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Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (P.S.) [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Bourdain
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Medium Raw marks the return of the inimitable Anthony Bourdain, author of the blockbuster bestseller Kitchen Confidential and three-time Emmy Award-nominated host of No Reservations on TV’s Travel Channel. Bourdain calls his book, “A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook,” and he is at his entertaining best as he takes aim at some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, Alice Waters, the Top Chef winners and losers, and many more. If Hunter S. Thompson had written a book about the restaurant business, it could have been Medium Raw.

Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

No one really expected Bourdain to top his wildly popular Kitchen Confidential, even Bourdain himself: several critics wrote that he seems alternately awed and appalled by his own celebrity. Those parts of Medium Raw--more of a collection of essays than a streamlined narrative--that seemed to grow out of that celebrity, such as Bourdain's feuds with food critics and celebrity chefs, impressed reviewers the least. But they still found much to savor, particularly Bourdain's biting personality, his own humorous self-deprecation, his ability to bring out the unknown elements of the restaurant industry, particularly the kitchen and service staff who might otherwise be ignored, and, not least of all, the well-written (if often vulgar) and compelling stories. In the end, though Medium Raw will best be appreciated by foodies, it is "generally an entertaining read, compelling more for [Bourdain's] passion than his mean streak" (Kansas City Star).

From Booklist

Bourdain, who broke into the collective food consciousness with Kitchen Confidential (2000) and has since cemented his place as one of our foremost food commentators, offers the kind of book you can write only if you’ve achieved the level of fame at which you can assume that people care about about whatever you have to say (which they do, and should): a loose, sometimes repetitive, always entertaining, and even at times enlightening collection of food-related ramblings and name-naming hit-pieces. The result is more or less the book equivalent of finding yourself sharing plates at a communal table with a chatty, witty, unapologetically profane, knowledgeable and well-connected member-observer of the restaurant big leagues. If, like him, you see the world’s greatest chefs as somewhere between rock and porn stars, there’s no way you wouldn’t spend hours listening to him chew your ear off with stories of that coke-fueled weekend (or was it a month?) trapped on an island with the world’s most insufferably wealthy food posers and with diatribes on how annoying Alice Waters is and how critic Alan Richman is a “douchebag” (the nicer of the two things Bourdain calls him) for trashing the New Orleans food scene with the city still reeling from Katrina—and then turn on a dime to deliver an impassioned ode to Vietnamese pho and an admiring portrait of perhaps the world’s finest fish-portioner at Le Bernardin. It might have been a narcissistic, condescending, and overly insiderish collection if it weren’t for Bourdain’s consistently disarming self-awareness that he’s “the very picture of the jaded, overprivileged ‘foodie’ (in the worst sense of that word) that he used to despise.” On seeing himself through the eyes of a hungry young chef who still has to actually cook just to barely survive, he says, “Look at me and my nice fucking jacket, standing there all famous and shit.” Sure, others may cook better than he does, but no one can dish like he can. --Ian Chipman

Product Details

  • File Size: 1880 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408809745
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003JBI2WU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,209 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
217 of 224 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lee
The year's may have passed and he's turned into a TV personality since Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.), which revealed the behind-the-scenes world of a chef in the NY city restaurant scene, but Tony despite his own self-analysis in this one hasn't changed all that much.

He's still as potty mouthed, contrarian, anti-establishment and provocative as ever. He's also as much or more of a clever, creative good writer with an unquestionable passion for food and the restauraunt biz that entertains and fascinates even someone like me who only eats at restaurants.

Like the first book, the chapters each act as more of an essay than as a story - covering the evolution of the restaurant/food industry and what's happened to him since his first book.

There's a lot of angry diabtribes interlaced with his dry humor. The topics include the inability to find a good decent hamburger, overpretentious/priced restaurant habits, the evils of the James Beard foundation, Alice Waters and sustainability, vegetarianism, the CIA and the Food Network. Some of these are better executed than others. During the hamburger one, in particular - I was ready for him to get off his soapbox long before he actually did.

Still, Tony doesn't shy away from naming names and dishing dirt that anyone who watches those "evil" food shows like Iron Chef, Top Chef, and Rachel Ray will recognize and find entertaining. In fact, a whole chapter is dedicated to who he believes are the heroes and villians of the restaurant biz today, and why.
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Un-self-satisfied! June 9, 2010
Anthony Bourdain's previous collection "Nasty Bits" felt like a watered-down overcooked rehash of his original shtick. His new one, "Medium Raw," is a true revival. Bourdain has shaken off the cashmere of complacency to don a Viking bear-shirt of rage, and even though he takes stabs at familiar targets--TV, the corporations and the rich--he has come up with bloody fresh reasons to hate them (which is something.) His jokes are disturbing, his horrors hilarious, his meals orgasmic: his food descriptions are as far beyond crass culinary porn as Caravaggio and Boticelli are beyond "Jugs." Schlosser and Pollan may better connect food to economics and politics; Bourdain is supreme at plugging it to the gonads and guts. No one better demonstrates that food is part of life. This book makes both more interesting.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Superb Course from the Chef de Bile June 15, 2010
Tony does not, for the most part, pull any punches. For the record, Sandra Lee terrifies me too. He doesn't divulge Bigfoot's identity, but for the most part, does name names. I especially liked the chapter on heros and villains. His takedown of Alan Richman is priceless.

The bottom line with Mr. Bourdain is that he really cares about food and the people who prepare it, whether it's the guy in the Czech Republic who stuffs sausages with his bare hands, or the man who cuts the fish at Le Bernardin.

Food is too important to leave to the Rachael Rays and Sandra Lees of the world. We need fewer people clamoring about EVOO and more people cooking and eating a well-executed omelet or a good simple tomato sauce.

Start reading this on a Friday. It will last most of the weekend, and when you're finished, you'll be eager for the next course. I don't know how many more of these Tony has in him, but I'm waiting for the next one.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More a sequel to Nasty Bits June 20, 2010
I loved Kitchen Confidential, and I enjoyed Nasty Bits. I find this book to be more of a sequel to Nasty Bits, in that it is a collection of essays that do not necessarily have to be read in order. Yes, some of them are autobiographical, but some of it is "random thoughts" on topics like the hamburger and various food personalities. It is interesting to learn that Bourdain was still fighting many demons even after writing Kitchen Confidential, and also good to read how he is enjoying fatherhood. An enjoyable and worthwhile read, but not quite the same kick as the first bio.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 100 pages of Fat October 9, 2010
Anthony Bourdain needs an editor. Anyone who likes the rants and rages of Bourdain will surely like this book for its pure entertainment value, but his overworked sentences on steroids are tiresome. I was so distracted by the incessant rambling of descriptive adjectives and overused "ly" words that I often missed the point. For the most part, his off-handed undermining of the profession and industry that keeps him on the Upper East Side or traveling the world, is... boring.
One could get at the raw meat of this book by trimming about 100 pages of fat.

But Bourdain is funny and tempestuous. He makes plenty of righteous, good points, especially about the fast food nation. His chapter on heroes and villans is poignant and he once again establishes himself as the King Heckler of the industry. If you think he has mellowed with fatherhood and age, he hasn't. He's still carrying around some serious self-loathing and proving to us all that he can take as much as he can dish out.

I loved Kitchen Confidential, and even the Nasty Bits. I work in the same industry including a stint at the "Harvard" of cooking schools. I know this world and the world of Chefs. But this book disappoints. Reading page after page of Bourdain going at it with both barrels grows weary. It's old.
Doesn't he have anything nice to say? Moreover, doesn't he have anything ELSE to say?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It reads like Tony speaks
A very well written book. It reads like Tony speaks. If you like Tony you will love this book!
Published 8 days ago by richard j gero
5.0 out of 5 stars Opinionated but facinating.
Very opinionated, but fascinating rant by one of my favorite food characters.
Published 8 days ago by William F. Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a foodie
Loved this! Funny, informative read
Published 12 days ago by Madeline Stelter
5.0 out of 5 stars eat this book
Rant, rant, rant. And, I agree with them all. Anthony, keep pouring in the vitriol. I love it. Good on you,mate.
Published 14 days ago by Thomas J. Law
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh.
Nowhere near as good as Kitchen Confidential. I love Bourdain but this book seems to be just another reason to hear himself talk. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Kristen Bedard
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much!
Loved the other, but this wasn't fun! I was a professional cook. Loved that part of my life.
Published 17 days ago by Leerae M. Blaylock
5.0 out of 5 stars People Need To Get Over It.
I was reading some of the negative reviews for this book; it astounds me that people would be offended by it. HELLO!!! Read more
Published 17 days ago by Doron Alon
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book
I really like the way he present his point of view about the current celebrity chef on tv at the ones that actually have famous restaurant
Published 18 days ago by Gustavo A. Caraballo
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious
Anthony Bourdain is a terrific writer. I loved every minute.
Published 18 days ago by Karen Gorback
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described!
Published 19 days ago by Sofia Pernia
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More About the Author

Chef, author, and raconteur Anthony Bourdain is best known for traveling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world's most exotic dishes on his hit TV shows Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. Somewhat notoriously, he has established himself as a professional gadfly, bête noir, advocate, social critic, and pork enthusiast, recognized for his caustic sense of humor worldwide. He is as unsparing of those things he hates, as he is evangelical about his passions.

The "chef-at-large" at New York's famed Brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain is the author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a candid, hysterical, and sometimes shocking portrait of life in restaurant kitchens that has been translated into more than 28 languages - as well as the travel journal, A Cook's Tour, 3 crime novels, a cookbook, a biography of Typhoid Mary, the bestselling graphic novel Get JIRO!, and others.

His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times of London, Bon Appetit, Gourmet and many other publications. He has shared his insights about team building and crisis management with the Harvard Business Review. He has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning and Nightline, and has been a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Morning Joe, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Bourdain joined the writing staff of HBO's Treme in 2011, contributing to the popular drama's restaurant storylines. He recently launched his own publishing line with Ecco, Anthony Bourdain Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. His first titles will be released in early 2013.

No Reservations, widely popular all over the world, has won two Emmy Awards, with several other nominations. 2013 will see the premiere of two new television shows hosted by Bourdain: The Taste, a cooking competition series for ABC with Nigella Lawson, and a travel docu-series for CNN.

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