The renaissance man

Nathan Myhrvold wears many hats: genius inventor, techwhiz, all-round mad scientist and the creator of Modernist Cuisine, possibly the most groundbreaking cookbook the world has seen yet.
By epicure
Published on Monday, 30 Jun 2014

Inside a warehouse in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue lies Nathan Myhrvold’s Cooking Lab, where all the work for Modernist Cuisine was conceived and carried out. Think Tony Stark’s high tech machinery—but imagine he’s invested in gastronomy over cybernetics and hankering for more than just shawarma. Inside, scientists, chefs, chemists, physicists and machinists work tirelessly to develop new culinary innovations. To say experiments are conducted precisely here is putting it lightly. Circulators keep water bath temperatures within a tenth of a degree. More impressively, spark machining tools, used to slice objects in half to show their inner workings, cut metals to an accuracy of 1,000th of an inch. But as cutting edge as Myhrvold is, no culinary tool is beneath him. “Digital scales, thermometers, blowtorches, and simple pressure cookers carry equal weight”—there’s even a pressurised deep fryer from KFC. Amid gelling agents and emulsifiers lie simple pantry staples like baking soda, used to promote the Maillard reaction in caramelised carrot soup.

Excerpt from the July 2014 issue of epicure.