I could listen to Anthony Bourdain tell stories all day. I loved Kitchen Confidential and I loved Medium Raw. I was actually overcome with sense of melancholy when this book was over. I hope he narrates another.
craving, wanderlust, frankness
I honestly can't compare it to any other book but Kitchen Confidential. He has a particular way of phrasing that starts out gentlemanly and turns crude, but not in an off-putting way. His colorful comparisons and metaphors keep you interested (just in case you didn't find his perspectives compelling).
He is opinionated. He is crass. If you don't dig any of his new Parts Unknown episodes (for which he has been criticized for being too political), you won't enjoy this.
But for those who aren't afraid to learn more about American food industry problems (which effects everyone, no matter what political or religious affiliation you may have), along with some travel/food porn and semi-dangerous past escapades, I'm giving you a virtual high-five for having the same taste I do, good buddy!
Like all the benefits of having the writer read his own work, Bourdain knows how to give the subtle aspects of a story that can't come across when reading, like when to pause, when to emphasize, and when to be sarcastic. But even these little things pale against the emotion that comes through when he's writing about Hanoi or a good meal he's eaten. It seems as though nothing makes him angrier than poor-quality meat product, and I can hear in his voice when he's just as frustrated about his crappy decisions as anyone would be. I even appreciate his discordant Jersey accent, foreign pronunciation, and (what some would call) lowbrow vocab. He's writing for the everyman, and I don't think there's enough of that from other chefs.
Bourdain is only like Bourdain. He doesn't give a crap about kissing ass to the industry, which makes his honesty and circumspection all the more trustworthy and enlightening. But he also subjects his perceptive analysis to himself, taking along his audience along in a self-autopsy about his past, shortcomings, and loves.
Chapter 9 is probably my favorite because, in a unique and opaque way, he's writing loving tributes to foreign meals he's had, right after he gives a sorry-not-sorry speech about doing it.
Each chapter could almost be read on its own, similar to a collection of essays instead of a chronologically-driven memoir. So, it'll probably be good for people who are jumping back-and-forth between audiobooks, or need to take frequent breaks from them.
This would make Bourdain throw up, but I'll say it anyway. He is utterly charming in his self presentation as a porcupine with a deep love of life and food. He spares no one (including himself) from his gimlet eye. His "raw" style is endlessly entertaining. The performance of his own work made this even more fun for me than reading the book, because the presentation in his own voice is simply outstanding. This a guy you could have a wonderful time talking with if you were ready to hold your own. Lots of laugh out loud moments. He's not a curmudgeon at all but an unreserved observer and lover of life especially as it resolves around food and the people whose joy is to make it.
I'm an Anthony Bourdain fan and this book did not disappoint. The only complaint I have is that it could have been longer. I look forward to anything else he puts out.
it wasn't too bad like the title suggests started a little rocky. Finished better than I hoped. it is filled with the standard pretension that Bourdain has but at least he has the dignity to call himself out on it. wish I could have given it three and a half Stars I would read again.
I need a variety of things to listen too; music and audio books. This book fills the fun and easy category very well. I've always enjoyed Bourdain's books and tv shows. To be critical, this book is not like "Kitchen Confidential" (Start with that one if you haven't already). This one is made up of separate and disconnected chapters of short memoirs. Some are better than others. Overall, it's very enjoyable. Anthony is a great narrator as well. We fans love his voice as much as his prose.
Most: Lots of little dabs into his long history as a professional NYC chef and as a TV host with the probably the coolest job in the world./ Least: by concept, not a full story. But thats fine.
Can't remember. This is a late review. But I enjoyed the behind the scenes perspective he tells about being a TV host traveling the world.
Good light hearted Ooo's and Awe's with some laughs too.
If you need something light, easy, and enjoyable for when you need a break from all the "Game of Thrones" books, get this. If you like Anthony's other works, get this. But if you don't know who he is yet (unlikely), start with "Kitchen Confidential" because "Medium Raw" is for his fans.
Book Blogger and Planetary Defense Commander
I almost didn't purchase this book, as a reviewer led me to believe it was mostly about various restaurant celebrities, and I was afraid I wouldn't follow it. (I've watched many of Bourdain's TV shows because I was interested in the travel-related aspects, but I'm not into the restaurant/food culture.) Fortunately, when Bourdain discussed people, he gave enough background on them that I had no trouble. The one exception was Sandra Lee, who is apparently the Vampire Queen of New York.
The book also has some general restaurant industry information, a couple of sections about Bourdain's personal life outside the business, and a best meals he's eaten montage.
I would recommend listening to Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" before this book, to give you some perspective when he talks about his personal life.
To stay within the realm of kitchen metaphors: this is like a 21 meal course on various topics that Bourdain typically covers (mostly great food porn, good and bad people in the industry and his life and experiences in general).
I Read kitchen confidential and watch Anthonys shows. I enjoy his wise ass style. this is an older Bourdain who is explaining his earlier actions. I can also identify having been part of the NYC food world
I enjoy having him read his work . Worth the time while walking the dog