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The Photography of Modernist Cuisine Hardcover – October 22, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

It's by far the most edifying and inspiring how-to book on food photography we've seen. --Popular Photography

We love this behemoth new book... because it takes food photography to another, more engaging level with some creative thinking and technique. --Wired

One of the best cookbooks without recipes of 2013. --The Washington Post

We love this behemoth new book... because it takes food photography to another, more engaging level with some creative thinking and technique. --Wired

One of the best cookbooks without recipes of 2013. --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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: The Cooking Lab (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982761023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982761021
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 16.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Cutter on October 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So... if you are looking for recipes or more of the Modernist Cuisine techniques, look elsewhere. This is a photography book - for food.

That said, it is an AMAZING photography book for food. My only fault would be that often the pictures are lessened in impact by having to go across the page divide. I would have much rather seen them confined to a single large page. And double the photos. (It also ruins the ability to carve up the book if you have wall space you'd like covered! Sacrilege I know, but consider that $90 is cheap to create some amazing wall art)

And I do mean large - like any good photography book, this thing is HUGE. Like, no bookshelf storage for this one... it dwarfs even the MC cookbooks in their case, and makes the Fat Duck large cookbook look tiny. However, it'll likely fit in well if you have other large art books.

So, a reduce a star only because they made the choice of crossing pages with the photos, and I frankly think it ends up detracting from many of the pictures, especially since the boo is big enough, you can't get a good flat lay from the spine. Other than that, this is an amazingly well shot book, and maintains the ultra high quality of Nathan's printing efforts.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Perini on November 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazingly beautiful book of great photographs. Would have liked more explanation in "Making of" book. There seem to be whole sections with little or no background.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Old Dawg on February 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a foodie, a photographer, or just enjoy great art, this book will make you very happy as well as informing you about some photographic magic.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chad D. Ward on March 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I returned this book. It is indeed a book of beautiful photographs, but it does not live up to the billing in the description, "The images stand on their own, but readers can follow their curiosity to illuminating descriptions in the back of the book that delve into the stories, techniques, and science behind each photo." No, they can't. The how-to, behind the scenes section at the end is skimpy at best and too basic to be of use for photographers looking to push the boundaries of food photography. If you want a book of pretty pictures blown up from even the oversized "Modernist Cuisine," this is your book. There are 300 huge closeups of food. If you are a photographer intrigued by some of the radical techniques used by Dr. Myhrvold and his team to capture those images you will be sorely disappointed.
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I am a photographer and I was really curious about how they took the images from the other books, this book has a chapter with all the techniques they used in the other books which is the reason why I bought it, and the rest of the book is just big image prints that you could use for inspiration if you are a food photographer.

Keep in mind that this book is larger than the other books and weighs a lot
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lorri Sullivan on November 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most incredible photography done by a true genius! No one can compete with Nathan he is one of a kind and master of all he takes on.
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I'm a chef with a degree in culinary arts and I'm currently studying food photography, a serious challenge even for accomplished photographers of other subjects. I never would have thought of food or kitchen equipment as presented in this book, and I was never before exposed to many of the photo techniques (such as micro-photography inside foods, or kitchen equipment cut in half to expose inner workings). It's huge (13-1/2" x 17"), and heavy (about 12 lbs.). Some images are disappointingly split across two pages, as this big book will not lie flat. Definitely an eye-opener into physical aspects of meat, fruit, veggies and hardware most of us never thought about. An attention-getter on my coffee table and discussion-starter when other chefs or foodies visit. This is a specialized book not for everybody, like "NOMA, Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine" by Rene Redzepi, which I also bought, but I'm intrigued - maybe
"excited" - by modernist cuisine and the ingenious people seeking alternatives to future world-wide food issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim Grce on January 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book was a gift and it went over well. The photographs are beautiful and the whole book is a welcome piece of art to any collection.
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