Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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

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Overview

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.

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  • Anthony Bourdain
    Anthony Bourdain  

Editorial Reviews

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.”
BookPage
“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.”
New York Magazine's Grub Street
“Compulsively readable.”
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.”
Wall Street Journal
“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.”
Grub Street - New York Magazine
"Compulsively readable."
Denver Post
“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.”
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.”
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.”
Miami Herald
“This is Bourdain at his best. His food-porn vignettes are guaranteed to make your mouth water.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061998065
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 6,217
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega-bestseller Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour. He is the host of the popular television show No Reservations.

Biography

Like all great chefs, Anthony Bourdain is a true jack-of-all-trades. Just as a truly skilled chef would not limit himself to, say, cooking risotto, Bourdain has approached his writing career in much the same way. His repertoire consists of comedic crime novels, autobiographical travelogues, exposes, and historical explorations -- not to mention a collection of tasty recipes.

Bourdain's career has been characterized by more unexpected twists and turns than one would find in one of his novels. After the native New Yorker graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, he opened his own classic French Bistro, Brasserie Les Halles. However, never satisfied with simply traveling a single avenue, Bourdain tried his hand at penning a novel. The results were wholly unexpected: A witty, gritty mob tale set in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Bone in the Throat was published in 1995. Bourdain's second novel, Gone Bamboo, followed two years later, and once again the writer's innate knack for black humor was on full display. Publishers Weekly confidently christened him "a new master of the wiseass crime comedy."

Of course, by the time the public had placed Bourdain in a specific literary niche, he was already on to bigger game. In 1999, The New Yorker published "Don't Eat Before Reading This," his scathing exposé of conditions within certain New York restaurants. The article, which garnered wide attention, would ultimately evolve into the critically lauded full-length book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Bourdain brought the same cutting humor and confident swagger that marked his novels to his first nonfiction work, establishing a distinct voice that followed him from genre to genre. Jumping from memoir (The Nasty Bits) to biography (Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical) to culinary how-to (Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook), Bourdain served up his smartypants prose with the same skill he brought to his celebrated cuisine.

In the end, even as Bourdain continues to wear many hats -- master chef, restaurant entrepreneur, novelist, essayist, TV star -- his heart still lies in the kitchen. "When you've been a cook and chef for twenty-eight years, as I have, you never really look at the world from any other perspective," he told PreviewPort.com in 2002. "In many ways that's helpful with all the nonsense -- as one tends to have low expectations. For the time being -- I'm making it up as I go along and trying to enjoy the ride while it lasts."

Good To Know

When PreviewPort.com asked Bourdain who he would invite to "the ultimate dinner party," he responded with his typical deadpan flair, "Graham Greene, Iggy Pop, Kim Philby, Louise Brooks, Hede Massing" and would host it in "the squalid back room of the Siberia Bar in NYC."

You can add sitcom creator to Bourdain's long list of accomplishments. In 2005, FOX TV produced a comedy series based on his book Kitchen Confidential only to unceremoniously cancel the series before it even aired.

Bourdain can currently be seen traveling the world in search of the ultimate eating experience in his very own series Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Discovery Channel.

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

Table of Contents

The Sit Down xi

1 Selling Out 1

2 The Happy Ending 19

3 The Rich Eat Differently Than You and Me 25

4 I Drink Alone 43

5 So You Wanna Be a Chef 49

6 Virtue 59

7 The Fear 65

8 Lust 77

9 Meat 95

10 Lower Education 111

11 I'm Dancing 117

12 "Go Ask Alice" 127

13 Heroes and Villains 143

14 Alan Richman Is a Douchebag 163

15 "I Lost on Top Chef" 179

16 "It's Not You, It's Me" 191

17 The Fury 209

18 My Aim Is True 233

19 The Fish-on-Monday Thing 253

Still Here 269

Acknowledgments 283

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 363 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(127)

4 Star

(127)

3 Star

(62)

2 Star

(33)

1 Star

(14)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 366 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    a must read for any foody or fan!

    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.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

    Great book for chefs and foodies!

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Can't go wrong with this book

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

    A Disconnected Tasting Menu

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Not as good as previous books.

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2010

    Anthony, you have really outdone yourself..and no doubt a death knell for your talent...

    Such a vitriolic and snarky book! The only chapters worth reading were the ones of his joys of newfound fatherhood (and the McDonald's stuff, too- I admit, loved the subterfuge) and the rehash of all the stuff you had on previous programs that were outstanding. He cuts to the bone and sucks out the marrow on this one. Not your usual Bourdain. Sad to admit. Guess he is in a much different place now, and maybe that is good for him. There is a lot of good there, though- how nobody can afford anymore fancy, organic, artisimal foods, as things are now!! just feeding the family is a trial- and the pompous attitudes of restaruanteurs in that light.and how it's a downfall to them - ..we are in a different time now, and he did reflect that....but seriously, someday, would you want your daughter, Tony, reading this book? It's so daggone acidic and rife with your usual fbombs. Life is short, lighten up- you'll live a LOT longer! The writing is sterling Bourdain, very vivid and well writ- just so much acid in every page...no prilosec will make this palatable.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    The Bourdain style lives on!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Brilliant, but not Bourdain's best

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    Mildly amusing

    Nowhere near as insightful and funny as Kitchen Confidential. But a pleasant diversion for the most part. However, despite the fact that I nearly always finish the books I read, my interest petered out and I quit before the end. Wait 'till it hits the discount rack.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Meh

    I'm torn between loving this book and hating it. I love that he gives us some inside dish on what's going on at the food network and in various restaurants. I hate that he's so vulgar about things. He could've written this book and left out half the f__ks and douchebag comments. I mean really, what will his little girl think about daddy when she reads this? He uses the words under the guise of being truthful and edgey. It doesn't work for me. I do like some portions of it though but I should have read it for free at Barnes and Noble on my Nook instead of paying to download it. I think it was wasted money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    Bourdain

    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".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Pretty Decent--worth reading

    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 him.you'll hate the book. But if you loathe him & you are debating buying this book, then your obvious masochistic side will enjoy the read..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2010

    Trash

    Sad commentary to the fact that this will become a "Best Seller".

    1 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    If you liked "Kitchen Confidential"

    If you like Anthony Bourdain, "Kitchen Confidential" or anything he does, you will enjoy the easy read "Medium Raw." Updates of his life and opinions, and good behind the scenes outlook. Makes me want watch him as judge on "Top Chef".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    He did it again.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2014

    What an a$$h01e

    I wouldn't drop a dime on this on this idiot!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Good book

    Great book & very interesting life this man has had. Wow!

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  • Posted April 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    "Build, therefore, your own world." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    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).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Anonymous

    Not great has bad words

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Another good one

    Another well written book! Its a great follow up on his story and Anthony lays it all out there again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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