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

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  24,119 Ratings  ·  2,094 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 (first published January 1st 2010)
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Colleen Drake I think you may have missed the whole premise of the book. Yea the drugs are a little rocky...but it's a memoir about Bourdains's life. I'm surprised…moreI think you may have missed the whole premise of the book. Yea the drugs are a little rocky...but it's a memoir about Bourdains's life. I'm surprised that you're surprised there was drug use in this book. You must not watch a whole lot of his shows. He's not exactly Mother Theresa. :)
Several times Bourdain also admits that he doesn't even consider himself a chef or a part of the restaurant business - but that his book is a "bloody valentine" to those who cook. (less)

Community Reviews

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Jul 31, 2010 RandomAnthony 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
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
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 Will Mclaughlin 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
Juliet Doubledee
Oct 01, 2010 Juliet Doubledee 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
Jun 16, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: food, 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
Jan 10, 2010 Greg 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
Feb 19, 2013 Alex 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
Sep 12, 2014 Dave 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
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 James Thane 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 David 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 jenn 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
Aug 16, 2010 Vegantrav rated it really liked it
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,
Aug 03, 2010 Lena rated it really liked it
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
May 25, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it
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
May 31, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok
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
Dec 17, 2013 Bryce rated it really liked it
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
Nov 26, 2011 Joe rated it liked it
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
Marthe Bijman
Sep 21, 2013 Marthe Bijman rated it really liked it
Ever since I first saw Anthony Bourdain on TV, skidding to a halt in his pointy-toed boots in the intro to “No Reservations”, I’ve been meaning to read his books. Much has been said about them – particularly about his 2000 début “Kitchen Confidential”, described as shocking, wild, anarchic etc. Since those days Bourdain has changed from L’enfant Terrible of the food industry into its Elder (but not entirely decorous) Statesman. “Medium Raw” is everything “Kitchen Confidential” is not. His writin ...more
Brendan Monroe
Jul 06, 2016 Brendan Monroe rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, food
If "Kitchen Confidential" was a Porterhouse (the "king" of steaks) then "Medium Raw" is a very good T-Bone.

It's been ten years since the publication of the aforementioned "Kitchen Confidential" and Bourdain is flying high. Having gone from lying in bed awake at night with a constant fear of eviction, Bourdain now has a very successful TV show and has featured prominently in guest spots on such acclaimed shows as "Top Chef". Life is good.

Though he wrote other books during this ten-year period, "
Oct 02, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bourdain fans, cooking memoir fans
Shelves: memoirs
This is the third book I have read by Anthony Bourdain. Another Thumbs Up rating – he never disappoints. Bourdain goes off on rants about subjects close to his heart – obviously the food industry, covering everything from celebrity chefs, Food Network, traveling and people in general. You know, the idiotic things people do that have you just shaking your head.

One example – he is at a book signing for Medium Raw and fans of Kitchen Confidential (young fans I may add) drop off joints of marijuana
Feb 26, 2011 Clare rated it really liked it
I both love and hate Anthony Bourdain. "Poor little rich boy" keeps running through my head as I read his words. And talk about food snobbery? God forbid you aren't interested in eating some endangered species little bird - head, feet and everything else - chomping down in ecstasy on little birdie bones! Bourdain veers back in forth in his admiration/hate for other chefs. Sometimes he hates the person but admires their ability so much that he tries hard to give them their due.

Bourdain's language
Dec 27, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: apl, 2013
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
Lara Beers
Jan 03, 2011 Lara Beers rated it really liked it
Anthony Bourdain is anything if entertaining. One of my favorite people to watch and to read. In this long awaited follow up to the mega hit "Kitchen Confidential" the TV star and admittedly retired chef, gives additional perspective on himself when the book launched his career and personage into the spotlight. It was inspiring and heartening to learn that he was a musty 44 year old when the book hit. Nice to know that when you think your dreams are dead and you are over the hill, miracles still ...more
Mar 04, 2012 Dean rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2010 Ron rated it it was amazing
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
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 Suzanne 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
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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 Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.
More about Anthony Bourdain...

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“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.” 166 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.” 87 likes
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