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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings


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  • Sparkly
  • SF, CA, United States
  • 10-09-12

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.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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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 never know where you will end up, and the journey can be so interesting....well done! Great narration and great story....

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Allan
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 06-13-11

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • WASHINGTON, DC, United States
  • 04-10-13

Fun read of a lush life

This was a really fun listen and at times I laughed out loud. This is my first Anthony Bourdain book, so I don't know how it compares to his more famous book.
Did I learn anything? Not really. This book is one where you just sit back and enjoy the ride and it is a fun ride that goes to various parts of the world and US. It is also like sitting at the bar with the world 2nd most interesting man as he spins tales about crazy girlfriends, lucky jobs, and life enjoyably wasted on booze and drugs.
I've seen criticisms about authors reading their own books, this is one of those things where the author does a really good job.
To truly enjoy this book, belly up to the bar, or sit out on the patio with a drink and a nice app.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • Montvale, NJ, USA
  • 07-22-10

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.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Sophia
  • HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA, United States
  • 12-27-11

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.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful