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Lyon for Lambs

It's all in the delivery, Sai.

Bonjour, mes amis! As the lovely Cat Cora announced last week, we're in Lyon, France. I've only been to France once, and that was in high school where much of the food and speaking remained American, but I've been craving a trip back ever since. Since Chaz won last week's challenge, not only does he have immunity but he gets to select his team. He drops Nick in the process. Considering all the criticism Nick had of Chaz last week, this is probably welcome.

What's probably not welcome is that Chaz's team gets to sit in first class and the other team doesn't. I was talking just the other week to a friend who wanted to go on a long train trip, complete with dining cart, etc. Well, apparently that's available in Lyon.

Once they get to their destination, the two teams then have to drive to their first challenge. We quickly learn that Gary was a French interpreter. Also, every shirt he owns has words on it. I wonder if he makes them himself! The Black Team starts off in the lead, but a wrong turn made by Cheven causes them to trail behind, so the Red Team gets to the first stop first. When they get there they are greeted by a cheesemaker, Monsieur Jean-Marc Lery at Le Berger Des Dombes. The first Course is to identify six sheep cheeses. I wouldn't be able to do this, but Jenna insists she can. Well, after several tries. To be fair, maybe it would've taken her teammates longer! But as Jenna spends time deciphering the cheeses -- even questioning Monsieur Lery's knowledge! -- the Black Team finally arrives. Cheven makes his own cheese! So, he steps up to the plate. He doesn't get it right on the first try either, but both teams finally get it done.The Red Team now in the lead, both teams head to the next Course, which is to herd four sheep into their pens without touching them. The Red Team really struggles with this, while getting very annoyed at their teammate, Jenna, who they're all kind of over. The Black Team has a couple herded and then somehow Cheven releases some out. I shake my head this time. Come on, Cheven! Eventually, the Black Team makes up lost time and gets all their sheep herded while the Red Team keep going. In this Course, I really try to think what my strategy would've been. I think I would've tried to rile the animals up, then run into the pen myself. Maybe they'd follow? I obviously have no experience herding sheep, and owning Brokeback Mountain wouldn't have helped me one bit. The play on words between lambs and Lyon wasn't lost on me, though. Unless it never existed in the first place, and I'm just looking for puns all the time. If you are a regular visitor of this site, you know that's the case.

After they win the second Course, the Black Team is on a hunt to find Curtis. And they do! He is with Sommelier Blaise Vavro, who I shall call Richard Blaise Vavro. They present the third Course, which is to match eight wines with their flavor profiles. Cheven offers himself again to handle this one. I'm honestly not sure why his team keeps letting him step up in this way since, according to Nookie, he's a "fart in a space suit," but they do. After a couple of misses, amatuer statistician Nookie helps him out. It's all in the match, he explains. Yes it is, Nookie. Yes, it is. Makes sense that a Red Sox employee would know a little something about math -- hey, I saw Moneyball!

The Red Team arrives after the Black Team finishes. I felt bad for them, but I got over it becase it's now time for the Takeover! And The Takeover is... Lyonnaise Cuisine. Since the Black Team won the Exceptional Ingredient, they get a lesson in local cuisine from MOF Joseph Viola, Chef/Owner of Daniel et Denise. The Black Team enjoys a tasting at his restaurant, learning the fine art of making quenelle, a dish both teams need to make for their diners. I usually use the term to describe the spooning action on plated desserts with ice cream and cream, but I was unfamiliar with the traditional dish. The Red Team is left to their own devices and walk around Lyon looking for answers! I have to say althoguh Jenna's French might not have been as strong at Gary's, she said something that i alwys tell people when they tel me they don't like French people: try to speak their language. When I went to France, the people there were lovely because I spoke the language. If you at least try, you'll start off on the right foot. If you assume they speak English, they won't be happy. Preserving the French language is sacred to the people of France.Ultimately, the Red Team tries to figure out the quenelle recipe -- one chef describes it as French gefilte fish. That's one way to look at it. After reading Hugh's blog this week and seeing that it usually is made of pike fish, maybe he's right. There's a funny scene in the film Prime talking about pike fish and how it's really only used in gefilte fish. If you like Bryan Greenberg you should see the film. Anyway! The two teams take somewhat different approaches. The Red Team, in my opinion, does a pretty good job delivering an authentic Lyonnaise meal without the help of an MOF. The Salade Lyonnaise Sai prepares is received well, as is the non-Lyonnaise brownie dessert. Unfortunately, the quenelle was dense, so they present it as a "quenelle dumpling." Ummm, no. The diners also really liked Nicole's haddock -- too bad she didn't make enough. This could send her home. 

The Black Team's quenelle is received very well. Nice work, Avery! Nookie's foie gras gets a thumbs up too. Keven's salad is meh, not as good as the Red Team's. And Chaz has an issue with his chicken portions. Mid-service, Gary makes a decision to treat the meal as a degustation, and fires everything at once. Maybe the kitchen should have been more aware of that decision. Once all the chicken is fired, Chaz notices he's going to run out because the portions he had been serving are too big. Avery makes the call to cut the pieces smaller -- something Chaz tries to take credit for in the judging process. Luckily for Chaz his team wins! And Avery wins MVP. She now has immunty in the next challenge. I like Chaz but he needs to stop massaging the facts of the challenges -- it's getting uncomfortable.

The Red Team, once again, has to decide who will go home. It looks like it's between Nicole who had a good dish but didn't count her protein and Sai who also had a good dish but took up too much time creating such a simple dish. Once Sai said pre-poaching her eggs was going to be an issue at the beginning of the challenge, I knew she was a target. And unfortunately for her, she went home. The team didn't think she was a team player. I have to say, I didn't completely disagree with her comments earlier in the episode about the history of food. No one can discount the importance of Lyon to the evolution of cuisine but there are other parts of the world equally as important for different cuisines. I think in attempting to make that point she made a lot of enemies. Good luck, Sai!Next week we're off to Barcelona to meet up with the fabulous Jose Andres. I can't wait!

Until then, Have a Nosh!

And if you want ot know more about the locals' favorite hot spots, we'll be asking them to show us around each week in our Off the Beaten Path series, which I'm pretty psyched about. This week our special diner, Gregory Cuilleron, Chef/Owner of Epicure et Compagnie takes us around. WATCH HERE, and bon appetit!

P.S. If I hear "Allez, moutons!" one more time, I might snap.

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