Medium Raw

A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
Narrated by: Anthony Bourdain
Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8,387 ratings)

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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 listeners say about Medium Raw

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

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

33 people found this helpful

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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.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

21 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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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).

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

13 people found this helpful

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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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Gavin Colleran
  • 09-09-19

Tony at his finest

really enjoyable. very similar to when he did No Reservations. would highly recommend this audio book

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  • Cliente de Amazon
  • 08-07-18

great story tellong by Anthony

it was great story telling though at timea I didn't know much about the stories themselves it was well worh listening