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

Anthony Bourdain
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 2 2011 P.S.

Medium Raw marks the return of the inimitable Anthony Bourdain, author of the blockbuster bestseller Kitchen Confidential and three-time Emmy Award-nominated host of No Reservations on TV’s Travel Channel. Bourdain calls his book, “A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook,” and he is at his entertaining best as he takes aim at some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, Alice Waters, the Top Chef winners and losers, and many more. If Hunter S. Thompson had written a book about the restaurant business, it could have been Medium Raw.


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Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook + Nasty Bits, The + Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
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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.” (New York Times Book Review)

“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.” (Austin American-Statesman)

“This is Bourdain at his best. His food-porn vignettes are guaranteed to make your mouth water.” (Miami Herald)

“Compulsively readable.” (New York Magazine's Grub Street)

“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.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL author is a father now, but he hasn’t cleaned up his language, lost his zesty appetite or his critical zing.” (Time Magazine)

“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.” (BookPage)

“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)

“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)

From the Back Cover

An instant New York Times bestseller and the follow-up to the mega-hit Kitchen Confidential

In the ten years since Anthony Bourdain's 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 tracks Bourdain's unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, in a series of takes-no-prisoners confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.

Beginning with a secret, 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. 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; the revered Alice Waters; the Top Chef contestants; and many more. Medium Raw is the deliciously funny, shockingly delectable result, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, honest, and a whole lot of swearing July 8 2010
By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There two things that might put off readers from this book. First, the opening dinner is not something most people would approve of. I didn't. Second, even I learned some new ways to cuss and swear from this book! That and the subject material means this isn't a book for the faint of heart.

So who is this book for? It's for anyone who wants an honest look at the world of food. From the chef point of view, from the TV/Food Network point of view, from the marketing point of view, from the failed/disaster point of view, from the restaurant point of view, and from the "eater" point of view. Bourdain is brutally honest. With himself as well as with those he talks about. His point about selling out was particularly poignant. He used to look down on other chefs for selling out to ads for cookware, or toothpaste. Then he realized it was his ego talking, as he ultimately was willing to sell out. It's all a matter of price, and he uses the famous joke about a man propositioning a woman for a million dollars. If you don't know how it ends, you will after reading this book.

Bourdain covers a huge range of topics in a reflective look at the world of cooking. There's a lot of personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences in this book. But he also dishes out plenty of information on other people in the business. Some of them by name (e.g., Rachel Ray, Mario Batalli, Emeril, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay), some by reference that insider chefs will certainly clue into. He strays into philosophical territory not just over money, but over the ethics of eating meat, running a restaurant, and the general ethics of eating.

The book is written in a very approachable way, and I found it both fun and easy to breeze through it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good as A Chef's Tour July 10 2010
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. I'm a big Anthony Bourdain fan, but I was very disappointed with his earlier collection, "The Nasty Bits" (which seemed like just a random collection of essays and articles, and not his best work). I had decided to wait for the paperback edition of this book, since I feared it would be more than the same. My wife bought Medium Raw for me as a gift, however, and I devoured it in about a day.

This is a combination of anecdotes and AB's thoughts on various topics. He really bares his soul - some of what is in here is really shocking, including his seriously debauched lifestyle and thoughts of suicide following the breakup of his first marriage after the success of Kitchen Confidential; however these things aren't there for shock value - he puts them in context and really tries to explore his motivations. Most of the book is about food-related topics, of course, so it is a good read for anyone who has enjoyed his earlier books.

Lots of funny lines, some brilliant insights, and tons of good food for thought.

This book is right up there with Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour . For new readers, however, I would recommend reading them in order.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great author. Oct. 17 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
God damn Anthony Bourdain!! He's an amazing author and host. So far I have read all of his book and watched all of his shows. Everything from his style to dark humour is unique and interesting. Very blunt and descriptive
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bonus: mine was a signed copy. July 31 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I feel like I have touched fame. And the book was a fun read, I nodded with agreement many times.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A BAG OF LEFTOVERS... April 10 2012
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Say what you want about this book, the author's passion for food shines through. So, foodies will love much about this book. Those who enjoy being in the know about restaurateurs and chefs will also be over the moon with this book. Those who enjoy a well-written book, however, will be disappointed.

Written as a series of essays that don't necessarily mesh and filled with four letter expletives throughout, the book is a bit of a slog. Our potty-mouthed author could certainly have used the services of a good editor to give this book a little more polish. It is written as if the author needed money and dashed off this book, a jumble of thoughts not all that cohesively put together.

While the author's innate, self-deprecating charm comes through, and he certainly has a lot of inside poop and opinions on many of the dominant figures in the world of chefs and restaurants, it somehow gets a little lost in his stream of consciousness approach to this book. Consequently, the author and the book come off as self-indulgent rather than colorful.

If you are a foodie, you will want to read this book. Do yourself a favor, however, and borrow it from the library rather than buy it.
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