I recently read an article featuring a leader of the “Modernist Cuisine” movement, Nathan Myhrvold. Myhrvold is a raving genius, holding numerous degrees in math and science, including a PhD in quantum physics. He has worked with the likes of Stephen Hawking. His credentials and career eventually led him to Microsoft, which he left in 1999. He holds about 250 patents and is worth around $650 million. So what does he do now? Cook, of course! He is dedicated to creating innovative cooking techniques that blend science and art. He has a fantastic cooking lab in NYC where he and his staff explore new ways of cooking food like, centrifuge (think of the bumper sticker “Visualize Whirled Peas”, literally), ultrasonic French fries and opening oysters with liquid nitrogen. Hmmm, I’m just working on sous-vide.
Dr. Myhrvold has written a “cookbook” of 2400 pages which cost $625. At age 9, he asked his mother if he could cook the entire Thanksgiving Dinner for his family and she wisely agreed. He studied James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking and found the theory part of the book completely lacking, but in spite of that flaw, he did produce the meal. It’s apparent now, he’s working on the theory part of cooking. He admits to as many failures as successes which is part of the scientific process.
His lab rats are the very elite of the culinary world. Once a month, he holds an, invitation only, 30 course dinner for the world’s finest chefs, food writers and special guest. I guess my invitation got lost in the mail.
On the other hand, is the Brit, Fergus Henderson, representing the “Nose to Tail” movement. Eating the whole animal was a matter of survival for our ancestors. Henderson has recreated “eat the beast” as sensational haute’ cuisine. He has no culinary training whatsoever, but his St John restaurant in London is a pilgrimage for the serious devotee’s of the latest and greatest. All serious chefs, on the way up, are observing carefully everything he does. Sadly, he suffers from Parkinson’s disease, but is still a force in the kitchen.
I watched his signature dish on a short video, bone marrow with salt and parsley. Four bones roasted in the oven until the marrow “shimmers” and then a “Stone Hinge” presentation with a little salt and chopped parsley then spread on toast.
Why haven’t I thought of that before.
- Recipes & Random Thoughts
- I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.