MC Just Won the James Beard Award!

“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.” –James Beard

Given the quote above, we hoped that James Beard would appreciate our Ultimate Burger, and consider us to be knowledgeable in our understanding of “a really good sandwich.” It was with the enthusiasm of creativity and scientific discovery that we set out to find, not just the perfect burger, but everything! Before publishing Modernist Cuisine, there wasn’t anything like it. There was no precedent to go on. We chose to self-publish because publishing houses would only agree to a limited print run and great oversight. We published the book that we, as scientists and chefs, wanted. And it paid off. We have sold 45,000 copies in a little more than a year. And while I am greatly pleased with the response, the eminently prestigious James Beard Award is a validation of our efforts that conveys so much more than sales numbers. We are greatly honored to have received both the awards for “Professional Cooking” as well as “Cookbook of the Year.”

There is no better time than when receiving an award to publicly thank people. My coauthors, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet; photographer, Ryan Matthew Smith; and editor-in-chief, Wayt Gibbs, are just a few of the three dozen people who worked on this book. Others include our staff chefs, Grant Crilly, Johnny Zhu, Anjana Shanker, Sam Fahey-Burke; assistant photographer, Melissa Lehuta; art director, Mark Clemens; public relations representatives, Shelby Barnes, Amy Hatch, and Carrie Bachman; editors and editorial assistants, Karen Wright, Ellen Kurek, Tracy Cutchlow, and Daniel McCoy; and publishing advisors, Mark Pearson and Bruce Harris.

That’s not to even mention the expert reviewers and professionals who provided their expertise and advice. Among them are Ferran AdriĆ , Heston Blumenthal, David Chang, Kyle Connaughton, Srinivasan Damodaran, Eric Dickinson, Wylie Dufresne, James Hoffmann, David Kinch, David Julian McClements, Harold McGee, Donald Mottram, Joan Roca, Ted Russin, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Cesar Vega. If that’s not enough, dozens of other chefs provided recipes that we adapted or inspired us.

The competition for the James Beard Award was stiff this year. For “Cookbook of the Year” there were many, many cookbooks that could have easily won. Just in the “Cooking from a Professional Point of View” category we were up against the excellent Eleven Madison Park and The Art of Living According to Joe Beef. But we always knew we had an edge, and would crush the competition with the weight of our volumes, if nothing else.

Breaking News: We Won at IACP

Pop the champagne–we just won the prestigious book award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals for Modernist Cuisine, in the category of professional kitchen books. This is reason enough to celebrate, but on top of this great honor, MC also won IACP’s design award as well as the organization’s newly created award for “visionary achievement,” which recognizes excellent execution in culinary publishing. MC coauthor Maxime Bilet accepted these awards in New York on behalf of Nathan Myhrvold and the Modernist Cuisine team. Check back later this week to hear what Maxime has to say about the IACP conference and the awards.

Physics World Names MC in 2011 Top 10 List!

The British science magazine Physics World has named Modernist Cuisine one of the top 10 books of 2011. Other books on their list include Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene; The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek; and Quantum Man: Richard Feyman’s Life in Science by Lawrence Krauss.

While we love hearing that foodies (and Amazon) have included Modernist Cuisine on their “Best of 2011” lists, knowing that the scientific community regards us as one of this year’s major contributions really gets us excited. When Nathan Myhrvold first envisioned MC, he wanted to make a book that not only explains how to cook sous vide but also why it works, including easy-to-follow explanations of air pressure, the movement of heat, and the properties of water. As the book expanded in scope, so did its coverage of the science of food and cooking. Sublimation, microbiology, the health effects of various foods, and more are all treated in a deep yet approachable way.

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