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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). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Awesome read! I really like the way Bourdain writes... you can totally hear him saying the words as you read. Funny, insightful and just plain fun.Published 17 days ago by Andrew S Callan
Fun read. Once again, AB pulls no punches, friend or foe (or is it foie?). Just returning from a three week trip through Japan. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Donald D. Cooke
I loved Kitchen Confidential, love No Reservations, love The Layover, and now love Parts Unknown. For those who know his work, an obvious buy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Edward Kim
Anthony is such a bad boy. I admire him, and I liked that he's not buying into the retail upgrades as others do.Published 1 month ago by Katie Kinsey
Clearly a gifted writer, anthropologist and observer of food culture, food politics and the business. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mark C. Smith
Not a bad read I guess. A bit of general rant by Bourdain about mostly food and chefs generally. Nothing too ground breaking really, a bit of pontificating about the state of food... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Richard P. Matisak
From one Anthony Bourdain fan to another. Its a great read :)Published 2 months ago by steven B. Banks
I can't put down any of Anthony Bourdain's books. Would someone who isn't a slave to the restaurant industry enjoy this book? Possibly, but probably not. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Holly M.