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Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook | [Anthony Bourdain]

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

In the 10 years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business and for Anthony Bourdain. Medium Raw explores those changes, tracking Bourdain's strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood. Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen.
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Publisher's Summary

The long-awaited follow-up to the mega-best-seller Kitchen Confidential

In the 10 years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out - from Monday fish to the breadbasket conspiracy - much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business and for Anthony Bourdain. Medium Raw explores those changes, moving back and forth from the author's bad old days to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.

Beginning with a secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs that he compares to a mafia summit, Bourdain pulls back the curtain, but never pulls his punches, on the modern gastronomical revolution, as only he can. Cutting right to the bone, Bourdain sets his sights on some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, the young superstar chef who has radicalized the fine-dining landscape; the revered Alice Waters, whom he treats with unapologetic frankness; the Top Chef winners and losers; and many more.

Always he returns to the question "Why cook?" Or the more difficult "Why cook well?" Medium Raw is the deliciously funny and shockingly delectable journey to those answers, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike.

©2010 Anthony Bourdain (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"The food orbit is [Bourdain’s] element, and chapters on today’s leading figures—from chef David Chang to critic Alan Richman—display his access, outspokenness and comedic gifts....Mr. Bourdain is a vivid, bawdy and often foul-mouthed writer. He thrills in the attack, but he is also an enthusiast who writes well about things he holds dear." (Wall Street Journal)

“Full of things everybody in the food world thinks but nobody will say...If [Bourdain’s] sharp eye and his wicked tongue have brought him acclaim, what’s kept him in the spotlight is his heart. Like Oscar Wilde, he’s a moralist in the guise of a libertine. Long may he prosper.” (Denver Post)

“Bourdain has insight, access and good taste, and he’s a naturally engaging writer...Bourdain is a hopeless romantic when it comes to food and the people who cook. The subtitle’s real valentines are two elegantly written profiles.” (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Eric Redford, MI, United States 11-04-10
    Eric Redford, MI, United States 11-04-10
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    "Over all a good book"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Lebanon, PA, United States 10-21-10
    Joshua Lebanon, PA, United States 10-21-10
    ratings
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    4
    3
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    "Great writing...but story comes off disappointing"

    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".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toby Sachs 10-20-10
    Toby Sachs 10-20-10
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    "More like medium poor"

    Bourdain is just too pleased with himself for my taste. And the language will be rather too spicy for many.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Phoenix, AZ, United States 10-12-10
    Mark Phoenix, AZ, United States 10-12-10
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    5
    1
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    "Very disappointing after Kitchen Confidential"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dacosta 10-01-10
    Dacosta 10-01-10 Member Since 2006
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    "If you like Bourdain, you won't be disappointed"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brianl15 Forest Hills, NY USA 10-01-10
    brianl15 Forest Hills, NY USA 10-01-10 Member Since 2008

    Brian

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    "IT IS BOURDAIN--WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Reno, NV, United States 09-23-10
    Lisa Reno, NV, United States 09-23-10
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    4
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    "evolved bourdain"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ian Louisville, KY, United States 09-19-10
    ian Louisville, KY, United States 09-19-10 Member Since 2015
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    49
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    "Medium - Yes it is"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Southington, CT, United States 09-16-10
    John Southington, CT, United States 09-16-10
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    6
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    "poor followup"

    too much of him and who and what pisses him off. not enjoyable. Not worth as credit or the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Bethesda, MD, United States 09-16-10
    Mike Bethesda, MD, United States 09-16-10 Member Since 2005

    Semi retired / worked mostly Nonprofits. Lv Blues into Rock & Roll Lv mysteries (mstly Pol procs) Lv Baseball / Played til 55 - umpd til 63

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too Much New York"

    As with Kitchen Confidential, I enjoyed Tony's writing. It is much more effective with his narration, and I'd like to see this with other authors, but my experience says that, in many cases, that would be a bad idea.

    About the only gripe (and I'm not complaining about the language) is his concentration on New York City. I've been to New York, and the top end dining establishments are not the be all and end all.

    I know that Mr. Bourdain knows much more about the eating and cooking scene all over this country and in other parts of the world. I'd love to have heard much more about other places. Maybe that is the job of No Reservations.,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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