French coach.


If you've been to France, chances are you haven't been here. France's second largest city, the oldest city in France. It sits right by the Mediterranean. The food is famously good. Yet, it's a victim of bad reputation, bad history -- Marseille. As it turns out, exactly the kind of place I like.

But this is a buddy picture, isn't it? Eric Ripert is the chef of the three-star Le Bernardin in New York. The Chevalier of France. I think that means he's some kind of knight or something, and my friend. This causes him some problems. He, I like to remind him, has a reputation to protect. I do not.

ERIC RIPERT, CHEF, LE BERNARDIN: Welcome to Marseille.

BOURDAIN: You've never been here?

RIPERT: Never.

BOURDAIN: How is this even possible? You grew up how far from here?

RIPERT: Like, 15 miles -- 100 miles.

BOURDAIN: You grew up 100 miles from here. What prevented you from coming to this clearly beautiful city? Because it's clearly beautiful.

RIPERT: It's a fantastic city. I mean, it's beautiful. I agree with you. But it has the reputation of being a dangerous city.

BOURDAIN: You live in New York.

I should point out that every single Frenchmen, when I said, you know, I'm shooting in France, they say, oh really, where? And I say, Marseille. Their face drops immediately, like, oh.

RIPERT: Why's that? Because they think it's ugly?

BOURDAIN: Do you know what they say? They say this is not France.

RIPERT: With a "Z" like that?

BOURDAIN: This is not France.

Well, I'm looking forward to the week.


BOURDAIN: This is low-impact show.

RIPERT: What is a low-impact show?

BOURDAIN: It means I'm not, you know, paddling upriver. It means I get a flush toilet, eating well constantly.

RIPERT: You like luxury.

BOURDAIN: I do. Look, I do. I like a fluffy hotel towel. I like a bidet. Look, I like warm jets of water squirting up my ass. I mean, who doesn't?

I could retire here.

RIPERT: I could retire here, too.

BOURDAIN: You see, that's sort of the measure of a place for me is, like, if you start thinking thoughts like that. Like, that must be nice. I could live here. Just me and my watercolors, you know?

When you retire, are you going to putter?

RIPERT: What's putter?

BOURDAIN: Dicking around. Basically, you wake up and maybe you paint a little, you know.

RIPERT: I could paint.

BOURDAIN: Well, OK. Do you how to make a sweater.

RIPERT: I would like to go fishing. You know, I've never catch anything in my life.

BOURDAIN: Do you actually fish? Do you know how to fish? Do you ever fish?

RIPERT: I don't know how to fish.

BOURDAIN: I'll show you how. All you need is a car battery and a couple of cables. Trust me, you get all the fish you want.

RIPERT: That's --

BOURDAIN: They come right up. There's other ways. How do you say dynamite in French?

RIPERT: Dynamite.

BOURDAIN: Dynamite. See, I do speak French. You can tell. You know it's coming, right? You can sense it. Oh, no. Another fishing scene.

This is our vessel here on the right.



BOURDAIN: Eric from (INAUDIBLE) is one of only a handful of old-style fishermen who work the sea the old-fashioned way.

Do you see yourself fishing?

[21:05:27] RIPERT: No, it's stressful to me.

BOURDAIN: Right. I always think I'm going to catch, like, my testicles or my ear with the hook. You know, I have a fear of hooks.

You, guys, catching dentex.

RIPERT: Yes. He said it's the best fish of the Mediterranean. I have no idea what he's talking about.

BOURDAIN: Well, hopefully, we'll see.

RIPERT: Well, hopefully, we'll taste it. Well, at least, he's supposed to deliver it to Le Petit Nice.

BOURDAIN: That's right.

Eric works exclusively for this man, Gerald Passedat, the extremely demanding chef/owner of Le Petit Nice, Marseille's only three Michelin-star restaurant.

GERALD PASSEDAT, CHEF/OWNER, LE PETIT NICE: I'm ready for my fisherman, actually. It won't be long. It depends on what the Mediterranean Sea will offer to us.

RIPERT: So it's a long line, Tony.

BOURDAIN: How long is the line?

RIPERT: Well, he say he has about 300 hooks.

BOURDAIN: And so he basically lays it out at night --


BOURDAIN: Comes back and pick it up.



RIPERT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) In Marseilles, only five guys, five fishermen will rock it like him.


RIPERT: You know he has 300 hooks.

BOURDAIN: This must be the 12th fishing scene. No, I must have done 20 fishing scenes in my life. And I think I had one good day out of all of them. Other than that, it's been one humiliating goat rodeo after another.

Ordinarily, our typical fishing scene actually would be, it would be rougher than this. So we'd be pitching back and forth, and I'd be hanging on to the contents of my stomach only by realizing that they feel even sicker because they have to look through the view finder. So they're like -- so it's basically you're playing this sort of race against time kind of a game. It's like who's going to puke first.


BOURDAIN: But it's always the camera dudes.

RIPERT: Is it?

BOURDAIN: No. Generally, it's our producer.


RIPERT: He said bad days, I had some bad days but this one --

BOURDAIN: This is the worst.

RIPERT: This is the worst.

BOURDAIN: Well, there it is. Another extraordinarily successful fishing scene in the can. Time to reap the rewards waiting us back on dry land.

You'll tell me if there's any oiled up amazons behind me.

RIPERT: Behind you?

BOURDAIN: Frolicking naked.

RIPERT: Yes. Right now they're kind of like mature Amazons. It will happen.

BOURDAIN: Here's the chef.

RIPERT: Anthony Bourdain.

PASSEDAT: Nice to meet you.

BOURDAIN: Nice to meet you. An honor, sir.

PASSEDAT: Would you mind to have the bouillabaisse? Is it a good idea? Or --


BOURDAIN: No, no, no. It's a very good idea.

Here's reinvented, deconstructed and then usually there's the thing, itself. Passedat's take on bouillabaisse, without a doubt Marseille's most famous dish is spread out over four courses.

First, shellfish carpaccio of raw mussels and clams.

They slice the muscles raw. That's crazy. Wow.

PASSEDAT: I decided to make this bouillabaisse, (INAUDIBLE), when I was a child. On those rocks, when I was with my knife opening the mussels, eating the mussels. In my cuisine there is no cream, no butter, it's not traditional at all. Just based on the fish. It's my way of thinking, my cuisine here.

BOURDAIN: Slipper lobster, weaver, angler, and red gurnard lightly seared then a touch in the oven.

Oh, whoa. Oh, this is just incredibly beautiful.

PASSEDAT: It's so delicate, and at the same time flavorful and powerful.

BOURDAIN: Well, this is insanely good. A broth so intense it requires over ten kilos of rock crabs and various bony tasty little fishes to make just one kilo of brown, gloriously brown, magical liquid.

[21:15:35] Dorade and dentelle, steamed over seawater, saffron potatoes, and then finally comes that magical brown broth.




BOURDAIN: That's a good one, huh? Oh, man.

PASSEDAT: This is unbelievable. The entire fish you're eating.

BOURDAIN: And just when my brain threatens to short circuit with pleasure, descending as if from heaven, itself, cheese.

Oh, god, the cheese.

I got to tell you. I don't care how many naked breasts are on that beach right now, because that is much more exciting. All right. Look at it. It's beautiful.

RIPERT: Interesting? BOURDAIN: Yes. Oh, look at that.

Oh, man. Oh, I love.

Cheese like this. That is just incredible. Oh, yes.

RIPERT: That is exceptional.

Life is good.

PASSEDAT: Life is good.

BOURDAIN: It is very good in Marseille.


[21:15:15] BOURDAIN: Marseille was once the hub, the rough and tumble principle port for France's colony such as Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. As a result of the sights and smells of Africa permeate the city.

There's been attempts to dissuade me from Marseille, you don't want to go there, and yet I come here. Correct me if I'm wrong, it is a beautiful city. It smells good. You smell the different pastries, the Tajin, (INAUDIBLE). And it's an extraordinary looking city and the people are really interesting looking.

CEDRIC FABRE, MARSEILLE CRIME WRITER: I must say, you are in the center of the world because the world is in Marseille. We are connected to the Mediterranean Sea. So it's really different from the north of France. I feel closer to a guy from Oracle (ph) than a guy from maybe Germany or -- it's different.

BOURDAIN: Cedric Fabre is a Marseille crime writer who spent decades deciphering the dense layers of crime and corruption, pasties and sunshine. It's a perfect town for writers of Mark, plenty of atmospherics and lurid history.

Why do you think it's such a fertile ground to set a crime novel?

FABRE: For me it's more interesting because you write about the place you live in. I walk in the street; I have an idea, et cetera. I couldn't write about past things like (INAUDIBLE) because I have no know the real part of the city, the people.

BOURDAIN: Here, it's a really interesting stew of characters.

FABRE: In Marseille, there is a very poor area and a very rich area. The difference between these two areas is the worlds in France so that makes an interesting city because when we write crime novel, we write both the differences between the poor people, the rich people, et cetera, so that's interesting.

BOURDAIN: Le Femina is an Algerian restaurant with some of the better couscous in town. And since it's a very filling dish and I only got one crack at it, I go for the royale. What else? Vegetables, chickpeas, Merguez sausage, chicken, chunks of lamb, and meatballs.

What people say is that everybody sees themselves as Marseille's first and French second regardless of your background.

Is that true?

FABRE: Because Marseille, We love that city. It's our city. And at the same time, we hate a lot of aspects. We have both love and hate. It's part of a complex, I think. Marseille has always made bad choices in politics. When France lost these colonies, it was an economic disaster for Marseille.

I'm thinking about one of your cities in the states, Detroit. It was a huge city. It was very important.

BOURDAIN: And a beautiful --

FABRE: What happened?

BOURDAIN: We abandoned Detroit. We abandoned it. It became too black for America to live.

FABRE: Maybe France is abandoning Marseille.

Sometimes people say, in Marseille, people, they are restless. I would say in Marseille, people, they are connected with other people.

BOURDAIN: Let's hope Marseille people figure that out because I think it's amazing here.

If you ask real Marseilles these day, what's the iconic dish? The one thing you most closely associate with home, the answer might surprise you. Pizza.

Marseille, it turns out, is the pizza truck capital of France.

So this could be a whole new beginning for you, Eric.


BOURDAIN: I always say you should have a truck.

RIPERT: Yes. I'll do it with you.

BOURDAIN: Do you have pizza experience?

RIPERT: Never did a pizza in my life.

BOURDAIN: Does he know this?

RIPERT: No, he doesn't know. I'm going to tell him.



BOURDAIN: Our employer for this episode of the real world geriatric edition is Jean-Denis Martinez. His yellow truck a rolling pizza oven is well known in the neighborhood meaning he's busy.


BOURDAIN: We're not going to be good at this. This is going to be like "I Love Lucy."

RIPERT: More like "Laurel and Hardy."

BOURDAIN: This is like a nightmare. I actually have this nightmare, where like there's an order coming in. I don't understand what they are because it's in another language and I don't know where anything is and I'm falling behind. This is literally my nightmare.


BOURDAIN: OK, get in there.

Lucy, come on, put on the sauce. Come on.

RIPERT: Don't take my job.



BOURDAIN: You don't.

MARTINEZ: You're sloppy, man.

[21:20:22] BOURDAIN: What? I'm getting there.

MARTINEZ: It has to be even, the sauce.

OK. Mushrooms and cheese. That's good.

BOURDAIN: Come on, man. Customers are backing up here. They want the pizza.

MARTINEZ: My pizza is good, OK?

No, no, no, no. A little bit like that. A little bit like that. Like that. Good.