episode 61 :: medium well

In honor of the all new season of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations premiering tonight on The Travel Channel, I’m joined by my good friend and returning co-host Don Strenger to discuss all things Tony. Since 2001, when Don and I found Bourdain’s books and A Cook’s Tour around the same time, we’ve been influenced by his philosophies on food, world culture, and many of the issues we’re faced with in regards to where our food comes from.  And in that time, we too have devoted our lives to search for the perfect meal.

We discuss what we learned from his new book Medium Raw, which had so many highs and lows I hardly know where to start. As introspective and forthright a book as he could have written given his current state of mind, I found Medium Raw to be his way of apologizing for being so cynical in many chapters of Kitchen Confidential. Any one reading it, of course, had no idea what was happening in his life at the time. Had they known, perhaps they’d have cut him a bit of slack.

Regardless, Kitchen Confidential made its mark in food writing history. In fact, the book found its way onto Julia Child’s bookshelf. In a November 2001 issue of Oprah Magazine, Julia was asked to share some of the books she’d found to be so highly influential. Among the books she found important were The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman, and Kitchen Confidential.

Listen to episode 61

As is the norm whenever I have Don on the show, it reverts to an old episode of Dude Night rapidly in many ways.  One of those ways is in our language. This episode has a higher profanity rate than most. So proceed with caution if that might present a problem.

In this episode:
Eat My Blog was a complete success, raising over $5400. Thanks to all who participated!
• Dude Food episode 2 on the way later this month (in high-definition this time)
• Stone’s 14th Anniversary Ale
• What we learned from reading “Medium Raw”
• Favorite excerpts from the audiobook version of “A Cooks Tour”
• Meeting Bourdain on the book signing tour for “The Les Halles Cookbook”
• New season of No Reservations starts tonight
• Seems the more I talk about sports on my show, the more Dan Patrick talks about food and beer on his
• Burger King Europe apparently has the “F-you” money required to sponsor a Formula 1 team
• A CBS News report claims that High Fructose Corn Syrup isn’t any different than real sugar

Music in this episode from Rev Theory. Buy their song from their web site or from the iTunes Store  Also, you can help Rev Theory rock cancer by making a donation to their Broken Bones Foundation.

Oh, and don’t forget to join our Facebook group!


  1. I can’t wait to listen to this one!

  2. Really interesting hearing more about Bourdain’s personal life. Didn’t know there was that much sturm und drang! Kinda does explain a lot. Enjoyed you and Dan together – nice little switch up there. Finally, no one can tell me that high fructose corn syrup is NOT pure poison – c’mon, with a name like that??? Great music again, as always. Looking forward to the next Dude Food!

    • Thanks Charles! I think the battle between what’s OK to put into your body and what’s not is going to wage on forever. All I can say is that I’m going to try to keep things as naturally as I can, and hope that some day we’ll stop pretending that the corn these farmers are growing is actually real food.

      Glad you enjoyed the music!! http://www.revtheory.com ROCK CANCER!

  3. Fun show, Phil. Great to hear you and Don together again. Remenants of Dude Night for sure.

    Bourdain seems to be getting older by the minute. To think that only ten years ago he wrote that first book and was starting A Cooks Tour then to look at him now it’s definitely showing the wear and tear 10 years of travel, smoking, and lack of sleep can put on you.

  4. New listener… great so far! Just an FYI, Smithwick’s is not served with nitro. As a beer geek, I’d thought I’d mention. 🙂

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