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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  35,167 ratings  ·  2,954 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

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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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  35,167 ratings  ·  2,954 reviews

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Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, memoir, essays
"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
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
This was a night and day difference from Kitchen Confidential. it consisted mostly of talking crap about other people. I'd imagine he couldn't have had many friends left after this was released! ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Bourdain at his scathing best.

This is for the serious foodie or fan of Bourdain’s storytelling style. I’ll admit he wasn’t always the warmest individual, but he was a gifted writer and narrator and I enjoyed his biting wit and ability to skewer in the light what others merely whispered in the dark.

In this collection of essays he takes on raw food enthusiasts, multi-course meals, the Food Network and the usual suspects of the culinary world. His essay about Alice Waters whom he once called Pol Po
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
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was always going to be a bittersweet read. It still seems surreal that this vibrant man with such a curiosity for the world is not a part of it any longer, but his legacy lives on. He doesn't hold back, but is far more thoughtful and measured than in Kitchen Confidential. Certainly recommended, especially for fans of his shows and previous writing!

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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
"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
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.
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Memoir 6 of my non-fiction November project - this one was a book on my TBR-explode list for the month (where I look at ten books on my TBR starting from the beginning) so I found the audio in hoopla.

It was the first time I could stand to hear Anthony's voice since his death. Some of the sections in this book feel even more spot on nine years later about food and restaurant trends; some of it hasn't aged as well (surely the Anthony Bourdain who was a staunch defender of "believe women" would sp
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
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
Alex Givant
Excellent continuation of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Like chapters about other chefs and their techniques. ...more
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
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
I’ve been wanting to revisit Bourdain’s nonfiction, but previously hadn’t felt up to it. THE LAST INTERVIEW was published Tues, so I started that, and decided to reread Medium Raw. It sounds dramatic and cheesy, but I think I’m finally mourning. He touched his fans deeply. In this collection he backtracks a little on Kitchen Confidential; growth and CYA. 😂 Plus many more culinary delights. Hearing his voice was tough, but this is a nice collection.
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 spreadin
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a compilation of essays on random topics related to food and cooking. I enjoy Anthony Bourdain's writing, even though our culinary tastes could not be more different. He describes food  and kitchen secrets like no one else before him, being at the same time self critical and down to earth.

This book is in some way continuation of "Kitchen Confidential" with a little more personal touch to it. I found it very entertaining and thought provoking at times. Author's distance to life and differ
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
CYIReadBooks (Claire)
Blistering read. Boy! Mr. Bourdain sure had a number of issues -- drug addiction, anger issues, and a disdain for life in general. This novel is not really a memoir, but a critique of the restaurant business, restaurateurs, with smatterings of his struggles.

It was a little off putting at times -- especially with the expletives. But, that's Anthony for you. Read it if you want to know more about the man.

Rated it three stars. I just like it. Nothing spectacular about it, but still interesting.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book made me hungry. In it Bourdain describes the best meals he's ever eaten with so much detail you can taste it. I much preferred this book to his most famous one Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. It has great insight to how the industry works but in a more positive way. He really loved food and the industry as a whole.


The book starts off with Bourdain talking about his dark history with drug abuse and suicidal thoughts. That really made an impact since I was re
[Random Read. 5, nonfiction of any kind.]

A collection of writing on food and cooks. This is the fourth Bourdain book I've read, and while there's plenty of the patented Bourdain snark and spark in its pages, it also serves, coming as it does ten years after the book that brought him sudden fame and fortune, as a sort of apologia or retrospective. There's even a "where are they now" style look back at some of the old colleagues discussed in Kitchen Confidential (with some aliases revealed). A gif
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
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
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. ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
I read this right after Kitchen Confidential. It is not as good as his first book but still a page turner that kept me hooked until the end.
Eve Dangerfield
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I consume more of Anthony Bourdain's work, as I read it out loud to my boyfriend and we both laugh, as I tear up hearing him talk about his daughter I understand why people have said they can't read his books or watch his shows since he died. It's so strange to fall in love with someone's writing after they're gone in the way he left, but I'm glad I have. ...more
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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.

Articles featuring this book

His Favorite Books About Food: Sink your teeth into Bourdain's five favorite books that celebrate food.
38 likes · 26 comments
“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.” 299 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.” 124 likes
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