Advance Peeks at Bourdain’s “Medium Raw”

May 24, 2010

By Karen

Naturally, Grub Street got its grubby hands on an advance copy of Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, and published a smorgasbord of snarky bits. Nasty backlash has already begun in an Esquire blog post by John Mariani.

Only the first chapter has crossed my path, and I had a comparatively generous reaction…

Bourdain starts off describing a dinner party that could be from one of his crime novels, at an anonymous restaurant with “some of the most respected chefs in America,” also unnamed. They’re served a dish that’s so illegal (and up there in grossness with warthog ass, in my opinion), they all eat with their napkins over their heads.

Then it gets good: Tony flashes back a few years to pre-Kitchen Confidential, slinging hash at a lunch counter, resentful and humiliated. He has nowhere to go but up. That’s the part that left me “hungry for more.”

Any day, I prefer Tony the working stiff to the gourmet hob-nobber — the writing feels truer — so I hope the book holds plenty more of that. And as a non-foodie, the evolution of Bourdain the writer/traveler interests me more than lengthy analyses of cuisine and the people who prepare or eat it.

I’ll be in Barnes & Noble on publication day, June 8, to get the rest of the story.

Tony’s publisher Ecco’s parent, HarperCollins, lists the top 10 signs you’re a Bourdain fanatic.

NBC Washington got a good-natured joint interview with Ripert and Tony before they appeared together in DC on May 21. Tony sees them as the Odd Couple. Ripert thinks they’re Laurel & Hardy. How about you? I’m seeing Martin & Lewis, without Jerry’s silly mugging.

That same night, thanks to a timely tweet from Ottavia, fans could catch Tony on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN, where he talked about current events and deftly dismissed Sarah Palin as a serious contender for anything, right to Ted Nugent’s face.

The LA Times reported on Bourdain’s recent trip to Beirut to finish what he started. Tony shared with Newsweek his reaction to being nominated for an Emmy for the first Beirut episode.

On May 22, Bourdain and Ripert appeared in Baltimore, where some people are still apparently steamed over the NR episode he filmed there, according to the Baltimore Sun. The publication got a joint interview, as well.

Serious Eats asked readers for their opinions of Bourdain and got them. He certainly doesn’t seem to attract fence-sitters.


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