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Modernist Cuisine:The Art and Science of Cooking Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 January 2011
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- Hardcover : 2438 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0982761007
- ISBN-13 : 978-0982761007
- Dimensions : 38.1 x 36.83 x 44.45 cm
- Publisher : Phaidon Press LtdEd1; 1st edition (1 January 2011)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 70,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
The most astonishing cookbook of our time. --Katy McLaughlin, Wall Street Journal
Big, beautiful, and worth the hype… it is the answer to everything you wanted to know about cooking, not to mention so many things you never thought about. --Andreas Viestad, The Washington Post
About the Author
Nathan Myhrvold, founder of The Cooking Lab, coauthor of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home, and author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, has had a passion for science, cooking, and photography since he was a boy. By the age of 13, Nathan had already cooked the family Thanksgiving feast and transformed the household bathroom into a darkroom.
Myhrvold holds a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics as well as a master s degree in economics from Princeton University. He holds additional master s degrees in geophysics and space physics and a bachelor s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. At Cambridge University, Myhrvold did postdoctoral work with Stephen Hawking in cosmology, quantum field theory in curved space-time, and quantum theories of gravitation, all before starting a software company that would be acquired by Microsoft.
As his career developed, he still found time to explore the culinary world and photography. While working directly for Bill Gates as the chief technology officer at Microsoft, Nathan was part of the team that won the Memphis World Championship Barbecue contest; he worked as a stagier at Chef Thierry Rautureau s restaurant Rover s, in Seattle; he then took a leave of absence to earn his culinary diploma from École de Cuisine La Varenne, in France.
Nathan retired from Microsoft in 1999 to found Intellectual Ventures and pursue several lifelong interests in photography, cooking, and food science. During this time, some of his photographs were published in America 24/7 (DK Publishing, Inc., 2003) and Washington 24/7 (DK Publishing, Inc., 2004). Unable to find practical information about sous vide cooking, he decided to write the book he felt was missing one that provided a scientific explanation of the cooking process, the history of cooking, and the techniques, equipment, and recipes involved in Modernist cooking. Inspired by this void in cooking literature, he decided to share the science of cooking and wonders of Modernist cuisine with others, hoping to pass on his own curiosity and passion for the movement.
In the process of creating his first book, Nathan founded The Cooking Lab, hired an interdisciplinary team that included scientists, research chefs, and writers, and published the much-acclaimed six-volume, 2,438-page Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, in 2011. That set was followed by Modernist Cuisine at Home, in 2012, which applies the insights of the original book in a format designed for home cooks. In 2013, he wrote The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, and The Cooking Lab partnered with Inkling to publish the Modernist Cuisine at Home app.
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Top reviews from Australia
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I would highly recommend this set for anyone serious about taking their cooking to the next level or serious cooks who want to understand when something works - why. Or if something didn't work then you can find answers here as well. Very comprehensive and detailed with fantastic photographs to illustrate their point.
Top reviews from other countries
First thing; these are not ‘normal’ cookbooks. There are no step-by-step recipes, these books are largely about the science and technique of cooking. They are aimed squarely at the professional chef or seriously keen amateur. That said, much of the hard science is explained in an extremely accessible manner (I wish science classes at school had been so informative), but you will still be slightly bemused by at least some of the legion of graphs that populate the first two volumes and in places the books are not an easy read. And herein justifies the exorbitant price tag for these books: these are a true labour of love.
The amount of scientific research and rigour that has gone into producing these tombs is astonishing, matched only by the lavish photography and presentation. They are beautiful, almost breathtaking in places. One can only imagine how much they cost to produce given the amount of high end culinary equipment was literally sawn in half for some of the stunning cut-away illustrations. The books cover almost every facet of cooking you can imagine from Wok technique, to the best setting agents for given fluids, to BBQ, smoking, equipment, ingredients, flavour matching...the list is endless. And never once do you feel like the authors are trying to be so generalist in content that they become master of none of it. Some will not be relevant to the home chef - unless you intend to turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab and start buying centrifuges, but what remains is still more than worth the ‘professional only’ elements. I’ve run out of bookmarks highlighting information I’ll want to return to. The smaller kitchen manual alone has more useful information contained in its numerous tables than all my other cook books combined.
I’ve now spent hours reading and re-reading the books and it’s all been a pleasure which has fundamentally changed the way I look at cooking and prepare dishes. Its allowed me to be truly creative rather than trying to replicate dishes as I now understand WHY things do and don’t work. They are also simply beautiful books in their own right which will draw in even neophyte cooks - although they will need arms like a heavyweight boxer to lift them as each volume is a rigorous weights session in its own right!
If you are the kind of person utterly addicted to Great British Menu and Professional Masterchef and aspire to replicate that level of cooking and understanding then these books will be your bible. Just don’t be surprised to find yourself trawling second hand catering equipment eBay as a result of reading it!
The primary reason I'm giving it four stars is physical aspects. The binding on volume 4 is falling apart after reading it once and referencing it twice. The bookmark strings in each volume left permanent imprints in their original position, damaging the pages. Volume 4 also arrived with dents on the bottom of the front cover. Secondarily, the chapter on nutrition was largely a credulous rehashing of the work of a discredited contrarian, and the book was the worse for including it. The deliciousness of the recipes also varies; they don't always improve on classics, though they certainly get credit for trying.
Edit: also book two is falling apart a fair bit too, and these are new books