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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  28,743 ratings  ·  2,482 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 businessand for Anthony Bourdain.

Medium Raw explores these changes, moving back and forth from the author's bad old days t

Hardcover, 281 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Ecco
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Joey Nardinelli I imagine doing lots of drugs would indeed spoil your experience of reading the book.


It's much more backgrounded than in Kitchen Confidential,…more
I imagine doing lots of drugs would indeed spoil your experience of reading the book.


It's much more backgrounded than in Kitchen Confidential, as a comparison, but it's still definitely there. (less)

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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  28,743 ratings  ·  2,482 reviews

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Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, audiobook
"Order the fucking fish on Monday."

Although Medium Raw isn't, technically speaking, a sequel to Anthony Bourdain's first collection of restaurant industry-related essays, it's definitely a companion volume - to the point where if you read Medium Raw without first having read Kitchen Confidential, you're not really getting the full experience. Kitchen Confidential was a brash, cranky, profanity-filled collection of essays detailing the ugly ins and outs of the restaurant industry and the people w
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Theresa Alan
I love Anthony Bourdain’s wit, and I loved his shows Parts Unknown and no reservations. However, I didn’t love this book because it felt even more disjointed than Kitchen Confidential, a book I enjoyed. The book is made up of a series of essays slapped together in no cohesive progression.

There are funny bits, and because I’m a fan, the biographical parts interest me. Particularly in light of him taking his own life, reading about his self-destructive behavior before he quit abusing drugs many y
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anthony Bourdain. I like his show and I like the way he writes.

He has a no holds barred way of writing about what he thinks. Medium Raw is like a string of rants. Great material here on how he feels about certain chefs(good, bad, new, and seasoned) and especially the Food Network. I didn't understand his grievance with Food Network since that's where he started, but I get it now. He writes a little about his travels and how humbling it is to be fed in some places where there is almost nothing.
"I have long believed that it is only right and appropriate that before one sleeps with someone, one should be able—if called upon to do so—to make them a proper omelet in the morning. Surely that kind of civility and selflessness would be both good manners and good for the world. Perhaps omelet skills should be learned at the same time you learn to fuck. Perhaps there should be an unspoken agreement that in the event of loss of virginity, the more experienced of the partners should, afterward, ...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

I have mixed feelings about this book.

On one hand, I really liked parts of it. I loved hearing Anthony Bourdain narrate the story, which he did expertly. All those years of talking on TV have taught him to how to deliver lines flawlessly, and it shows. It's just like listening to him on TV, which made it easy, fun listening. I also laughed at some of his stories, really enjoying Tony when he feels his most real and down and dirty.

However, parts of the story also annoyed me a great deal. I live
Will Mclaughlin
Nov 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Medium Raw is a great book for a foodie like me. I'm a fan of Bourdain's and especially enjoyed listening to the audiobook since he's the narrator. Every curse word is uttered with terrific emphasis, and he never pronounces anything related to the restaurant business incorrectly.

But it's not all about any angry guy telling you about the people who piss him off. Bourdain talks about the relationships people have with food today, and what they pass on to their kids. More directly, he thinks paren
Jun 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: food-drink, essays
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
Juliet Doubledee
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: foodie, biography
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
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After finally getting to “Kitchen Confidential” earlier this month, I couldn’t wait to get to this one. I so rarely read an author (any author) back to back, but couldn’t help myself. I could listen to chef tell stories all day long. His musings on food and the people who prepare it are endlessly fascinating to me.

Watch out though, if you get on his bad side, chef has zero problem calling you out. I laughed out loud when he called The Food Network “The empire of mediocrity successfully spreading
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-e-book
Well, I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to review this book before I'm finished with it. I loved Anthony Bourdain. When he committed suicide I was stunned, and heartbroken. I have a rule about famous people that I love, and that is that if I love their works, I tend to ignore them personally. I've found that I can go decades being a fan of...whomever, just so long as I don't meet them, or see them interviewed. It keeps my good thoughts of them intact! My favorite person ...more
Book: ★ ★
Narration: ★ ★ ★

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 w
James Thane
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
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
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, fiftyfiftyme
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
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
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you liked "Kitchen Confidential" you will like Bourdain's latest installment of life in the food world, "Medium Raw". Although 10 years has past since "Kitchen Confidential" exploded onto bestseller lists worldwide, and much in Bourdain's personal and professional life has changed (travel, TV shows, new wife, a daughter, fame, financial stability) he nonetheless maintains a hip edginess in his writing style which keeps the reader engaged and entertained. Despite his insistence that he has mel ...more
Laura Florand
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this audiobook; maybe not as much as Kitchen Confidential, but Bourdain really knows how to write! This felt less like a memoir and more like a collection of essays with some life stories thrown in, but I'd definitely recommend the audiobook.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction
Kitchen Confidential is a difficult one to follow-up. This book cannot quite stand alone, so I give it 3 stars. It's more like an addendum to KC, which I'd give 5 stars.

There is such a delightful, sensory way that Bourdain wrote about food. Just like its predecessor, this book made my mouth water, made me laugh out loud, got me to a level of relaxation.. like I was sipping wine with a close, old friend... One of those honest direct, sarcastic friends that get you to laugh out loud and argue. Ac
Justin Brendel
My second time through this book has me torn. I love aspects of the beginning of the book, learning of his life after Kitchen Confidential. A lot of the book is a list of chefs the average person doesn't know much about. A lot about David Chang, Alice Waters, and Eric Ripert and La Bernadin. These I had less interest in.

I do enjoy the discussion about 20-course meals, his vacation to St. Barts, his stint dealing with the early Food Network producers, updating the characters from Kitchen Confide
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, non-fiction
This is a tough read in the wake of Bourdain’s passing, largely because huge swathes of it come across as a suicide note delivered eight years early. Bourdain is angry, Bourdain despairs, Bourdain takes issue with certain people in the food industry who might not even be players anymore now.

As a book - and not a collection of previously published articles and essays - Medium Raw is choppy. There doesn’t seem to be an order to the chapters, and some of them are about things very specific to Bourd
Shayna Ross
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I obviously picked this book up due to Bourdain's untimely death, but I also picked up this specific book because it was the only book of his available at my library at the time and I needed to read one of his works NOW as his death really crushed me. I intend to get to his other works and watch more of his shows, and be different levels of sad in the meantime.

As for the book, it was so clearly written in between his rages of anger of Kitchen Confidential and before his uber-success of Parts Unk
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been on my TBR pile for awhile and after the unfortunate news of his passing, I had to pick it up. More great restaurants stories versus traditional memoir.

What struck me most was the latter part of the book about how he talked about how everyday things made him angry. This was in his mid-forties right after the publishing over Kitchen Confidential but he was still amazing stressed and angry at things in his life he couldn't control. He was angry at car commercials because he lived in N
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Anthony Bourdain was the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega-bestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.

His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and he was a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.
“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” 258 likes
“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.” 111 likes
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