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At the first day at The Restaurant Show - I had to take time out to listen to Dr Myharvold I had seen his book Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking in a friend house  and I was very impressed with some of the Photography and Techniques. I was very excited to see him in person. I managed to have a quick chat with Nathan and he promised he will checkout our 'Saffron Olive Oil' which is developed with techniques he is very familiar with.

The Art and Science of Cooking is a cookbook by Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet. It was published by The Cooking Lab in 2011. The book is an encyclopaedia and a guide to the science of contemporary cooking. There are 6 volumes and they cover history and fundamentals, techniques and equipment, animals and plants, ingredients and preparation, plated dish recipes and one last volume kitchen manual.

Modernist cooking

I am personally interested in only the Ingredients and preparation. However, one would have to buy all of the 6 books with 2438 pages and weighing 24 kilograms will require a big library or significant size kitchen to hold it. However, if in the kitchen please make sure you wash your hands each time I open one of its 5 main volumes.  It is also said that "This book will change the way we understand the kitchen" - Ferran Adria A six-volume, 2,438-page set-including more than 3,200 original images-that is destined to reinvent cooking "The most important book in the culinary arts since Escoffier."

The idea for the book came up from Myhrvold own interest in finding out about various kitchen equipment and cooking techniques. Being a Scientist, he approached cooking from Physics perspective. Temperature control, and using various equipment for his experiments from basic microwave oven to industrial Grade homogenizers, freeze-dryers, 50 G Ultra Centrifuge, Ultra sound Baths, Rotary evaporators, Weapons Grade Laser, 100 ton hydraulic press, water jet cutters, and so on.

Video: Nathan Myhrvold spoke to Googlers in Mountain View on April 18, 2011 about his new book Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

To produce the books, there is a big team, with Blumenthal restaurant, The Fat Duck, Team of research chefs that developed and tested the 1522 recipes in the book. Photographer, editors and others. So the initial scope of the book being just 150 page grow to 2438 pages. The book cost more than 1,000,000 USD to produce. The first run was 6000 copies and second run at 25,000 copies.

The book is sold at around £400 GBP, so it is not a kind of book you are likely to get for Christmas or birthdays - It is an investments however that if you are in the business it may prove essential to familiarize one with the science of cooking and things we should watch out for to make perfect dinners.

How do you make an omelet light and tender on the outside, but rich and creamy inside? Or French fries with a light and fluffy interior and a delicate, crisp crust that doesn't go soggy? Imagine being able to encase a mussel in a gelled sphere of its own sweet and briny juice. Or to create a silky-smooth pistachio cream made from nothing more than the nuts themselves. Modernist Cuisine offers step-by-step, illustrated instructions, as well as clear explanations of how these techniques work. Through thousands of original photographs and diagrams, the lavishly illustrated books make the science and technology of the culinary arts clear and engaging. Stunning new photographic techniques take the reader inside the food to see cooking in action all the way from microscopic meat fibers to an entire Weber grill in cross-section. You will view cooking and eating in a whole new light. A sampling of what you'll discover:

  1. Why plunging food in ice water doesn't stop the cooking process
  2. When boiling cooks faster than steaming
  3. Why raising the grill doesn't lower the heat
  4. How low-cost pots and pans can perform better than expensive ones
  5. Why baking is mostly a drying process
  6. Why deep-fried food tastes best and browns better when the oil is older
  7. How modern cooking techniques can achieve ideal results without the perfect timing or good luck that traditional methods demand

Many invaluable features include:


  1. Insights into the surprising science behind traditional food preparation methods such as grilling, smoking, and stir-frying
  2. The most comprehensive guide yet published on cooking sous vide, including the best options for water baths, packaging materials, and sealing equipment; cooking strategies; and troubleshooting tips
  3. More than 256 pages on meat and seafood and 130 pages on fruits, vegetables, and grains, including hundreds of parametric recipes and step-by-step techniques
  4. Extensive chapters explaining how to achieve amazing results by using modern thickeners, gels, emulsions, and foams, including example recipes and many formulas
  5. More than 300 pages of new recipes for plated dishes suitable for service at top-tier restaurants, plus recipes adapted from master chefs including Grant Achatz, Ferran AdriĆ  , Heston Blumenthal, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, David Kinch, and many others
  6. From the professional chef to the home cook, Modernist Cuisine is an indispensable guide for anyone who is passionate about the art and science of cooking.

Reviews: The New York Times - Michael Ruhlman
We now have a definitive work about this cuisine, how and why it works, and the tools and ingredients it could not do without…Modernist Cuisine is not for most home cooks. For the professional chef, modernist or not, it will be an invaluable reference. For the cooking geek with $625 to spare…it will be endless fun. As a physical object it is remarkable; sometimes I found myself simply staring at the block of books…In the end, I can only smile, shake my head and bow to [Myhrvold] and his crew for their work of unprecedented scope and ambition.

Love What You Do
Has great photographs and insight into Nathan's techniques.

Remarks: Heston Blumenthal
A fascinating overview of the techniques of modern gastronomy. --(Heston Blumenthal)

Video: Cookbook author (and geek) Nathan Myhrvold talks about his magisterial work, "Modernist Cuisine" -- and shares the secret of its cool photographic illustrations, which show cross-sections of food in the very act of being cooked.


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