Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    This is food like you have never imagined it before. Breaking food down into pieces and then reconstructing it into magnificent art is the idea behind the "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking" book set. Pictured here are Shanghai soup dumplings.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    One of the "Dr. Frankensteins" behind it all was Nathan Myhrvold, a master French chef, scientist and computer genius who applied scientific research to the technology of cooking, along with fellow food scientists Chris Young and Maxine Bilet. "A lot of people wonder how their microwave oven works, so we cut one in half," Myhrvold said. "Once you get on a roll you're like, I wonder what that looks like cut in half. We drew the line at people."
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    The authors and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab in Bellevue, Wash., shown here, have mixed in hydrocolloids, emulsifiers and emzymes with food, then captured them in dramatic freeze-frame motion photos during the cooking process. Myhrvold said he also developed the lab to create malaria vaccines. "These containers, which are relatively light, can hold enough vaccine for 5,000 people and they can keep it cold for literally three, four, five months at a time with no power at all," he said.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Out of the authors' experiments came "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking," a five-volume, 2,400-page, waterproof bible of food filled with recipes from laboratory-made cooking. The collection, released in March, already sold out of its first printing despite its enormous size and cost -- $625 for the set. Myhrvold said he had to create his own publishing company to create the set.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Each of the book five volumes cover a different topic: Volume 1 is an overview of food history, microbiology and nutrition. Volume 2 covers techniques and equipment. Volume 3 goes into different animal and planet parts and how to harvest their maximum flavor. Volume 4 goes beyond traditional ingredients and explains how to use thickeners, gels, emulsions and foams. Volume 5 explains the art of plating and presenting recipes.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Myhrvold is a former chief technology officer who helped build Microsoft and also once worked as a physicist alongside Stephen Hawking, which is why reinventing how the world sees food isn't his most ambitious project. Shown here are mussels set in mussel juice spheres.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    He donated a small fortune to a whole new examination of food that was, as he put it, "non-traditional." Shown here is water at different stages of boiling.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Nathan Myhrvold said of creating "Modernist Cuisine": "We decided it was a project that was really worth supporting. And it was worth supporting precisely because nobody else was going to do it." Shown here is pectin, a gum made from orange peels, covered in Volume 1.
    Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Every bit of food imaginable has been deconstructed to get the essence of its taste and then rebuilt using the core principles of science. The Cassoulet Toulousain from Volume 5 is an example of a recipe with multiple parts, chemicals and tools coming together to create a complete dish.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Shown here is a half-cutaway of an Asian shrimp noodle dish in a wok. "We had a goal when we set it, which was to shoot pictures that would show people a vision of food that they just haven't seen before," Nathan Myhrvold said. "We thought that would be an exciting way to communicate the unique knowledge we're trying to put in the book."
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
  • Modernist Cuisine

    Co-author of "Modernist Cuisine" Maxine Bilet is shown here in mid flip.
    Courtesy Modernist Cuisine LLC
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