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

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  17,005 ratings  ·  1,732 reviews
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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Hardcover, 281 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Ecco (first published January 1st 2010)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
26th out of 642 books — 1,215 voters
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainMy Greek Traditional Cook Book 1 by Anna OthitisThe Last Chinese Chef by Nicole MonesMedium Raw by Anthony BourdainHeat by Bill Buford
Great Books about Food
4th out of 146 books — 88 voters


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Community Reviews

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RandomAnthony
I like Anthony Bourdain in part because he admits the mini-empire he’s created is a good paying gig and he feels fortunate to have landed it. Bourdain’s a paradox in that his street-level authenticity is one of his strengths but, at the same time, he admits he’s loaded and gets all the privileges associated with his celebrity. While he self-depreciates with the best of them he’s also not nearly off the cuff, I think, as he’d like his fans to believe. He’s like a less-frantic Klosterman except wi...more
Carolynz
This is one of the most self absorbed hypocritical books I had the ridiculousness to finish (ever?).

I've watched many seasons of his television shows, I've enjoyed his other books, but the high school name dropping review of the culinary world (you're in, your're out) kind of did me in with a sour aftertaste. The bizarre chapter where he describes in great detail his life with his daughter on the NYC Upper East side (I demand that you take that Ramones shirt off right now!) , constant need to p...more
Will Mclaughlin
An image of Tony Bourdain has been carefully cultivated by publishers, producers and Bourdain himself; this punk rock loving, hard drinking, two pack a day sacred cow killing rebel who suffers no fools and and takes no bullshit. Look no further than the cover of this book which features Bourdain staring out imperiously while handling the pointiest end of a knife. And to a certain extent the image is earned. But Medium Raw shatters that image in many ways.

The standard Bourdain tropes are here: A...more
Greg
I'll admit it--I'm not much of a foodie, and I've never been a close follower of Anthony Bourdain. I've seen a few great episodes of "No Reservations," but I've never gotten around to reading Kitchen Confidential. There's no doubt, however, that the man can write. Fans will undoubtedly salivate over Medium Raw, a book that is less a linear narrative and more a series of essays, some of them personal (about his new family life, for instance) but most of them taking aim at the modern food world: t...more
Juliet Doubledee
Chalk one up to Anthony Bourdain once again, as he presents a witty and insightful view of the culinary world. In Medium Raw Bourdain discusses the changes that have taken place in the subculture of chefs and cooks, the restaurant business, and in his own life during the ten years since her banged out his mega best selling book, Kitchen Confidential .

Bourdain admits no longer can he call himself "chef", especially after filming an episode of "No Reservations" in which he went back to his old st...more
Alex
Mar 08, 2013 Alex rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
"How long that sort of douche-oriented economy survives is questionable."

Not my favorite of Bourdain's books. He's really mastered this weird little game he plays where he starts off by savaging one celebrity chef or another and then backtracks utterly, excusing all the things he just hated on and concluding that they're not so bad after all.

What fun is that?

Bourdain at his best has something worthwhile to say about the importance of food and the value of embracing different cultures through eat...more
Dave
By now, pretty much anyone with an interest in popular culture, food or books knows who Anthony Bourdain is. With his wildly successful debut nonfiction title, Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain burst onto the literary scene with an acerbic, profane and hilarious voice all his own. Lambasting the industry he made a career in for 28 years while at the same time baring his own addictions and shortcomings, Bourdain rightly became a darling of the very people he tore apart. He translated this success in...more
Jenn Ravey
I am not a foodie. I am the exact opposite of a foodie. I don’t plan out restaurants when I travel. I love food; however, I’m one of the pickiest eaters you’ll meet. But I love love love Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations. I guess because, unlike some foodies, he genuinely seems to enjoy what he eats – without reservation.

Medium Raw is just what you’d expect from Bourdain: a series of rants, raves, and love notes to the food, its industry, and its people, and I loved every second of i...more
James Thane
Ten years after his surprising best seller, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Anthony Bourdain has perhaps mellowed a bit, but happily only a bit. In Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, the former chef turned-critic and global traveler surveys the current state of the food and restaurant world.

As always, Bourdain is witty and profane, and he rarely pulls a punch as he takes on topics ranging from the Food Network, to the fast fo...more
The Holy Terror
Book: ★ ★ ½
Narration: ★ ★ ★ ½

I love watching Bourdain's TV shows. I especially love it when he's a judge on Top Chef. I also love to read when he blogs about the show too. For some reason though, his books end up being sort of mediocre. I only got through half of Kitchen Confidential before I gave up and moved onto something else. I keep telling myself I'll come back to it someday, but I'm really not sure I will. I ended up listening to this book on audio, and I think that might be the way to go...more
jenn
Man, I have the worst role models. Whatever. I love this guy.

I listened to this as an audiobook, which was fun - though I'm so used to Tony's voice right now, I don't think I missed much by reading Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly on my Kindle. Narration aside, I think Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook is a better book. Tony names names this time around, and most of his subjects are well-known nationally or internationally, as...more
David
There are some great moments and typical entertaining chapters by Tony in this one...but there are also some moments that don't grab you. The wit is always there to urge others to read this still, as I would recommend.
Ron
This collection is a bit slapdash -- the chapters hang together more on the strength of Bourdain's personality than on the thematic links from one to the next -- but when your personality is as strong as Anthony Bourdain's, it works. There's some great stuff here about what he likes in the contemporary food world, as well as who he doesn't--the chapter skewering Alice Waters is a classic rant, and it's not even half as potent as the one titled, simply, "Alan Richman Is a Douchebag." (As a balanc...more
Lauren
Oh Tony! you have so much to offer: pithy observations, thoughtful commentary on a host of subjects... and then you devolve into talking shit about (almost) everyone. Sure, that's some of your charm - you say it like it is, you snark, you are lovingly curmudgeonly - but a few times in reading this book that I just skipped ... and skipped over few chapters. Too much bad jou jou with all the mud-slinging.

You had some great tales to tell: island hopping with the "old money" crazy girl, teaching yo...more
Vegantrav
Anthony Bourdain is notorious for his loathing of and snide comments about vegetarians and vegans, so why would I, a strict vegan, be reading his new book?

I like Bourdain. I like his writing style, his attitude, and his sense of humor. And I do take a gossip’s perverse enjoyment in reading all the nasty comments he makes about the other celebrity chefs and cooks that he hates.

Additionally, I really enjoyed his first book, Kitchen Confidential, which was a great, authentic look, from an insider,...more
Bryce
I’d recently made reservations for the fried chicken dinner at Momofuku Noodle Shop, so I felt undeniably smug while reading this book. “I’m going to a David Chang restaurant!” I thought “I’m part of the scene Anthony Bourdain’s talking about!”

Well, not really.

I’m a fairly proficient home cook. Sometimes, I’m downright impressive. I try to buy good ingredients and I’m not afraid to experiment. I go to restaurants regularly, sometimes very good ones. But I’m not a “foodie.” And I’m definitely n...more
Joe
Nov 26, 2011 Joe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This is the sort of book I buy when I become overloaded with literary novels, and then, a few chapters in, become so impatient with the writing and style that I angrily speed read clumps of pages, unable to let any book go, no matter how silly it becomes. Fortunately, the best of Bourdain can justify this passive-aggressive self-flagellation; his stories remain first rate, and he has an ability to describe, not food, but the pleasure of eating food, with unbeatable allure.

The two chapters that...more
Melissa
Let’s get this out up front: The F bomb is ABUNDANT in Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. It’s how he has made a living – first as a foul mouth chef, now as a foul mouth TV travel host. The F Bomb is so copious that if it were buck-shot loaded into a shot gun and fired at the book, all you would have left hanging from the spine was a few tattered pages that looked a lot like Swiss cheese. But if you have read his first book, Kitchen Confidential, or followed his TV show, you would know this – so I w...more
Lena
Oct 24, 2010 Lena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
It's been ten years since Tony first wrote Kitchen Confidential, his snarky, foul-mouthed exposé/memoir about the restaurant industry in New York. A lot has happened to Tony since that book was published, and a lot has happened to the American food scene as well. Medium Raw is a collection of essays in which Tony muses in his traditional, foul-mouthed tone about the good, the bad and the ugly in both of those arenas.

Those who enjoy Tony's particular blend of sharp insight, food passion and color...more
Giovanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natali
This book is often irrelevant but ultimately a good time. Bourdain is such a fun writer and does hyperbole so comically that you can't help but laugh the entire time, even if you don't know the people he is talking about half the time. However! When you DO know who he is talking about, it is usually a Food Network star. He takes the absolute piss out of the network and anyone who has ever been on their air. It is delicious cruelty. (Pun intended.)

If you've ever been perplexed about why the Food...more
Adam
Alright, the rating's pretty generous. But the chapters on David Chang, meat, and the rich alone make up for the book's faults. There are other great moments, too.

But about the rich people. I've been around some decent rich people, but there's this thing that seems to happen with either the ultra-rich or those who look up to the ultra-rich that is just fucking unbelievable. These loathsome fucks are so consumed with concern about showing the world that they have taste that they never bother deve...more
Laura Florand
Not as strong a read as Kitchen Confidential (some parts were a bit repetitive of that book, and the whole structure was more a collection of essays or riffs that didn't seem as tightly connected as the first). But at the same time, still very worth reading. Bourdain has a compelling voice and strong opinions that offer a very fun perspective on the world of food. And I liked also how this book offered additional perspective on Kitchen Confidential. (How he calls a lot of his younger self's conv...more
Anna
Dec 28, 2013 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013, apl
Entertaining as in how expected.
It's been a long time since Kitchen Confidential, and Bourdain has grown up quite a bit. Yet he's still sufficiently angry to at least entertain you.
Yet Medium Raw is a good title. Not just how he likes his steaks, but also for the writing. Some parts were medium and some more raw than the others. The more medium and elaborated parts included e.g. what has changed since Kitchen Confidential was published (like the Monday fish thing. Go ahead, order it, it's ok now...more
AmberBug
Medium Raw was not as impressive as his first book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which I absolutely fell in love with. I enjoyed his witty dialogue that seems to be a consistent style of Bourdain, however the topic wasn't my cup of tea. I consider myself a bit of a "foodie" and have been called a "food snob" by others, I also find myself watching cooking show and challenges but don't have an extensive working knowledge of the chefs in the business. Bourdain tells h...more
Dean
Most food celebs of Bourdain's stature would be content to rest on their laurels and take the easy road to nirvanaville - but Bourdain being Bourdain decides to crank up the volume, exceeding even the screeching levels of his incendiary 'Kitchen Confidential' in this no-holds barred diatribe of things that Bourdain finds right and (mostly) wrong in today's food scene.

Reading through this book is like sitting with Bourdain and his closest chums in an after-hours watering hole while he unleashes h...more
Lit Fest Magazine
Full disclosure: I want to lick Anthony Bourdain's frontal lobe. Not in a sexy way – because after reading Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, I'm a little afraid of his wife, Ottavia – but in a purely intellectual way. Mostly. Since discovering his Travel Channel show, No Reservations, I've been fascinated, as have millions of others, by this tall, pierced, hard-worn man eating his way through the nightlife of other countries, spreading the Travel Channe...more
Kasa Cotugno
Culinary's supercool bad boy has defnitely not mellowed despite wallowing in gushy fatherhood. After his harrowing experiences in Beirut, he made the decision to have his first child at the age of 50, and while having a young daughter has shifted his tone to a degree, it did not change his overall perspective, his overall disdain of hypocrisy as well as his hatreds involving what he calls the increasing fetishization of food. His heroes are such for good reason, as well as his villains. For inst...more
Dan
As far as I'm concerned, Bourdain lives a lifestyle that is pure envy: goin' to foreign lands on other people's dime, snackin' with reckless abandon, and pretty much just getting paid to have an opinion and swear.

Your enjoyment of Medium Raw will increase logarithmically depending on whether or not you really like food, whether or not you read Kitchen Confidential, and whether or not you live in New York City. So, let's review this in those three parts.

If you like food, you'll enjoy some of th...more
Will
This is a very difficult review. Some chapters deserve two stars, some deserve five plus. Overall it was entertaining in a ranting sort of way. I expect Bourdain's books to have his rants, this one at times droned on. There were rants that seemed as if the Tony of old was ranting about the new Tony, a kinder, gentler, fatherly Tony. If you do read this book, which in the end I would suggest that you do... read Kitchen Confidential first. This is the post-script to that book... you will not have...more
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Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the megabestsellers 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.
More about Anthony Bourdain...
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Stategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

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“We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores, blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.” 79 likes
“PETA doesn't want stressed animals to be cruelly crowded into sheds, ankle-deep in their own crap, because they don't want any animals to die-ever-and basically think chickens should, in time, gain the right to vote. I don't want animals stressed or crowded or treated cruelly or inhumanely because that makes them probably less delicious.” 61 likes
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