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
"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)
The more you love books... the more books you love!
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
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.
It's somewhat self-biographical, and Tony gives a great performance.
The story about his drunken musings in the Caribbean with his psychopathic girlfriend.
Medium Raw; Why bloody is better.
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).
If you like Anthony Bourdain, then this is a must have. If you enjoyed any of his other books, this also an essential book to add to your collection. It's not necessary to have read his other works first, but I would recommend it. If you just watch his TV show, you can get by, but you really should at the very least get through Kitchen Confidential.
Tony of course has very interesting stories and takes. Tony also has an mastery of being candid, which is difficult for many authors. I was even surprised at his willingness to discuss certain things in this book. I am a huge fan, I loved the book, and I have to recommend this one. I hope he keeps writing because I can't get enough of Mr. Bourdain!
If you enjoy listening to the author proclaiming to the masses then you might enjoy this book.
While I actually agree with a lot of what Bourdain has to say, I just get bored after a while with hearing it said over and over again ... after allhe is preaching to the converted.
In the end I just stopped listening and marked the book as 'finished'.
Personally I'm not all that interested in his family life, though, of course, others might find it interesting.
Basically this book is a series of different articles written by Bourdain. There doesn't seem to be any connection between any of the chapters, it just jumps from one topic to the next.
If you are expecting something like Kitchen Confidential then you'll be disappointed.
If you enjoy listening to Antony Bourdain proclaiming then, by all means purchase this title.
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.
Tell us about yourself! I love to escape into a good 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.
Listening to this right after Kitchen Confidential was a mistake. Anthony Bourdain loves being Anthony Bourdain and he really, really wants you to know it. Yawn. Remember when Metallica wrote really great songs, played hard and kicked a lot of ass? They were young, lean, hungry and desperate and it resulted in great work. Now they are fat, happy, art-collecting yuppies and it results in flabby crap (and Bob Seger covers?!). Well guess what, it's not just for metal bands anymore.
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!
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