When it comes to cooking techniques, the classics are well covered. But the latest and greatest techniques, developed by the most innovative chefs in the world, were largely undocumented until we and Chris Young, along with the rest of our team, published Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking in 2011. At six volumes and 2,438 pages, it wasn’t an ordinary cookbook. Many people were skeptical that it would interest a wide audience.
As it turned out, Modernist Cuisine sold out of its first printing within weeks; it is now in its fourth printing. The book has been translated into French, German, and Spanish. It has been reviewed in thousands of news articles. Long discussion threads about the book on the eGullet Internet forum have been viewed more than 300,000 times.
We often get the question “Isn’t this book only for professionals?” The answer is no; we wrote and designed Modernist Cuisine for anybody who is passionate and curious about cooking. As hundreds of blogs and forum postings show, many amateurs have embraced the book. Of the 1,800 or so recipes in it, probably half could be made in any home kitchen. That number rises to perhaps two-thirds or three-quarters for those willing to buy some new equipment (for cooking sous vide, for example).
The remaining recipes are indeed challenging— even for professionals. We felt that many food enthusiasts would like to be on the front lines of culinary innovation and get a chance to understand the state of the art, even if they couldn’t execute every recipe. At the same time, we realized that we had the right team and resources to bring the Modernist cuisine revolution to an even wider audience of home cooks by developing less complex recipes that require less expensive equipment. The result is this book, Modernist Cuisine at Home (in-stores October 8, 2012).
Although we kept Modernist Cuisine in the title, this new book is not a condensed version of its predecessor. If you want to learn about food safety, microbiology, the history of foie gras cultivation, or hundreds of other topics, Modernist Cuisine is still the book to turn to.
This book focuses on cooking equipment, techniques, and recipes. Part One details tools, ingredients, and cooking gear that we think are worth having. Equipment once available only to professional chefs or scientists is now being manufactured for the home kitchen; we encourage you to try it. But we also show you how to get by without fancy appliances, such as how to cook fish sous vide in your kitchen sink and how to cook steak in a picnic cooler.
Part Two contains 406 recipes, all of which are new. In some cases, we took popular Modernist Cuisine recipes— Caramelized Carrot Soup (see page 178), Mac and Cheese (see page 310), and Striped Mushroom Omelet (see page 148)—and developed simpler versions. In general, the food is less formal; you’ll find recipes for Crispy Skinless Chicken Wings (see page 254) and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (see page 318).
What’s the same as Modernist Cuisine is our focus on quality in both the information in the book and in the way it is presented. You’ll find stunning cutaways of equipment, step-by-step photos for most recipes, and ingredients measured in grams (because every serious cook should have a scale). We use the same high-quality paper, printing, and binding that we did for Modernist Cuisine. The kitchen manual is again printed on washable, waterproof paper. We hope that in following the vision we set out to accomplish with our first book, we have created a great experience for home chefs who want an introduction to Modernist cuisine.