From the blog November 19, 2010 Matt

Modernist Eye Candy: From High-Speed to Eye-Speed

Modernist Cuisine is packed with hard-earned food science facts and beautiful photographs that illustrate the data. This unique combination of art and science sets Modernist Cuisine apart from other culinary books.

But, as striking as the pages of Modernist Cuisine are, print sometimes doesn’t do the subject or the science justice. Written explanations and static illustrations of why a popcorn kernel pops, why oil flare-ups are instrumental to the flavor of barbecue, or how surface tension affects fluid dynamics, can be interesting and informative. Sometimes, though, nothing tells the story better than a few seconds of high-speed, high-definition video of the science in action. Here is an example:

Oil ignites on hot charcoal.

In a previous post, photographer Ryan Matthew Smith described the equipment and processes that he and the kitchen team used to capture this amazing footage. The resulting video is truly gripping and should capture the attention of foodies, artists, and geeks alike. But Ryan and the kitchen team aren’t ready to put the camera away just yet. They will continue to shoot high-speed, high-definition videos to be posted here in the coming months, but they need your help.

What fast-paced, food-related action or activity would you like to see slowed down to naked-eye speed? Leave a comment and let the team know!


  1. brian November 19, 2010 Reply

    these videos are really cool. i great perspective of how things work.
    hmmm…what would i like to see next? what about a baguette baking or pizza cooking in a high heat oven?

  2. Eric November 19, 2010 Reply

    That is absolutely beautiful.

  3. Andy November 20, 2010 Reply

    I would love to see droplets of oil being whisked into in vinegar (making of a vinaigrette)

  4. Teddy Devico November 22, 2010 Reply

    Frying pork skin

  5. Jesse November 24, 2010 Reply

    Beef searing.
    Anything frying.
    Liquids emulsifying in a blender.
    Things solidifying rapidly via LN2.

  6. Earl Lee November 27, 2010 Reply

    1. Droplet of water sizzling on a pan.
    2. Foam being dispensed out of a cream whipper.
    3. A toast bread being stretched and broken into two pieces.
    4. Spherification of fruit caviar

  7. ted December 3, 2010 Reply

    This is a great invitation. I always loved the show Time Warp and always wanted to see them do more food related episodes. Here is my chance.

    Citrus Zest igniting

    Spices (Cinnamon) being ignited

    Cross Scored Calamari being sauteed

    Bonito Flakes on a Hot Tempura Fried Sushi Roll

    Peking Duck Skin being cracked

  8. dave December 23, 2010 Reply

    As some of the previous comments indicate, I’m wondering if you’ll be doing any time-lapse videos to complement the hi-speed ones.

    • Ryan Matthew Smith December 24, 2010 Reply


  9. Kris B. January 14, 2011 Reply

    Thank you so much for these amazing videos!

    Frying Starch Noodles (such as Mung Bean) has an amazing “snake-like” effect!!

    Maybe Flambé?

    Water boiling?
    Dye in water?

    Jello (or gel) wobbling?

    Thank you!

  10. Pina February 2, 2011 Reply

    Brûléed sugar

  11. MEP May 6, 2011 Reply

    I’d love to see an egg frying. and maybe a vinagrette emulsifying, some of those basic things we do every day in cooking (like the coffee and cream video you posted).

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