As the sister of a chef, I get to go out with my brother and his pals whenever I'm in town. Tony sounds just like them: funny, scatological, sarcastic, profane and opinionated. I'd love to have him join us, he'd fit right in. He writes like he talks, and that's a very good thing.
I have to say the book is very disjointed. Parts of it are very interesting while other parts are very dull. Unlike Kitchen Confidential which I felt was very accessible for everyone, Medium Raw seemed like it would be more interesting to insiders. Without a knowledge of the chefs that Bourdain is talking about before hand I found myself referring to Wikipedia frequently for more background. The best chapter for me was the last which talks about the post Kitchen Confidential days and what has happened since.
If you read Anthony's book, this is a good continuation of that. Some parts seemed a little long and drawn out but that's okay. I found it interesting for at least 90% of the time. It probably helps that he has a really good voice for reading. If you liked Kitchen Confidential, then you'll most likely enjoy this.
For any Bourdain fans or hardcore cooks....this one is a must-have for your "Cook Free Or Die" collection. This is yet another poetic and sharp-worded novel, and I think he does a better job narrating this piece than Kitchen Confidential. His voice has more inflection and drama to it - you could almost imagine that Tony is sitting across the table from you, sharing a beer and a story. However....
Despite the awesome delivery, the content of Medium Raw is really a disappointment. Its listed as a "memoir" ten years after he published Kitchen Confidential, yet I really struggled to see the entire point he was getting at. There was no moral...no theme...no rational pattern. He discussed random foods worldwide, to his suicidal period dealing with the breakup of his marriage, to, and I kid you not, a whole chapter where he simply talks about how he is a better parent than every other one in the world because he stays with his daughter at dance class. Really? What happened to Kitchen Confidential? What happened to the grit and grime and sweat of the kitchen? Bourndain presents this book ten years later, almost practically apologizing to the culinary world for what made him who he his (as he calls it in Kitchen Confidential "I Make My Bones"). What is this, is he selling out to the Food Network like the other reviewers seem to think?
Altogether, this is a very good book, but buyers beware...you might finish it confused or let down at the "new Tony".
I thoroughly enjoyed Kitchen Confidential. In fact, it remains on my iPhone long after I first listened to the book as a repeat when I have listened to everything else. When Medium Raw came out, I was excited to listen to Anthony Bourdain pontificate on his view of the culinary world -- and, to a lesser degree, the world at large. Unfortunately, in his efforts to repeat the tone of the first book, the material comes off as whiny rather than having a tone of triumphing over adversity. Even the narration seems forced in Medium Raw. I actually fast fowarded through various portions of the book and, as of this writing, do not plan on finishing the book.
This book is entertaining & the Bourdain you wish he could be on the travel channel. I love his angry rants. If you're not one for salty language, this isn't the book for you... go read Rachael Ray.
Anythony Bourdain tells you his feelings on a few things--most of his feelings are mixed (e.g., Alice Waters he rips a new one and then understands), while some are pretty straight foward (e.g., Alan Richman--the two won't be having dinner anytime soon). It is funny, then depressing, then funny.
I had no problem with the amount of profanity in the book--it is obvious that how he wants the story told. It works.
He is a wonderful storyteller and he is the one reading his book--that makes it worthwhile.
anthony bourdain mentions that people say he's gone soft, and they're beggin' for the super snark to return. everyone grows with time, or at least they should, and here's proof of it. he's not the same person that he was at the time of writing Kitchen Confidential, and he points that out, I think with humilty and grace. He gets to do whatever he wants traveling and eating and makes a great living at it. He's not bustin' his ass in a hot kitchen anymore and he realizes how lucky he is. Just listen to him talk about his daughter and you'll hear something so spot on and beautiful, you can't help but be happy for this man. The snarky, angry and humorous critic is still there - just listen to the chapter on meat and you won't be disappointed. I could listen to him talk about Pho for days...and I especially admire the respect he shows for the hospitality he is given, and behind the scenes workers in the kitchen - especially the fish prep at le Bernardin. very moving memoir. Bourdain is older, wiser, and he's still got it. Go see his book tour and get the VIP pass to meet him and get a book signed. A thrill that does not dissappoint.
After his first book and mild success, his writing and personality differ from the "okay tell all" attitude of Kitchen Confidential. He goes into long drawn out talks about himself and relationships with other pseudo popular chef types. The first part was interesting and the second was a challenge to sit through.