Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The long-awaited follow-up to the mega-best-seller Kitchen Confidential
In the 10 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 those 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-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.
Beginning with a secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs that he compares to a mafia summit, Bourdain pulls back the curtain, but never pulls his punches, on the modern gastronomical revolution, as only he can. Cutting right to the bone, Bourdain sets his sights on some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, the young superstar chef who has radicalized the fine-dining landscape; the revered Alice Waters, whom he treats with unapologetic frankness; the Top Chef winners and losers; and many more.
Always he returns to the question "Why cook?" Or the more difficult "Why cook well?" Medium Raw is the deliciously funny and shockingly delectable journey to those answers, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 59 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 06, 2010|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#2,285 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#1 in Celebrity Chefs & Restaurants
#6 in Gastronomy (Audible Books & Originals)
#7 in Biographies of Culinary Professionals
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What I discovered by reading this book is that Anthony Bourdain was a remarkable man. He openly admits to an extensive history of drug and alcohol abuse. He writes frankly about his own successes and failures, both as a chef and an author. Bourdain possessed a wonderful sense of humor and an equally remarkable memory of the people, places, restaurants and dishes he loved to eat. Admittedly, I found his descriptions of some of his meals somewhat repulsive, which is why I nicked him one star in my rating of Medium Raw.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book very much. Bourdain's admission that he battled depression for much of his life is quite sad, because that is one thing he and I hold on common. But, I do not feel sorry for him. Anthony Bourdain led a very full life that allowed him to work with some of the world's greatest chefs and to travel all over the world. I feel sorry for those of us who never met him. He will be missed, as trite as that sounds. I truly recommend Medium Raw.
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 years ago was fascinating. He describes living in the Caribbean and driving home drunk every night down curvy, mountain roads, which obviously could have led to his death and others’.
If you haven’t read him yet but are considering it, go with Kitchen Confidential.
Medium Raw is another irreverent, scattered piece of the iconoclast's puzzle, another part of a long farewell note left at the scene of his loss.
I read this book to find out more about him, not necessarily the themes and people in his writing. I was not disappointed. The book is, like all of his work, a guilty pleasure much enjoyed.
But the question remains; did anything or anyone in his life answer that voice, enter that wilderness, or even get close to saving his soul? He did not believe, so his soul is not the transcendent essence of his being. His soul was and remains like the soul behind the music: the riff, the rhythm of his restless life.
The middle third felt like I went from a novel to a collection of short stories that shared a topic, but not a theme. Nothing that made me angry, but nothing where one story really led to another...so not even a very well curated collection of short stories.
The final third pushed back into coherent chapters, but even then the chapters could have been shuffled and I doubt that there would be much change to how the book read.
Part of why I loved this book is that I recently finished Marco Pierre White’s ghost-written auto-biography. White was certainly the better chef. This is undeniably the better (and more honest) read.
That being said, it took me longer than I expected to finish this book, a book that should have been a fairly easy read. Why? Because as I read, I could hear the written words being spoken in his voice. Throughout the whole book. And while it was enjoyable and entertaining, I also found the experience a little nerve-wracking. I still can't wait to read the next book of his that is currently waiting in my TBR pile.