Bourdain has turned into a caricature of himself. I have listened to Kitchen Confidential countless times and love his voice and storytelling style. But Medium Raw (much like No Reservations) only features the character "Anthony Bourdain" instead of the real person we all fell for.
Always entertaining even if full of insider (to chefs and restaurant folk) details - but that's the point. Anthony writes for people like him and the rest of us just come along for the ride because he's such a good story teller.
This is not a book that will stick with you for the long-term, and the language is not for the faint of heart, but.... It is classic Anthony Bourdain. A little self-centered, a little indulgent, a little exaggerated for effect, but entertaining nevertheless. The chapter towards the end where he follows a day in the life of the seafood prep cook at Les Bernadin shows that Anthony, above all, respects the craft of cooking for others, and has a soft spot in his heart for those who respect it, too. I enjoyed the book for what it was, and think his fans will, too.
Hearing Anthony tell his tale is so much better than listening to ANY other narrator. That aside, the story is great - loved the behind the scenes bits near the end about all of the "characters" in Kitchen Confidential. Any Bourdain fan is going to be happy if they buy this audiobook - regardless of whether you spend a credit or pay full price. LOVED IT.
This book lacks the rebellious innocence and honesty of Kitchen Confidential and seems apologetic and heavily defensive at times. An over-the-top love fest in parts that would have had the old Tony puking on his cowboy boots. Still, Bourdain is a good storyteller and his dry, caustic sense of humor makes it worth a listen, even as he's become part of the pop-food scene he used to rail against.
Amusing anecdotes, particularly about the St. Bart's glitterati and their too-many-facelifts denizens, but really, Bourdain's abrasive stance and consistent use of the F word make me wonder if he's someone who has a severely limited vocabulary as well as lacking in nuance of character.
Let's get one thing straight, if your looking for someone to say all nice things about everyone, you've got the wrong book and author. Anthony says it like it is, or like it is to him. No mincing words here, but that's what I guess I like. Superstar Chef, no but someone that loves food and knows food and tells you what he thinks of the world of food, chef's , writers and more. I like it even more since he actually reads the book . Love hearing it in his own words, voice. Hope one day I'll have the pleasure of sitting down and having some food and drink with Anthony straight up.
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.