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

Anthony Bourdain
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jun 2010
A lot has changed since Kitchen Confidential - 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 to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-travelling professional eater and drinker, Bourdain compares and contrasts what he's seen and what he's seeing, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food. And always he returns to the question: 'Why cook?' Or the harder one to answer: 'Why cook well?' Beginning with a secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs he compares to a Mafia summit, Bourdain, in his distinctive, no-holds-barred style, cuts to the bone on every subject he tackles.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408809141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408809143
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' --Sunday Times (on 'Kitchen Confidential')

'Fantastic: as lip-smackingly seductive as a bowl of fat chips and pungent aioli' --Daily Telegraph (on 'Kitchen Confidential')

'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' --Observer (on 'Kitchen Confidential')

'Elizabeth David written by Quentin Tarantino' --A.A. Gill (on 'Kitchen Confidential')

`Real, fast and frantic, this book conveys the buzz of the kitchen in a way that only a real cook will be able to understand' --The Times (on 'Kitchen Confidential')

Book Description

Anthony Bourdain's long-awaited sequel to Kitchen Confidential, the worldwide bestseller --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vitriolic, but never vicious. 29 Jun 2010
By Deano
I have been an admirer of Anthony Bourdain since the release of 'Kitchen Confidential' ten years ago. His writing is always good, whether in his fiction, his travel writing or in memoir. It is, however, when writing about cooks and cooking that his prose comes truly alive. His passion for food and those involved in its preparation, from the imagination required to produce a tasting menu at the French Laundry to the mental stamina and physical skill involved in `cutting' 700lbs of fish in 5 hours, has not diminished over the years. If anything, the personal and professional changes in his life, and they have been startling, have fired his enthusiasm and, in some memorable instances, his anger. The `Heroes & Villains' chapter is a delight to read not least because he can turn a phrase, but because he is unafraid when choosing his targets and the language used to skewer them.
The chapter on `Virtue' is a stand out because it acts as neat summation of the sensibility of an intelligent sensualist. Writing about food and the pleasure associated with eating and cooking is, as Anthony Bourdain points out, extremely difficult without resorting to the banalities of `food porn' so ubiquitous in the culture. In 'Medium Raw' he avoids cliché or cheap observations to produce a fresh, honest and thoughtful take on subjects that ought to be of interest to everyone. Buy copies for yourself and people you like.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bubble And Squeak 8 July 2010
Medium Raw is subtitled 'A Bloody Valentine To The World Of Food And The People Who Cook' an unwieldy sentence which doesn't actually mean very much, and means even less when you read the book: Medium Raw is a collection of leftovers, chopped up and shaped into book form, and deep fried in marketing hype. I had gotten the impression this was going to be an autobiography of Mr. Bourdain's post 'Kitchen Confidential' years, but there's no cohesive thread to the book at all: It ranges from a diatribe against tasting menus to a piece about taking his four-year old daughter to dance class. There are some meaty bits amongst all the starchy filler - Bourdain is wonderful at writing about food and the food industry - but a lot of it is inexcusably self-indulgent: an entire chapter is devoted to dishing the dirt on an obscure (to non-New Yorkers, anyway)food critic who's insulted Bourdain in a restaurant review: Another piece 'Heroes and Villains' reads like it was knocked up in a few hours purely to fill up a few more pages. In short, there's just not enough meat on the plate here to justify charging for a full meal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"Medium Raw" by Anthony Bourdain is a new book written by this notorious chef who previously wrote an excellent book "Kitchen Confidential" and led very popular show "No Reservations".

"Medium Raw" somehow can be seen as sequel to "Kitchen Confidential" although ten years had passed and lot of things had changed in the food industry.
And due to that it should be honest and say that this book is of a bit lower quality compared to his previous work, although it has lots of qualities for which it should be read.

Its best parts are those when Anthony is telling the stories from the cook line, when he's describing fantastic dishes and when he is telling stories about his private life, how he feels being father for the first time, and being husband the second.
What was totally unnecessary and actually spoiled the experience of the whole book is a part where he talks about Food Network and other cooks that are probably completely unknown to wider audience and therefore uninteresting.

Although I didn't previously heard about the guy, the particularly touching part of the book is when Anthony is telling story about Justo Thomas, a man who works at the New York restaurant Le Bernardin.
Thomas became famous due to his skills of quick fish filleting, allegedly he can shift 1000 pounds of fish a day, a job that takes three men when Thomas is away.
I hope that Thomas would be still there when I'll come to that restaurant, just to try his fish fillets.

Overall, this whole book was like speaking to Anthony Bourdain or listening to him while in same time eating some good meal.
And if there weren't those unnecessary parts, and the previous book which showed that the author can do even better, such conversation would deserve the highest grade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's calmed down a bit 3 Oct 2010
By Straightforward TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is the follow-up to 'Kitchen Confidential', a book that contained rage not just at circumstances, but at life itself - that was a book full of dark joy, and the energy needed to write it - let alone to live that way - was the sort of level that could never be sustained by anyone who wasn't a complete maniac.

Which, I have to say, I thought Anthony was. I now realise he's just as 'normal' as the rest of us - pretty much nuts then, but coping with it from day to day. He's written the book about his past, and this is the book about his present. He's not doing the Class A drugs any more, and there's a more calm and collected sense of perspective about things - he's in a place that he himself admits he could ever have imagined possible a few years ago.

AB has a really great way of writing about things - I *hated* his attempts at writing fiction; they were in the style of Raymond Chandler, but they came across more like 'soft boiled' rather than 'hard boiled' - he's far more comfortable telling things the way they are. So, in this book you get stories about insane girlfriends with too much cash, his opinion of 'Food Network', all these sort of things. There's a great section called 'Food Porn' which just describes (in quite fantastic detail) his favourite meals. I've been lucky enough to have had one of them, and believe me - he's right on the money when he's writing about food.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Finished it in 3 days.
Published 1 month ago by Selina Hirst
2.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Bourdain: Famous for being famous
Before reading this, I thought Anthony Bourdain was a celebrity French chef.

Then one day he popped up on a cable TV channel and, lo and behold, turned out to be a good... Read more
Published 2 months ago by John Fitzpatrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining
If you enjoyed Kitchen Confidential you'll enjoy this. A slightly more nature Bourdain reflects on a foodie world of fine dining, food TV and life as a minor celeb. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Diyqueen
2.0 out of 5 stars Rehashed like one of his 70's buffets
I love Tony - don't get me wrong. I read Kitchen Confidential and laughed like a drain. I cried reading the chapter about looking for his father in France - while I was at the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by F. Valentine
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
You are only going to read this if you have read the original kitchen confidential, therefore reader will know what to expect. Read more
Published 7 months ago by DC
5.0 out of 5 stars always a winner
Always love bourdains writings and this is no exception! A rollicking read perfect for beach or home, a must read
Published 8 months ago by denz
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
i bought it for my husband so cant say much apart from my husband loved it and would recommend to all
Published 10 months ago by Miranda Elam
5.0 out of 5 stars Medium Raw
I am very pleased with my purchase. It was delivered promptly as always and I have all of the other chef related books by this author and so I know I will enjoy reading it.
Published 11 months ago by st3matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars Its not really as bad as you might think
You either like Anthony Bourdain or you do not, It really is a simple as that I'm afraid.
Me I love him.
Published 20 months ago by stoveboy78
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it. Not as good as his first though.
If you're obsessed with celebrity chefs, then this is a good read. If not, stick to his classic Kitchen Confidential which was far more exciting. A hard book to follow I guess.
Published on 12 April 2012 by Lara
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