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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

4.2 (1769 )
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  •  
    Pamela United States 01-06-13
    Pamela United States 01-06-13 Member Since 2004

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

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    "The Snarky Chef returneth"

    My patience for Anthony Bourdain and his nose-in-the-air attitude about all things food has limits...and this book ended EXACTLY when they were reached. I don't think openly admitting you're a jerk and then acting like a jerk exempts you, but it does make listening to the wonderful writing much easier for people like me who like the behind the scenes stories of restaurants that I'll never eat in.

    The man is funny, erudite, and so ridiculously opinionated you can almost forgive him anything. Almost. But this book is really for people with a high tolerance for all things food who aren't afraid of a lot of bad language and brutal attacks on perfectly fine people that Tony has decided are beneath him. This book goes well with a spoonful of sugar.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Sydney 06-03-12
    Chris Sydney 06-03-12 Member Since 2012

    Tell us about yourself! I love to escape into a good book.

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    "Forthright Funny Entertaining Book"

    Anthony Bourdain is never shy to express his opinion on the culinary world, he may be harsh but he holds himself up to that same critical eye.
    It is refreshing to read a book from a man who is not afraid to express his opinions and political correctness be damned.
    He has an irreverent sense of humour which I quite enjoyed.
    Having read Kitchen Confidential I was eager for more.
    This is a collection of personal essays that take us from St Barts to Top Chef.
    The book is a reflection on his second career phase as a "celebrity chef" and it does not disappoint.
    Anyone who has spent the last 28 years in the food industry should know what he is talking about. Its nice to know that the passage of time and years has not mellowed him in anyway.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul New York, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 08-04-10
    Paul New York, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 08-04-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Very enjoyable"

    Anthony is very easy of the ears, the book is easy to listen too and covers a lot of ground, some of it will be very familiar if you watch his TV shows. Tony often comes full circle when going off on his famous rants, frequently summarizing he understands the victims point of view and perhaps they aren't all bad after all....he's getting mellow in old age.

    I really enjoy Tony's honesty, he is frank and self deprecating in a world of food personalities nobody ever really asks hard question of. The book is like Les Halles, it's not the best steakhouse or French Bistro it's just honest and when Tony fries something (or someone) it's truly crispy!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Seattle, WA, United States 05-21-13
    Dennis Seattle, WA, United States 05-21-13 Member Since 2004

    Like action, adventures, war stories, militay happenings, historical readings-fiction, & mysteries. Unabridged only! Reader IMPORT!

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    "Sure can not recommend this BOOK!"

    I do not look at my self as prud & being a former sailor in the US NAVY I have heard the use of the "F..." word & might have used it a time or two....! BUT I COULD NOT GET PAST THE USE OF THE "f" WORD in the book TO NO PURPOSE!

    I have enjoyed Mr Bourdain tv shows with only one exception ---- and have ENJOYED all but the one!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    miles rose lake, fl, United States 04-19-13
    miles rose lake, fl, United States 04-19-13 Member Since 2010

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Im just a big tony fan"

    He can do no wrong. If they were to make me wear a tie for the book cover i would have had a cig in my hand or some subliminal item hidden.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krispian Surrey, BC, Canada 04-05-13
    Krispian Surrey, BC, Canada 04-05-13 Member Since 2001

    The more you love books... the more books you love!

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    "Not as good as Kitchen Confidential"

    Don't get me wrong, Anthony Bourdain is an excellent writer. This isn't a bad book. Many of the topics are interesting, and -- as a fellow parent of a daughter and advocate of 'slow food' over fast food -- the topics are relevant to me.

    However, each chapter has too much of a strident tone in its writing and narration. I found I could take it in only short doses.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew M. Ryba CT 02-27-13
    Matthew M. Ryba CT 02-27-13

    reebz

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    "Tony does it again."
    Would you listen to Medium Raw again? Why?

    Yes, I had read this book twice in a hard cover edition before listening to it via Audible. There is something to be said about Tony Bourdain narrating it himself. In my head the book read in his voice and being a long time fan of his writing as well as his TV shows, it just made sense. It's a great story to catch a chapter or two, especially late at night when on the Subway in NY, begin able to visualize some of the places around the city he references, and even more, being told to you in the friendly familiar voce of another New Yorker.

    Great book, strongly recommended, for the story telling, jokes, and tips on what might be a cool place to visit when in NY. If it weren't for Bourdain I would have no idea who David Chang was, and wouldn't frequent one of my favorite restaurants in NY as a result.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's somewhat self-biographical, and Tony gives a great performance.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The story about his drunken musings in the Caribbean with his psychopathic girlfriend.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Medium Raw; Why bloody is better.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark SAINT PETERSBURG, FL, United States 02-13-13
    Mark SAINT PETERSBURG, FL, United States 02-13-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Unexpectedly Delighted"

    Bourdain can get on your nerves. I should know, after faithfully inhaling his No Reservations for years, and more recently The Layover, all the while noticing the shows' producers increased tolerance for letting Tony get away with (or encouraging him towards?) kinda lame stuff. To watch as Tony tosses back triple shots of straight (insert local booze here) with a local table-mate until the redness of nose and the inanity of banter chafes my patience, and is no longer good TV (I even found it tedious when I was still a practicing drunk). On the other hand, the Haiti and Beirut and Mozambique episodes are finer recent examples of how No Reservations works when it’s nurtured and cared for. It was this Bourdain I hoped to find in Medium Raw, and with some trepidation I procured the audiobook.

    All hesitation was quelled after the first two or three chapters. I am pleased to say I’m now enjoying my second listen, revisiting themes and analyses the first pass threw down with such ease and grace. Whatever impulse Bourdain may have to tread lightly and boozily when shooting some of his less stellar travel drunkalogs is not present here. Instead we have a sharp noggin bristling with ideas and a witty blast of fresh and cheeky verbiage in the sharing of them. He’s got some of David Foster Wallace’s eye for detail, and hints of A. J. Liebling’s ability to communicate complex ideas about food and society in a few finely crafted phrases that get right to the nut.

    Dear Tony, if Medium Raw is the Bourdain that the TV versions of you have been hinting at, then please give us more of this pen on paper stuff, as after all it was Kitchen Confidential that sent the TV scouts after you in the first place. Yes you’re fun and irreverent on TV, but you really shine on the page (and incidentally as the narrator of your own work).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 12-23-12
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 12-23-12 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

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    "Great storytelling, bad language"

    It's a guilty pleasure: I enjoy Bourdain's story telling. The inside, and sometimes terrifying, stories of the restaurant world simultaneously intrigue me and gross me out. I appreciate Bourdain’s look at the world. While different than mine, he is unapologetic about who he is—his past, present and future. What I don’t like, though, is his language. This book would probably be 1/3 shorter if the f-word were eliminated. And, based on my own admission above, Bourdain just doesn’t care what I think about his language. So, I ignore it, but do wish he would use some better adjectives.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 11-05-12
    K.D. Keenan Northern California 11-05-12 Member Since 2004

    1emp

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    "Tony Bourdain's Soft Side"

    Compared to the raw arrogance of Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential," this followup book is a pillow fight. Has he mellowed with age? Seems like. Nonetheless, his sharp wit and humor make this a good and entertaining read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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