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Luke Nguyen’s France follows Luke’s latest journey as his appetite for food leads him out of Asia and into France, the culinary wonderland that shaped his ancestral home, Vietnam, and the lives of so many in his family.
|S01E01||Paris (1)||24/04/2014||Luke Nguyen embarks on a culinary journey through the heart of Paris, discovering Parisians’ passion for food, decadence and tradition. Walking the city streets, exploring the French capital’s oldest market and cooking with his Vietnamese-French cousin Laurent, Luke investigates how France has influenced Vietnam’s culinary scene. He creates a fusion Vietnamese steak tartare with traditional Parisian butcher Yves-Marie and experiences the sweeter side of the city from the rooftop of the Westin Hotel with beekeeper Nicolas Géant. Luke also takes a lesson in indulgence – and history – with a three-cheese soufflé.|
|S01E02||Paris (2)||01/05/2014||Luke Nguyen digs deeper into Parisian food culture and life. He sets up his kitchen on a friend’s rooftop in order to cook pot-au-feu, the original version of the French dish that became Vietnam’s iconic staple, pho. He tries his hand at crafting a true French baguette with the help of artisan baker Benjamin Turquier. He has the pleasure of cooking a seasonal asparagus dish with French-Italian chef Erik Fontanini in the childhood garden of King Louis XVI.|
|S01E03||Strasbourg||08/05/2014||From Paris, Luke Nguyen heads west to Strasbourg where he develops a taste for all things Alsatian. There he discovers the secrets behind Strasbourg’s most famous – and controversial – dish. As importantly, he learns how to eat it. He meets Alsace’s ‘Queen of Gingerbread’ to learn the art of making pain d'épices and then creates his own roast pigeon masterpiece, pigeon a l'orange using her specialty spice mix. Luke samples Strasbourg’s famed tart flambé and visits a local family where he is taught how to make their unique specialty, fleischnacka, which means “meat-snail”.|
|S01E04||Franche-Comté||15/05/2014||Luke Nguyen’s journey takes him to the Franche-Comté where he finds age-old recipes and experiences new levels of decadence. After going foraging with chef Pierre Basso Moro, Luke enjoys one of the Michelin star winning chef’s most beloved dishes, which uses the famed Bresse chicken, Bresse chicken in wine. Given the opportunity, how could he not visit Rachelle Roussel-Voisard, a Bresse chicken farmer, to learn why these chickens are so prized? Setting up his kitchen in the picturesque paddock, he uses one of the chickens for a dish inspired by Vietnam, crispy poached chicken. A Napoleonic fort that has been converted into a giant cheese cave has the ingredients he then needs for his warming fondue dish.|
|S01E05||Lyon||22/05/2014||Luke Nguyen heads to Lyon, the food capital of France. He makes a classic Lyonnaise salad after teaming up with celebrity chef Grégory Cuilleron, then explores Lyon’s famous silk tunnels. Luke has a wine early in the morning with his old friend Momo before setting up a kitchen in the middle of a farmers’ market. The men wax lyrical about Lyonnaise food culture while creating a dessert inspired by the fruits of spring. Luke checks out some trompe-l'œil art and is invited into the kitchen of one of France’s most respected chefs, Jean-Paul Lacombe. He learns the secret behind making a traditional chicken liver cake with Arlette, one of Lyon’s most beloved Bouchon cooks.|
|S01E06||Marseille||29/05/2014||Luke Nguyen heads to Marseille, the capital of Provence, to immerse himself in that city’s food and art culture. He hitches a ride to the local fish market with Marseille restaurateur Georgina. Using ingredients fresh off the boat, the pair draw a crowd as they set up beside the old port and cook up Georgina’s fusion African-French fish soup. Luke then heads to a grungy art space to create another fusion dish; this time with Michelin star winning chef Sébastien Richard. The resulting dish, cooked in a mobile wok cart, is imbued with the flavours of the Mediterranean. Luke finds a gorgeous little harbour to cook his delicious salt and chilli squid, then heads out of town to the home of his uncle. They swap family stories and cook a French-Vietnamese meal of veal in red wine sauce.|
|S01E07||Nice||05/06/2014||Luke Nguyen travels to Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera, where the fresh produce is as beautiful as the scenery. Luke and local chef Dominique Le Stanc ride their bicycles to the local farmers’ market to collect the ingredients for a delectable onion and anchovy tart. Going to Nice and not cooking Nicoise salad would be a sin, so Luke learns how to prepare the real deal in a traditional Nicoise kitchen. He then takes a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais before heading to the hills to cook stuffed sardines in the traditional way. The three ‘S’s of Nice are: sea, soccer, and socca: Luke discovers the latter is cooked in an ancient wood fire oven. He meets with Nadim and his wife, the proprietors of Oliveira, to discover the region’s best olive oil and her famous eggplant dip.|
|S01E08||Southwest France||12/06/2014||Luke Nguyen explores France’s southwest, sampling Basque delicacies in Biarritz and oysters on the island of D'Oleron. He discovers the key ingredients in Basque cuisine – Espelette pepper and artisan jambon – with chefs Eric and Sebastian. With cuddly pastry chef Didier, and under the watchful eyes of his dog and goldfish, Luke learns how to make a true gateau Basque cake. At St Jean De Luz, he meets the Marie-Claire, a veteran of the fish market, who provides him with an insider’s look at the fish auctions. She then shares her specialty fish soup recipe. At D’Oleron, Luke samples some of the freshest oysters in France and cooks local langoustine alongside local artist Mia.|
|S01E09||D’Oleron and Loire Valley||19/06/2014||Luke Nguyen continues his journey around the oyster island of D’Oleron before exploring the food traditions of the Loire Valley. He can’t stop talking about the infamous 'hot oyster' with local restaurateur James, and cooks up his own hot oysters in buerre blanc. He is reminded of his childhood through his forages for clams with local fishermen Patrick and John. A break-wall is as good as anywhere to cook up a fusion clam feast. Luke discovers some of the magic of the Loire Valley when he cooks a sumptuous rabbit cooked in red wine dish in the cellar of an old chateau with owner Sebastian. They share a glass of wine, some freshly baked bread and a sing-a-long with some local fisherman, before Luke unearths the troglodyte fine dining scene.|
|S01E10||Loire River and St. Malo||26/06/2014||Luke Nguyen experiences life and food on the Loire River before finishing his culinary journey through France in the seaside town of St Malo. Luke traps an eel with local fisherman Bruno before cooking up lemongrass eel in coconut saffron sauce on Bruno’s handmade houseboat. He spends his last night on the Loire cooking a rustic barbecue duck breast dish by an open fireplace. Heading to St Malo, a town of pirates and seafood delights, Luke catches giant crabs with local fisherman Gill. Over the provincial border in Normandy, where Mont Saint-Michel looms large, Luke shares his knowledge of salt marsh lambs. Back in St Malo he meets with larger-than-life character Jean Yves, a third generation butter specialist, and cooks a delicious scallop dish.|