Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
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Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

3.9 336
by Anthony Bourdain

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The long-awaited follow-up to the megabestseller Kitchen Confidential

In the ten 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


The long-awaited follow-up to the megabestseller Kitchen Confidential

In the ten 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 these 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.

And 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.

Editorial Reviews

Grub Street - New York Magazine
"Compulsively readable."
USA Today
PRAISE FOR KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL: “The kind of book you read in one sitting, then rush about annoying your coworkers by declaiming whole passages.”
Miami Herald
“This is Bourdain at his best. His food-porn vignettes are guaranteed to make your mouth water.”
Wall Street Journal
“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.”
Time Magazine
“The KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL author is a father now, but he hasn’t cleaned up his language, lost his zesty appetite or his critical zing.”
Denver Post
“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry . . . you’re gonna love it.”
New York Magazine
“Utterly riveting, swaggering with stylish machismo and precise ear for kitchen patois.”
“Bourdain is back with more intriguing food fights, moving further from the kitchen into the eating industry. [Bourdain’s] dissections...are still as hilarious, as scatological and as spot-on as ever....his fare—and his prose—is still quite spicy.”
Austin American-Statesman
“Like a stinky fish sauce from his beloved Vietnam, [Bourdain’s] appeal among the food die-hards has only grown stronger and more pungent over time, and this book will only solidify that adoration.”
New York Magazine's Grub Street
“Compulsively readable.”
Michael Dirda
…Bourdain's prose at his wildest can sound like Hunter S. Thompson's, yet he can also produce much quieter work, such as "My Aim Is True," a brilliant portrait of Justo Thomas, the man who fillets the fish for Le Bernardin, New York's great seafood restaurant. A.J. Liebling couldn't have done it better. Above all, when you read Bourdain, you never quite know what's going to happen in the next sentence, but you can be sure you're in for a treat, a shock, a surprise…Anyone who starts the book is liable to lose all control and simply gobble it right up. I certainly did.
—The Washington Post
New York Times Book Review
“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.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)


Meet the Author

Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the megabestseller Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour. His work has appeared in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and he is a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He is the host of the popular television show No Reservations.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
June 25, 1956
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
High school diploma, Dwight Englewood School, 1973; A.O.S. degree, The Culinary Institute of America, 1978

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Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 337 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
as a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, it's hard to not want to give this book a perfect score just based on bias, but please do not be fooled; it was earned. Tony once again gives us a provocative and insightful view of a world many of us have never, will never, and plain just do not want to experience. ranting about chefs that are friends and enemies, and giving us ample explanation as to why. while reading this book you won't be able to help but to chortle at Bourdain's witty banter and harsh remarks, his true to being, in your face, writing style. his books are always a joy to read because they are so REAL, he doesn't tip toe around gentle topics, he pressed them into your face like so many a cream pie in the days before color television. The most enchanting chapter, oddly enough, is the one where he writes about his love for his daughter. you'd never think this man has a warm squishy interior, but there it is, smeared across so many pages of a published novel. this book is a quick read, not because it's short, just because it's hard to put down. even if you've yet to read Kitchen Confidential this book will still appeal- as it is the Tony of today, not the Tony of 10 years past, still slaving behind hot stoves in crowded kitchens. it's just an honor, I feel, that Mr. Bourdain would pen out his most intimate truths for us, his fans. it's truly an eye opening book, and a sordid glimpse at the life of another human being.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. A lot of people trash this book in the reviews, but as a culinary student I have greatly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. He has no problem speaking his mind. He talks about why Emeril is still on TV, why Bobby Flay loses almost every throwdown, whether or not you should become a chef, about the liquor bottles behind the judges table on Top Chef, and many other interesting things that only true foodies can appreciate. If you love to cook or eat, pick this book up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Anthony's books. I am a foody and just love his shows and honesty. Medium Raw is Raw. I grew up in NY and traveled a lot to the city for shows and dinner it was great to read an honest book about the behind the scenes of a chefand restaurant from Kitchen Confidential to Medium Raw. Buy this book and lend it to someone else.
goguins66 More than 1 year ago
I like Anthony Bourdain, a lot. I love when he is a judge on Top Chef, and I think No Reservations is clever and insightful. "Medium Raw" did have a lot of what I have come to expect from Bourdain - wit, intelligence, ranting, and an inside look at a culinary world that I salivate over. That said, it felt at times like one of the tasting menus that Mr. Bourdain himself complains about...disjointed and overdone. I expect that most readers look forward to his anger, but I found his chapter regarding fatherhood hilarious and touching. In fact, there seems to be a kinder, gentler Bourdain eeking through...which isn't really a bad thing. On a negative side, I felt that some chapters just didn't belong...there was no real flow to the stream of consciousness. Speaking of streams...a little more editing would have protected the reader for spans of writing overkill. However,even if I didn't completely clean my plate, there were enough delicious moments to make the meal worthwhile.
Steves_View More than 1 year ago
This edition of the wit,sarcasm, insight and observations that made his prvious sojourns in to the world of chiefs and food so entertainng is present in this his latest effort. I am not sure what it is that exactly keeps me coming back to his books. The time I spend with his work can certainly be used in a more productive way to solve the problems of mankind. I guess I am drawn to his reads so I can step into a world of words where an honest interpretation of events is presented with no appology or pretense. I must admit I may not always agree with his spin on things but I do appreciate his pair bones, lay it all on the line style. Medium Raw continues to entertain and inform. I do hope there is a well done version on the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Avid readers of Bourdain will appreciate the familiar wit and salty charm of the author as he sways from cultural commentary to food critic and back again, but fresh inductees beware, there are better places to begin your love affair with Tony. Like an old friend recalling past travels, Bourdain's tone is intimate and his surly humor takes no prisoners, which may be off-putting to those who are not initiated in his ways. Try Kitchen Confidential or perhaps another collection of his essays if you're new to the under-belly; for those more familiar, jump on in, the water is fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed A Cooks Tour and Kitchen Confidential, but this one is just a conglomeration of irrelevant ramblings. His excessive use of the F word only tends to distract from his point. I assume he had a point but I must have missed it. Tony is not at his best. If you haven't read anything by Bourdain, I would suggest anything else other than this book.
texaz More than 1 year ago
Years ago I left the restaurant industry to pursue a more "stable" career path. I loved the business and there are lots of times where I truly miss it. I miss the enthusiasm, the adrenaline rush of a busy night, I miss the interesting cast of characters, and I miss the FOOD! If you are a fellow expat of the restaurant/hospitality industry, you will love this book. I read and related to Bourdain's book, "Kitchen Confidential", and this was a fantastic follow up. It was good to see that time has mellowed some of Tony's emotions, but it was also good to see that good, raw honesty that is still rooted in him. This book, especially Chapter 5, should be required reading for anyone considering a career in the business.
maggieMILLER More than 1 year ago
I preferred Nasty Bits to Medium Raw. Anthony seems to be off his game in this one. Still love his tv shows and his off the wall sense of humor. Gets a "pass".
Infinity-plus-1 More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read "Kitchen Confidential" this book will make you want to read it. This book is typical Bourdain. He gives you an inside look at the culinary world, without the romanticism & with a good helping of grit on the side. "Medium Raw" is filled with rants, provocative stories, food porn, promoting his buddy chefs, & so much more. I frequently found myself reading paragraphs out loud to my husband, & he was equally entertained (also a Bourdain fan). If you know you like Bourdain, you'll like the book. If you loathe'll hate the book. But if you loathe him & you are debating buying this book, then your obvious masochistic side will enjoy the read..
Anonymous 7 months ago
Another deeply detailed account of a chef's life from Tony's POV. He is funny, entertaining, and very knowledgeable about food. He makes no appologies for his past errors in life but has grown and moved on. If you like him and watched him on TV, then you'll enjoy the book.
smg5775 7 months ago
He tells of what is happening in high end restaurants now as well as the television end of it. It was interesting when I knew who he was talking about when he talks of Food Network people. Not as interesting as he talks about chefs in high end restaurants. He does say what is happening to the high end restaurant now that the economy is not as good as it was. He also explains why the chefs open additional restaurants and what money is spent on when you go to a restaurant. Fascinating look at the food industry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were times when I put this book down and didn't want to bother with any more, but I'm glad that I stuck with it because parts were interesting and enlightening. When Bourdain starts throwing around the raw language in sentence after sentence, ranting like a spoiled 5-year-old, the book isn't worth the effort. But at other times, I found myself enjoying his intelligence and insight, such as when he describes the line-cook's heart-pumping thrill of the nightly dinner service and the decompression afterward. He's an excellent writer when he isn't trying to shock. Go for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a hilariously gritty, endearing, and slap-your-neighbor rant. I couldn't devour it all in one sitting because it was just too overwhelming. Reading this book is like listening to your drunk father describing how emasculating it is to have had a vasectomy, but he still has bigger huevos than your boyfriend. Horrifyingly real and snort inducing. I'm impressed once again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book & very interesting life this man has had. Wow!
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mpsarch More than 1 year ago
Usually, I'm a larger fan of fiction - Anthony's "Get Jiro!", for instance, was an exceptional graphic novel that was able to marry violent-food-passion with violent-food-comedy. Fortunately, for me, Anthony's pencil has the same feel for every reader, no matter what the genre is! "Medium Raw" is a no-reservations-travel-log of Anthony's past and all who played a significant role in his life. But wait - it's more than just that; it's also about his thoughts on food education, the distinguishing factors of how the rich eat differently than everyone else, how not to waste food, and multiple short stories that paint a rather larger composition whose canvas material, I feel, no one will ever know. Do yourself a favor - get some really good cheese from your LOCAL wine and cheese shop, get your most raggedy clothes on, have cigarettes available (smoke 'em if you got e'm!), and read this book. It only takes a day or so, and it will be the best food-medicine you've ever had (without actually anatomically digesting, that is).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago