The Book of the Week is “Medium Raw” by Anthony Bourdain, published in 2010. This is somewhat of a sequel to the author’s first nonfiction book, “Kitchen Confidential” in that he provides an epilogue on some of the people depicted in his anecdotes; he also elaborates further on various aspects of being a chef, on his own personal life, waxes enthusiastic on the food he has eaten, and gives the reader a detailed bunch of reasons why the likelihood of becoming a full-fledged, successful chef would be low if he or she were to attend cooking school.
The job of most chefs involves a ton of physical activity that is tough on the joints in an environment of high heat and humidity. Paying one’s dues once meant “…burn marks, aching feet, beef fat under the nails, and blisters.” Nevertheless, the kitchen is a meritocracy, where the irresponsible, faint-of-heart cooks get weeded out quickly.
Bourdain’s life has consisted of “…mistakes, failures, crimes, betrayals large and small.” He wrote Kitchen Confidential at a time in his life when he was furious; “the angry cynical, snarky guy who says mean things on ‘Top Chef’… [on] hurried hungover early mornings, sitting at my desk with unbrushed teeth, a cigarette in my mouth, a bad attitude…”
Read the book to learn Bourdain’s take on people, places and fancy food in the restaurant industry.