Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet

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Original Publisher
The Cooking Lab
Date of publication

Recommended by

Annabel Langbein

Author and celebrity cook

This is the most extraordinary resource on modern cooking techniques developed by former Microsoft strategist and all round clever guy Nathan Myhrvold, along with Chris Young, Maxime Bilet and a team of more than 50 staff and freelance contributors plus 14 outside experts. It cost over US$1 million to produce the first 6000 copies. Released in March 2011, it focuses on the application of scientific research principles and new techniques and technology to cooking. Very much a chef-to-chef resource and quite frankly extraordinary.

Ann Yonetani

Founder and owner of NYrture Food

This is a humungous five-volume set of art books detailing the science & applications of modernist/"molecular" techniques. Might not actually make it to or be of practical use on the desert island, but an incredible illustrated encyclopedia of knowledge in this area of cooking which interests me a lot, as you can see from these last three choices on my list.

Andreas Viestad

Norwegian TV Chef

I don’t particularly like the recipes, but I love the science, and that it makes you understand. And the magnitude of the work is breathtaking.

Betty Fussell


A magnificent undertaking in bridging the gap between science and art by means of food as subject.

Adam Reid

Head Chef, The French at The Midland Hotel, Manchester

A modern day classic and a compendium of everything modern cookery involves.

Francisco Migoya

Head Chef at The Cooking Lab

Everything you need to know about cooking. Period.

Pierre Hermé

Pastry chef

Giorgio Locatelli

Chef and restaurateur

Árni Ólafur Jónsson

Chef and TV presenter

Matt Abé

Chef de Cuisine, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

David Higgs

Chef, restaurant owner and partner

Peter Reinhart

Baking instructor and author

Pablo Salas

Chef, Amaranta

Aaron Franklin

Owner and Chef, Franklin Barbecue

Steven Raichlen

Author and journalist

Andrew Zimmern

Creator, executive producer and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel

Ruth Reichl

Writer, former editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine

Chase Kojima

Executive Chef of Sokyo and Kiyomi

Wolfgang Puck

Chef and restaurateur

Vikas Khanna

Chef, restaurateur, food writer

Jennifer Yong

Founder, Jenius Social

Jane Tran

Executive Chef, Eat First

J. Kenji López-Alt

Managing Culinary Director, Serious Eats

Anthony Myint

Co-Founder - Mission Chinese Food, Commonwealth, The Perennial, Zero Foodprint