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AlexForbes

Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw

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I just read a blog post on New York blog Grubstreet about Anthony Bourdain's new book Medium Raw, which will be released in June. The post includes quotes taken from the book in which Bourdain, in his typically ultrahonest and harsh style, minces no words and bashes Gael Greene (favourite subject is herself), Ducasse (killed haute cuisine in the US), Alinea (where dining is a joyless experience), etc.

I was laughing outloud as I read this, I must admit.

My favourite quote? "James Beard House (...)provides comfort and succor and the illusion of importance to a bunch of supremely irrelevant old fucks".

I kinda agree, to be honest...

I just had to share the link...


Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

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I'd warn of reading that. I have that book on pre order and they give too much away I am afraid .... I stopped reading after a few sentences.

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They certainly excerpted a lot from that book on Grub Street. Still, I'll probably end up reading it, since Bourdain's brand of vitriol is compelling.

None of the material in the excerpt seems like new ground, I suppose: Alice Water is right, but annoying; Celebrity Chefs are dumb; Food writers can be self-involved and on the make; Sandra Lee is crazy; vegetarians make some people angry; the Food Network Sucks; Culinary School has a lot of caveats; but I imagine he'll find an audience for it. After all, it's not what he says, but how he says it.

I'll be interested especially in what he has to say about David Chang.

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He's says everything, most in his position wouldn't dare to. He's accurate, succinct, and uniquely entertaining.


Edited by GordonCooks (log)

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Weinoo, he may be saying this for years, but...I tend to agree with GordonCooks. First, he's more entertaining than most. And also, he's brutally honest in a way that very few chefs out there dare to be.

I used to criticize the guy myself. Mediocre chef takes the easy route way out of the business and then bites the hand that fed him.

Then I bought his second book, and loved it. Guilty pleasure, I guess. Turns out he's much better at entertaining people than cooking. And if he ruffles a few feathers in the process, so be it.


Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

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Tony is the most self-involved cliche-spewing hack out there. And as long as those middle-aged ladies from Des Moines and Jersey think they have a shot at him, he'll have a long and successful career as a vaudeville entertainer. The guy wrote half of a good book 10 years ago. What he had to say was important then, but simply repeating the same BS year after year doesn't show honesty but emptiness. Jumped the shark, indeed.

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>>He's been saying the same shit for years now. Yawn. <<

I guess it is not so much about what he says but how he says it.

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Every time I've heard someone complain about how long dinner takes at Alinea, it's because they went with someone whose company they didn't particularly enjoy (or who couldn't keep up their side of a conversation).


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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He's says everything, most in his position wouldn't dare to. He's accurate, succinct, and uniquely entertaining.

He's been saying the same shit for years now. Yawn.

You said it, dude. I can't blame Tony for cashing in as long as they still buy his shtick, but man o man it is tiresome. The year of Cooks Tour was great TV, it's been all downhill since for Tony.

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You said it, dude. I can't blame Tony for cashing in as long as they still buy his shtick, but man o man it is tiresome. The year of Cooks Tour was great TV, it's been all downhill since for Tony.

Right. And oh, man, wouldn't this taste great stoned? Or high on crack? Or stoned and looking for crack? Lord, get some new material. Yes, we all know you were a degenerate drug addict and you're as annoying as everyone (sort of) in recovery.

Starting to sound like guy fieri - this is soooo money...dudes.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I think he's entertaining. Hate all you want, I always think when someone loves or hates everything about a person, it's personal.

As far as skill level? He may not be a molecular genius or white tablecloth wunderkind but anyone pushing out 3-400 covers a night, consistently can wear the red cape and big "S" in my book.


Edited by GordonCooks (log)

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Ah, how the tide turns. Back when Bourdain used to post here on a regular basis people were falling all over themselves to reply to his posts and generally suck up to him.

So we're clear, what writers/chefs is it still okay to like?

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I think he's entertaining. Hate all you want, I always think when someone loves or hates everything about a person, it's personal.

As far as skill level? He may not be a molecular genius or white tablecloth wunderkind but anyone pushing out 3-400 covers a night, consistently can wear the red cape and big "S" in my book.

1) So then you agree that AB's hate for Gael Greene and Alice Waters and vegetarians, and every other subject he's blanketed for ten years is personal.

2) So 10 years ago he ran a kitchen in someone else's restaurant with someone else's concept and recipes. How does that make his tedious and trite pronouncements any truer, Superman outfit or not?

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I wholeheartedly agree with his statement about Gael Greene being self absorbed. I agree wholeheartedly about the fact Alice Waters is considered such a revered working Chef, when she's more of a ingredient wrangler then cook.

What makes his pronouncements ring true in my mind? I agree with them. If the statements were said by someone else, I would agree with them too.


Edited by GordonCooks (log)

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His "schtick" still isn't old for me yet - it's like a favorite comedian, he can tell the same joke over and over and I still crack up. This discussion kind of reminds of the arguments I get in with my very liberal or very conservative friends when they can't believe I would read "that" book or "watch" that show. One can find something interesting and entertaining, even if they have a different viewpoint or form one after reading/watching. I haven't followed him as closely as some here so look forward to reading the book because there appear to be many AB "viewpoints" that I will read for the first time.

I'm on both sides of the fence on Alice Waters - like what she's done tremendously and she opened my eyes many years ago about the sustainable food movement. That said, I understand how she can come off preachy. I love her cooking style but it is simple.

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My favorite AB book is the Les Halles cookbook. Say what you will, the man knows how to write. And Les Halles is my go-to book when I feel like doing something new.

Nothin' but love for AB, still. I'll buy a copy.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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A few thoughts:

It seems to me that Grubstreet purposely picked vitriolic segments from the book. I guess they wanted to be edgy, but who knows if that's representative of the rest of the book? More importantly, if they wanted to be edgy, they failed, since they (perhaps unwittingly) picked subjects that are mostly old news and that didn't show any creativity or new thought on Bourdain's part. That's unfortunate.

From those short segments, it seems clear that it's not his best work. I mean, even in Les Halles, he came up with "sorry-ass bivalve in an apron" and all he can say here is "douchebag" and "old fucks"? It's lazy writing from someone who -- at least at one point -- was capable of much better.

I loved Kitchen Confidential and liked Cook's Tour too (although with a broader scope, it was more diffuse; but it still had moments of greatness). I've been disappointed with his writing on various blogs and in articles since then, because it all seems the same, and it's just not up to his previous level of writing.

I hope the rest of the book will show that Bourdain is still capable of better, but fear it won't.

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Prose filled diatribes mean little to me in the culinary sense. If I'm in the mood for Emily Dickinson or Maya Angelou, I'll read some. If I'm in the mood for an Op-ed where someone calls someone an "Old Fuck" while everyone else rubs their balls, I'll read this. They both can exist with equal value and validity.

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I still enjoy his writing and his shows, to a certain extent. But I have to admit it takes more effort now than it used to. The whole foul-mouthed rebel chef thing was great back when he first burst onto the scene, but now that he's older and--dare I say it--a whole lot wealthier, that anti-establishment shtick of his feels rather forced.

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For one he is honestly admitting he is cashing in. I'd say good for him.

I enjoy him as an entertainer, he suits my taste way more then lets say a Guy Fieri.

To me he is a guy who paid his dues and now is enjoying life, what's wrong wkth that? If he would be like a Borat or Ali G i'd say hell yes switch character. But he is not, so ride it out as long as it last.

Maybe we wait until the book is actually out.

P.s. To me the chasa sapphire placement in the istanbul episode was hilarious. Like somebody plugged a large object into his behind.

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