If you haven’t already, read How The Modernist Cuisine Book Caused My Existential Crisis – Part 1.

And so I wallowed in my untimeliness, still gawking with the turn of every page at the unparalleled photography and exhaustive parametric permutations of each new recipe.  “What could I possibly write now?” I questioned.  And then I had a realization….

It occurred to me that the modernist food revolution I was so sad to miss has actually just barely started.  Rather than feeling “late to the party”, I now recognize that the publication of Modernist Cuisine represents a critical phase for the movement: democratization. 

Until now, only a few chefs in the world have been able to execute the types of dishes featured in the Modernist Cuisine book.  Most of these chefs (Ferran Adira, in particular) are highly skilled and highly creative people, but they’re also people who have the time and resources to devote to such an R&D-heavy brand of cooking.  Experimentation certainly doesn’t come cheap.

Let’s take, for example, the problem of thickening…

Reading time: 5 min

Right now, I’m one of the few very fortunate people in the world who have a copy of the Modernist Cuisine book.  I’ve been a vocal fan(boy) of the project for nearly a year now.  As my wife can attest, discussing the subject of this book has been a favorite pastime of mine… at cocktail parties, friends’ birthdays, on vacation, to tech support call operators, at drive-through windows, and to just about anyone else who will listen.  About two weeks ago while I was driving to work, I got an email asking if I could swing by the Intellectual Ventures office to pick up a review copy.  I nearly drove my car through the median in my eagerness.

I got the books, brought them home, and posted an “unboxing coming soon” teaser article.  That was two weeks ago.  Since then – not a single mention.  The books that I’ve been salivating over for nearly a year finally arrive and I don’t post a word.  What happened?

I had an existential crisis.

Reading time: 4 min

I love discovering that someone is secretly a geek.  I love it even more when that person also happens to be a chef.

I had the recent pleasure of dining at Kirkland’s lowercase waterfront hotspot bin on the lake and I got to spend some time chatting with the newly-arrived chef Paul Hyman (disclosure: this was a hosted dinner).  Chef Hyman’s Louisiana roots were evident in his passion for food (everyone I know from Louisiana is a food fanatic), and his previous positions at highly-respected kitchens in Boston and Portland made him seem like a very natural fit for an upscale Pacific Northwest restaurant like bin.  However, I quickly realized that behind the mandatory Ranch Name + Organic + Popular Cut Served with Locally Grown Seasonal Vegetable (which was delicious, by the way) this chef was secretly channeling his deepest inner geek.

Take, for example, the dinner menu’s only pasta course: Corzetti.  Rather than opt for the more predictable handmade ravioli (which are to Seattle menus as Subarus are to Seattle streets), he chose a fresh pasta that I’d never seen on a menu before. I was intrigued.  The chef came to the table holding a pair of round wooden blocks and explained that they were handmade stamps for the little discs of pasta he served.  Not only does stamping the pasta create more surface area for it to hold sauce (winning geek points already), but these corzetti stamps are only made by a few people in the world and required a trip to Italy just to obtain.  Exclusive, nice.

Click through for more, plus photos of dinner.

Reading time: 3 min