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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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  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-26-10
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-26-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "entertaining but not as good as kitchen conf."

    I downloaded this book because Kitchen Confidential is one of my all-time favorites. If you're a food geek, you'll definitely like this one, however, for me it was seemed like chapter after chapter of Bourdain getting on one soap box after another. That said, there's a bunch of snark and humorous rants he goes on so I enjoyed the listen overall.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Montvale, NJ, USA 07-22-10
    Thomas Montvale, NJ, USA 07-22-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written, well read and thought provoking"

    What more is there to say about an audio book? Anthony Bourdain is outspoken and passionate. He writes about food and the food industry intending to inform and entertain. He does this with humor and perception. Tony introduces you to a world that is deeper and more important than many people give credit to - a world just as prominent in politics as it is in high society. He makes you think about what he is telling you and challenges you to draw your own conclusions.

    My only gripe - lay off the four letter words.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sparkly SF, CA, United States 10-09-12
    Sparkly SF, CA, United States 10-09-12

    interested in history, science, and pulp fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly tender."

    I loved Kitchen Confidential, in part because it was the story of a punk rock underdog from Manhattan, a demographic close to my heart and history. Occasionally over the years I have wondered how success and maturity have affected Bourdain, and this book answered most of my questions. Bourdain narrates, which is all important. The chapters on the dissolution of his marriage and his grappling with fame were moving, and quite sad. I found it laudable that he has the ability to admit that he's a jerk and has been wrong about a lot of things. And the section on the fish expert at Le Bernardin is just amazingly good journalism. Yes, he can be a strident, opinionated blowhard, but I think that's part of his charm. His devotion to cooking (and cooks) is infectious.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophia HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA, United States 12-27-11
    Sophia HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA, United States 12-27-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great to read, great to hear."
    Would you listen to Medium Raw again? Why?

    Yes, I already listened to it twice. I have incredibly long commutes to and from work. Listening to Bourdain's book in the car helped me survive my worst commuting week of the year. His story is so unique and fascinting and his writing so honest, thought-provoking, and funny that listening to him narrate it just feels right.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Anthony Bourdain is my favorite character because of his depth and humor. Justo Thomas, Ottavia Bourdain, and Fergus Henderson have such important roles and are described so grandly it is hard not to admire them.


    What does Anthony Bourdain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Bourdain's narration taught me that reading and listening are totally different experiences. I had already read and was a fan of Bourdain's story. I didn't think that the audiobook would add anything to my experience but decided to try it out before I gifted it to a friend. Listening made me appreciate the story even more. It was also great to finally learn the correct pronunciation of various places and things.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I could probably have listened to it all in a couple of sittings, because nine hours is a bit long. My listening was interrupted only by work and the end of an exhausting commute. But because it was the only thing I listened to in my car it took less than a week for me to finish.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan T 08-11-10
    Nathan T 08-11-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great from snout to tail..."

    Really enjoyed this book. Funny, barbed, and insightful in ways that go beyond "foodiedom", this book frequently had me in stitches. If you like food, are fascinated by the inner workings of the restaurant business (told in a tell-it-like-you-see-it style) you can't go wrong with this. Bourdain never ceases to provide food for thought, be it bad food or good.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PKsweets CA 07-16-10
    PKsweets CA 07-16-10 Member Since 2004

    A reader from day 1 now a listener too! Remember honesty in a review does help you decide, even if you don't agree!

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    "I like it......well done!"

    This is the continuation of Kitchen Confidential...and also a review of sorts of many of the heavy hitters in the food business...from the Restaurants to the TV shows....a insightful background story that is always entertaining and even though it is NSFW, it delivers a great life lesson....you never know where you will end up, and the journey can be so interesting....well done! Great narration and great story....

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan 08-22-10
    susan 08-22-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tony does it again..."

    Enjoyable, if somewhat strident at times, this book catches readers up on the life of the author (and his antics) and recaps the lives of people covered in other books. Very enjoyable book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-13-10 Member Since 2009

    audioreader

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    "a decent sequel"

    This sequel to Kitchen Confidential is very good, but Bourdain's ego and opinions get a little bloated and tedious. However, when he begins to berate the Food Network, it is the best. definietly download if you like his first book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-13-11
    Allan Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-13-11 Member Since 2010
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    "fantastic entertainment"

    Anthony Bourdain observes and reports with an edgy wit peppered with just the right blend of erudition and four-letter words. There is not a boring moment in this and you'll easily listen to it twice. It does meander slightly and its hard to discern an overall theme- but you'll be so hypnotized by the stream of ideas and wit that you won't notice this.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Austin, TX, United States 09-07-10
    James Austin, TX, United States 09-07-10
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    "An easy choice, buy this book!"

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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