Food Photography to Whet your Appetite: A Look Inside our New Coffee Table Book

Photograph of Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography coffee table book

To celebrate the release of Food & Drink: Modernist Cuisine Photography, which is available now, we’re giving you a look at some of the iconic images from our new coffee table book. Food & Drink commemorates the last decade of Modernist Cuisine food photography. Nathan and the team have taken thousands and thousands of photos in that time. We spent over a year combing through our archives, selecting more than 200 of our favorite images for this new photography collection.

The 216-page Food & Drink examines its subject matters through six different lenses—photography speed, photography scale, cutaway photography, portraiture, still-life photography, and playing with food—to illustrate how Nathan and the team play with different technology, equipment, styles, and perspectives to capture foods and drinks in a new light. Here’s some of the gorgeous food photography that you’ll discover inside.

The Speed of The Photography

Human eyes only work so quickly, which means there are lots of beautiful and important things we just can’t see. Our reflexes often aren’t fast enough to capture a fleeting moment of action, like a champaign splash. The miracle is when you capture the movement and speed of the subject in a particular moment; it is both remarkably beautiful and can be quite unexpected.

In other cases, a phenomenon that appears instantaneous to the naked eye actually contains complexities that are only revealed when the motion is slowed to a hundredth or thousandth of its normal pace. Our studio includes a DSLR camera and a specialized, high-speed video camera, as well as custom-built robot-assisted cameras and specialized flashes, to capture moments such as these.

Cutaway photograph of creamer being poured into a coffee cup of espresso.


A perfectly brewed cup of coffee with cream is a thing of beauty in and of itself. In this cutaway view, you see the pattern made as the cream, which is lighter than the coffee but also colder, plunges to the bottom of the cup and forms billowing clouds that rise to the surface. To capture this image, Nathan built a robot that used a break-beam sensor to trigger the pitcher to pour the cream, allowing it to behave in a surprisingly repeatable way.

Photograph of a champagne splashing out of a bottle.


This image of sabered champagne was created with the help of a specially designed robot. The “saber bot” moves its metal arm toward the neck of the wine bottle with incredible force—enough to snap the neck of the bottle and let the champagne spray out. In conjunction with the robot, Nathan used a high-speed camera, allowing him to capture the cork’s flight pattern as it departs the bottle.

Two glasses of red wine dancing around each other.


The drama and elegance of the wine as it spills creates a bewitching illusion, as if the wineglasses were waltzing around the room. When the glasses bump, there’s a natural delay because of inertia, and it makes the liquid wrap around itself in the photo. Captured in an infinitesimal fraction of a second, this shot was taken with the help of a custom-built wine-catapulting robot, which launched one glass of wine after another. The arrangement of the wine wrapping around the intertwined glasses is not an editing trick—this is the exact pattern that formed when the glasses collided. Nathan usually takes hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of photos to get “the shot,” but this stunning display of wine in motion was the very first photo he took that day.

The Scale of the Photography

The scale of photography can extend from large-scale aerial photography all the way down to the microscopic. It can make us look at things differently depending on how big they are and what other clues are given to estimate size. For example, if we have a very deep depth of field in a photo and are using stacking techniques, then we can make tiny mustard seeds seem like they are boulders.

In our quest to learn more about the many facets of food, we document what we see, and sometimes we try to show it in a way that many people might not have seen it before, such as the aerial shots of wheat fields, which Nathan had to hang out of an airplane to capture.

On the other end of the spectrum are photos that show you an object on a much more intimate scale. Our perspective of food tends to be limited to the scale at which our eyes work—most people don’t examine their food up close. Seeing food magnified by photomicrography, macro, and super-macro photography lets us experience it in a new way.

Aerial view of green wheat fields in The Palouse region of Washington State.


At the edge of eastern Washington, far from the coast, a vast green sea tumbles over the land, turning mighty tractors into tiny skiffs. With a little imagination, one can almost envision the dusty kraken that lies beneath. The Palouse is a loess formation, which is a geologist’s term for a rich deposit of topsoil that once formed giant dunes created by the wind. Nathan took a ride in a small plane to get this bird’s-eye view of these grainfields.

Close-up view of gold, purple, and black mustard seeds.


Up close and magnified, ordinary mustard seeds become magical. It’s easy to see why an archaic name for these delicate, dimpled orbs was “eye of newt.” Mustard gets its sharp flavor from compounds called glucosinolates, which are produced by certain plants as a natural pesticide. While toxic to many insects, these pungent chemicals have made mustard, the earliest known spice, incredibly popular for nearly 6,000 years.

Vitamin C as seen through a microscope.


It may look like an ocean on a distant planet, but this otherworldly sea could actually fit on the head of a pin. This microscopic view of vitamin C, which is also called ascorbic acid, was photographed with a custom microscope. Nathan used polarized light to illuminate the unique patterns of crystals that form when powdered ascorbic acid is dissolved in water and then dried.

A Change of Perspective

Creating compelling visual imagery is a huge part of what we do at Modernist Cuisine because we believe the way information is presented is just as important as the quality of the information itself. Many of our photos carry a pedagogical burden. We use concepts like levitating photos, which show a breakdown of a dish’s components, to convey technical and scientific concepts in a way that’s accessible. These photos allow you to see at a glance what goes into a dish, whether it’s a cheeseburger or a pizza.

We also take and annotate cutaway photographs to explain the scientific principles and equipment at work when you cook or bake. Other cutaways show food in a way that you might not have considered before. Although we had to figure out quite a few tricks to bisect complex gear such as ovens and blenders, hold food in place, and show liquids sliced through the middle, the results were worth the effort.

Our research kitchen and photo studio happen to be under the same roof as a state-of-the-art machine shop staffed by talented machinists and instrument makers. We relied on them to figure out how to fully disassemble complex cooking tools, cut them in half, and then—here’s the real challenge—put them back together, in some cases in working order.

Levitating photographs of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cheeseburger, which allows you to see every component that's layered on the sandwich and burger.


It turns out you don’t need magic or zero gravity to levitate food. All it takes is a camera and a little ingenuity. This image is one of our most iconic from Modernist Cuisine; it developed a signature style of photography found in each of our books. The results are both functional—each special layer is highlighted simultaneously—and engaging as they reveal two all-American classics from new and enchanting points of view.

Cutaway view of a red KitchenAid mixer with whipped cream in the bowl.


In order to achieve this photo, the highly skilled machinists in Nathan’s machine shop completely disassembled a KitchenAid stand mixer and cut it in half piece by piece before painstakingly putting it back together. Nathan uses cutaways like this to show how common kitchen tools work. By offering a unique view, he is constantly challenging the way people see food.

Close-up view of the foam of a yellow pilsner.


When you open a bottle of beer or draw it from the tap of a keg, it goes from a cold, high-pressure environment to a warmer environment at a much lower pressure. The change in pressure and temperature causes much of the carbon dioxide to bubble out of solution, creating a galaxy of bubbles expanding toward the top of the beer.

Playing with Your Food

A sense of wonder and curiosity about food permeates the photography in all of our books. It only made sense that our food photography should be forward-looking and, in some cases, playful. Sometimes this means making a condiment cannon to shoot ketchup onto french fries or fencing with a pair of stale baguettes. Other photos are homages to artists who liked to play with food.

These types of creative photos are meant to break the mold of typical food photography. And they are often the result of much collaboration and a lot of trial and error before getting the shot that we want.

It seems natural to play with your food when it’s so familiar—we’re used to looking at it so why not experiment and have some fun? Part of the process of creating these photographs is to be playful and try things that don’t always work. And, even when they do, they might make a hell of a mess.

Dali-inspired scene with Neapolitan pizzas draped over a tree, with Mount Vesuvius in the background.


The iconic soft Neapolitan pizzas that Nathan had in Italy inspired him to re-create the “soft watches” in Dalí’s classic painting The Persistence of Memory. Dalí often featured landscapes from his home in Catalonia, Spain, but he incorporated Mount Vesuvius in the background as a nod to Naples, the birthplace of pizza.

Pop art photograph of red ketchup exploding onto french fries


Ketchup is a non-Newtonian fluid—a liquid that, when at rest, acts like a solid, meaning it stubbornly stays in the bottle even if you turn it upside down. While annoying when eating a burger, it’s a fascinating food to photograph. You could get the ketchup flowing by giving the embossed “57” on a Heinz ketchup bottle a few vigorous whacks . . . or if you’re Nathan, you could build a “condiment cannon” that uses high-powered compressed air to blast the ketchup onto french fries to take pictures like this.

Andy Warhol-inspired pop art photograph of Campell's tomato soup splashing into more soup below.


Pop art burst on the scene in the 1960s, driven by the creative efforts of Andy Warhol and others. His 1962 series featuring Campbell’s soup epitomized the art of a generation and provided inspiration for this shot.

Still-Life Photography

Often food photography is meant to evoke a memory or feeling. But other types of food photography document something akin to a still life. Still-life images often depict a scene with food—these can be as simple as fruit in a bowl or as elaborate as a feast with pheasants and vegetables meant to represent the autumnal harvest. Some still-life images can give you a sense of what a food looked like in the past.

A lot of our photos focus on the food itself and have little adornment in the scene. That said, we also enjoy creating photos that are closer to the classic still life that tells a story.

Portrait of shrimp cocktail on a fork on black.


Nathan didn’t have to find the biggest shrimp at the market to create this crustacean lover’s dream. In addition to playing with lighting and perspective, he used a photography technique called focus stacking, which involved taking 365 images, to help capture the incredible details of this larger-than-life, perfectly poached shrimp.

Photograph of Neapolitan pizza ingredients, arranged as a man, inspired by the paintings of Acrimbaldo.


Neapolitan Man was inspired by the works of Italian painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo, a 16th-century court portraitist. His playful portraits were most famously made with fruits and vegetables. Pizza, as we know it today, had not been invented at that time. But Nathan created an homage to what Guiseppe might have made if he’d been lucky enough to have pizza, using ingredients like Caputo 00 flour, fior di latte mozzarella, and dried Calabrian chilies.

Rye bread that has been shaped to look like a brick in a wall.


In Modernist Bread, we had a category of breads that we dubbed “brick-like breads,” which are mostly made up of grains, seeds, nuts, or dried fruits all bound by a very wet and loose dough. We were celebrating the rich density of these unique breads, which are made in a way that’s quite different from other breads; they are almost akin to a grain pâté.

Food Portraits

The photos found in this chapter are about looking at food as the thing itself. We know, calling it portraiture anthropomorphizes the food, but there’s something to that. It forces you to look at an individual piece of food in all its uniqueness. By reducing the scene to focus only on that food in some interesting way, you emphasize it; you see it as something unique and interesting that demands your attention.

We chose to shoot the majority of our food portraits on stark backgrounds of black or white, which serves an aesthetic purpose because it elevates the drama inherent in the food itself. For example, our photo called Real Tomatoes Have Curves focuses on the tomato; it’s almost as though it’s looking right at you. The images in this chapter are not trying to evoke some set piece in a kitchen. They are portraits of a piece of food. It’s worshipping that thing as an object, as a thing unto itself.

Portrait of green cabbage on black


Shrouded in its outer leaves, ordinary red cabbage transforms into something extraordinary. In the field, red cabbage is blanketed with a cloudy layer of wild yeast (the same is true of grapes). When cabbage arrives at grocery stores, the outer leaves are typically discarded, which is why consumers ordinarily don’t see the yeast. Nathan found this cabbage at the farmers’ market and instantly called it the most charismatic cabbage he had ever seen.

Portrait of red heirloom tomato


The tomato is not a vegetable but a fruit—a berry, to be exact. Although thousands of varieties exist today, the first tomatoes grew wild in western South America and Mesoamerica. Tiny and yellow, the fruits bore little resemblance to this curvaceous heirloom tomato. Spanish conquistadors introduced tomatoes to Europe in the mid-1500s, but three centuries elapsed before they were fully embraced.

Close-up view of blueberries


From this ant’s-eye view, you can see a world in captivating detail, including the powdery wild yeast that coats the blueberry. A modified Cambo camera built with custom software precisely calculates and focuses each part of the image with a technique called focus stacking.

We can’t wait for you to dig into Food & Drink. It’s a book that we hope you’ll cherish for years to come. Order your copy from the Modernist Cuisine Shop today.

The Story Behind the Photo: Bread Pitt

Every photograph tells a story, but there’s also a story behind every photograph: the equipment, the techniques, the location, and the time that went into composing the shot. There are over 5,600 photos in Modernist Bread and nearly half a million more were taken—that’s a lot of stories to tell.

Visual imagery is a huge part of what we do, but we faced new challenges with Modernist Bread. The bright, bold color palette from our previous books shifted to shades of brown and off-white when our focus turned to bread. That meant that Nathan and the photography team had to be even more creative with the visuals, which makes for a lot of great stories. While we can’t share them all, the story behind our all-bread Giuseppe Arcimboldo tribute (internally known as Bread Pitt) is one that we’ve been looking forward to revealing.

The Inspiration

In addition to historical texts, Nathan and the team looked to historical artwork to learn how bread was shaped, served, sold, and eaten over the centuries. Visiting museums like the Louvre and archeological sites like Pompeii, they found clues in art: ancient frescos of markets, mosaics of bakeries, depictions of the last supper, still-life paintings of food and meals. Along the way, some of those works also became the inspiration for photographs in the book.

The 16th-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo is best known for painting chimerical portraits and caricatures composed entirely of objects. Some of his “composite faces” were made up of household items, such as books, gilded vases, silverware, tools—even a spinning wheel. But like many artists of his time, the natural world and its curiosities was a source of inspiration for Arcimboldo. He captured the likeness of subjects from a wide variety of flora, fauna, and foods. From a distance, Arcimboldo’s paintings appear to be ordinary portraits. Luckily, they can’t be taken at face value. As you get closer to the paintings, the objects reveal themselves and his subjects transform into surreal faces carefully made up of tree branches, flowers, roots, grains, vegetables, fruits, sea creatures, snails, birds—not to mention roasts.

Building Bread Pitt

Bread Pitt began as a sketch. In addition to being an inspiration, Arcimboldo’s work helped us figure out we could arrange different breads to create our own composite face. After studying the paintings, head chef Migoya began to map out the breads that he could use to make a face, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges of the project. Making the bread, instead of painting it, presented a special set of considerations. Taking shape, size, and proportion into account, he had to creatively fit different types of loaves together like puzzle pieces.

All the breads, for example, had to keep the proportions of a face. Mini-breads, which might lose their shape, were out and the scale of the face became apparent. Its nose, a full-size baguette, put into context how big all the other loaves had to be. The sketch itself had to be as true to size as possible so that he could also determine how many loaves to make.

Facial feature by facial feature, the details of our bread face started to come together. We used almost every shape of bread possible: challah as impeccably groomed hair, bushy eyebrows made of epi baguettes, pretzels for ears, miches became full cheeks. He included a number of French regional breads, thanks to their inventive shapes. A pain d’Aix, for example, resembles a bow tie and a fendu could easily double as lips.
Then the baking began. Over a couple of days he and the culinary team baked over five dozen loaves of bread. During that time, chef Migoya sculpted a base out of a large piece of Styrofoam that he reinforced with wire netting. Once all the bread was ready, he began building the sculpture, using metal rods and glue to keep the bread in place. From start to finish, construction took between six and seven hours.

When complete, the finished sculpture came in at over 3-by-4 feet. Nathan photographed the portrait of Bread Pitt in our photo studio. From the lighting to the dark painted backdrop, the set was carefully built to mimic details found in many of Arcimboldo’s works.


After the shoot, Bread Pitt was moved to our library with other mementos we accumulated while working on Modernist Bread. The sculpture stayed intact for about six months—much to our surprise and delight. But like all things, Bread Pitt couldn’t last forever. Although Bread Pitt eventually became buggy and fell apart, he is immortalized in photographs, the book, and the sketch that still hangs in our kitchen.

Introducing the Modernist Cuisine Gallery

We’ve always done things a little differently at Modernist Cuisine. We self-publish so that we can make books in our own, and undeniably huge, way. It’s an experiment that has allowed readers to see food as we do—as something that is endlessly fascinating, powerful, and beautiful.

Our first book, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science, broke many of the rules for cookbooks, including how they should be illustrated. Early on, we decided not to photograph food in traditional ways, opting instead to cut kitchen equipment in half, use high-speed video and laboratory microscopes, develop innovative digital tools, and turn ordinary ingredients like grapefruit or kernels of wheat into stunning monoliths with macro lenses. Four books later, the stunning, distinctive images we create are still an integral part of how we share our research and love of food.

The way in which critics and readers have embraced our photography is beyond what we could have imagined. We included small prints in Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home, and were amazed to discover that people were framing them and asking for large custom sizes. The acclaim inspired us to embark on another big experiment—the Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition. We dramatically scaled up the size of our images and made larger prints; some are as big as a full-sized bed. In museum after museum, visitors have asked where they can purchase prints just like the ones hanging on the wall.

Unfortunately, for some time, we haven’t been able to give the answer fans were looking for. We know there are many people who, like us, love to see and take pictures of food. For some reason, however, photos of food have never really been considered fine art photography. Photographs of nature, fashion, celebrities, babies, cars, architecture, animals, and ordinary objects like locks and keys—even subjects that make some squeamishly uncomfortable—are considered fine art. Why not food?

The Modernist Cuisine Gallery, our next experiment, will challenge this issue head on. We are standing up for food as a subject matter because we believe it can be both beautiful and intriguing, and deserves a place on walls alongside other works of art.

We could have chosen to exhibit our pictures in established art galleries, but we decided to take the same approach we have always taken—doing things in our own way. Building our own retail gallery affords us the ability to lavish care on every aspect of discovering, owning, and displaying one of our pictures. When the Modernist Cuisine Gallery opens at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in May 2017, it will be the first gallery in the world to focus only on food photography by a single artist – a mission that is unabashedly bold.

The gallery will include limited edition prints of photos by Nathan produced using the highest quality and most durable print methods available.  The gallery’s opening collection will debut stunning new photos, plus a few iconic images that you may recognize from our books. The prints will be available in several frame, media, and size options—including large-scale options for big spaces – available for shipping worldwide.

Las Vegas has become an incredible food destination that draws people from around the globe. We look forward to sharing our photography with new audiences and giving people the opportunity to see the beauty of food on their own walls.

For now, we’re excited to reveal just a few of the images that will be available for the first time. This, however, is just the beginning. We will have more updates, information, and prints to share as the gallery prepares to open its doors.

We look forward to seeing you in Vegas!

Modernist Bread preorders begin today!

Last spring we revealed news about the scope and size of our upcoming book, Modernist Bread. With five full volumes and a kitchen manual, this enormous tome will be almost the exact size (and weight) of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. We were thrilled by the tremendous response we received. We heard from many of you, and the top question was “When can I order the book?” The answer is: now.

Modernist Bread: The Art and Science Book Trailer from Modernist Cuisine on Vimeo.

Beginning today, you can preorder Modernist Bread on through,,,,,, and You can also order the book through local bookstores that work with Ingram Content Group.

Like our first book, Modernist Bread retails for $625.00 USD and spans more than 2,300 pages. It’s time to clear space on your bookshelves, stock up on flour, and practice team-lifting the delivery box with a friend or loved one—we anticipate that Modernist Bread will arrive in May 2017 with our first foreign language editions in the queue for 2018.

We know that some of you have been following the progress of this project for some time, so we wanted to celebrate the countdown with a taste of what you will discover this May. To mark the arrival of the next bread revolution, we have created a companion 2017 wall calendar that features 14 of Modernist Bread’s most intriguing photos, which, we hope, will inspire you with the hidden beauty of bread. And now when you preorder Modernist Bread on US, you will receive the calendar for free while supplies last—it’s a tongue-in-cheek way to thank you for waiting so patiently.

While the Modernist Bread calendar offers a sneak peek of our newest photographs, we’re celebrating the outset of our photographic journey with the 2017 Modernist Cuisine calendar, a collection of the bold images that started it all. A snapshot of our readers’ favorite photos, it takes the book’s most captivating images off the pages, placing them onto your wall. In addition, when you purchase the Modernist Cuisine tome, you will receive the companion calendar for free, while supplies last.

Both 12-month calendars include the story behind each photo, as well as listing holidays and foodie celebrations in the United States and Canada. Retailing for $14.95, the calendars will ship in October so that you’ll have them before the winter holidays.

This isn’t the only news we have to share—read on for more details about Modernist Bread including a preview of the volumes, the new publication date and website, and what our team has been up to since our last post.

More pages, recipes, and answers to discover

Initially we thought that Modernist Bread was going to be a smaller book . . .

The process of transforming wheat into flour and then flour into bread is scientific, technological, artistic, and fairly magical. The appearance of a steak changes when you grill it, but it still resembles its raw form. Bread, however, looks nothing like the raw ingredients that went into it. Naturally, we had a lot of questions when we started this book. As we learned more, our discoveries inspired new questions, techniques, and recipes. Bread is even more complex and intriguing than we could have imagined—and so our book has grown. Thankfully, we aren’t known for making small books.

For Modernist Bread, that means telling the complete story of bread in a way that has never been done before. Since our last post in April, we have performed more than 100 additional experiments, created more than 200 recipes, and taken hundreds of photos. In all, we’ve added over 300 pages to the book. We continue to find more historical texts and freshly published studies by scientists who study bread, grains, and nutrition. We don’t want to leave out these incredible insights or the ideas that they have inspired, so we gave ourselves more time to make the book we want to make.


Although Modernist Bread will now be arriving on shelves in May 2017—later than we originally anticipated—it will be gorgeously illustrated, including modern scientific research and rigorously tested techniques and recipes. We have collaborated and consulted with 75 industry leaders around the world, including historians Jim Chevallier and Steven Kaplan, grain experts Steven Jones and Maria Speck, and bakers Ken Forkish, Richard Miscovich, Peter Reinhart, and Didier Rosada. During book production we continue to seek new answers, updating and improving the manuscript until the files need to fly off to the printer.

For now, we’re excited to share how the book will be organized. Like Modernist Cuisine, the first volume covers bread history, health, and the fundamentals of science. But that’s where the similarities end. The chapters in volume two provide a detailed look at the components of bread—from the grains that become flour to ingredients that have Modernist applications—followed by the third volume, a guidebook to the techniques of bread making. The final volumes are devoted to our recipes (as we said, we’ve developed quite a collection). These chapters span classic breads and Modernist interpretations, as well as recipes for pretzels, bao, flatbreads, and avant-garde loaves. And, of course, a book about bread would not be complete without all the wonderful condiments we love to smear and pile on bread. You can expect a new look for the casing of Modernist Bread too—the set will be housed in a sleek stainless steel case instead of clear acrylic. We’re looking forward to revealing the final design of the case and all of our potential covers in the coming year.

New challenges and surprises— our photographic journey continues

Photography is an incredibly important element for all our titles. It shows the story of food. With Modernist Cuisine, our photography team faced the challenge of showing ingredients and the science of cooking from a new, intriguing perspective. Taking inspiration from the Modernist culinary movement, we developed and adapted techniques not normally used in food photography—the result is a distinctive visual style that celebrates the power of food.

For Modernist Bread, our photography team has faced a new set of challenges. With a single-subject book of this magnitude, we’re figuring out how to show bread making from different perspectives—our illustrations need to be fresh and engaging through the very last page. As a result, our photographic style has evolved. We’ve improved many of our original techniques thanks to modern technologies and better tools, and our team has discovered creative ways to illustrate the story of bread. With more than 3,000 photos, you will be able to peer inside of a toaster to understand how it works, and you’ll also see the history and science of bread come alive in ways that will surprise you.

In addition to creating a striking book, we also want our illustrations to provide practical value. We recognize that one of the barriers to learning about bread is a lack of useful photography. Bakers, for example, rely on visual and tactile cues throughout the bread-making process, but these cues can be difficult to summarize in words alone or to accurately depict in pictures. Each week, our photography, editorial, and culinary teams work together to make sure those important details are captured in our step-by-step photos.


Ultimately, we hope that our photography allows readers to see food as we do—as a beautiful source of inspiration, wonder, and imagination. That’s exactly why we decided to create our 2017 Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Bread calendars. Each month features striking images that bring complex phenomena to life, illuminating the hidden beauty of simple ingredients and capturing a magical view of cooking or baking.

Learn how to redeem our special bundle offer

We don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of the special bundles we’ve created for Modernist Bread and Modernist Cuisine on, which is why we want to make sure you have all of the details before you order either of the books.

Each Amazon coupon is good for a $15 savings—the value of the calendars—on the price of either book. Although this is a bundled offer, each item ships separately, when it is available. This means that you don’t have to wait until May to receive your Modernist Bread calendar—it will ship as soon as they are in stock in October. When you are ready to preorder Modernist Bread or purchase Modernist Cuisine, visit the Amazon product pages for the companion calendars first. The coupon is linked to the calendars—it will become available for you to use towards the book after you purchase your calendar.

Redeeming the Amazon coupons takes a few steps, so we’ve put together instructions to help walk you through the process. You can watch the video below or read through the steps just below it to find out how the special coupon works.


  1. Purchase your Modernist Bread or Modernist Cuisine wall calendar.
  2. The coupon for a $15 savings will become available after the transaction is complete. You won’t immediately see the coupon– it will be waiting for you when you’re ready to order your book.
  3. Go to the Modernist Bread or Modernist Cuisine landing page.
  4. Add the book to your cart. The coupon will automatically appear under the price of the book when you view your shopping cart or on your Amazon coupon homepage.
  5. Click or tap on the “Clip Coupon” button. This will apply the coupon discount to the book.
  6. Proceed to checkout. The coupon savings will appear on the final order page under the ‘Place your Order’ button.

If you have any questions about Amazon coupons or experience any technical issues as you go through this process, please reach out to the Amazon team here or via phone at 1-888-280-3321 or 1-206-266-2992 for international customers. They will be more than happy to help.

A book (and new website) for any baker 

Our goals for Modernist Bread may seem audacious, but in the end, they all come down to a single objective. This book is a call to arms for any baker to embrace the possibilities of invention and follow inspiration to make breads in your own way.

The future of bread is already under way on our new site, Starting today, you can visit us there to preview content from our book. Over time, we’ll populate the site with sneak peeks of the photographs, facts, techniques, and recipes in Modernist Bread.

Project developments are never-ending. Join our mailing list, check our blog, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and announcements.

Good Things are on the Rise for Modernist Bread

A title, publication date, plus more. Discover what we’ve been up to over the last year.

Over four years ago, the Modernist Cuisine team began to sleep, eat, and breathe bread—with an emphasis on the eating part. Of course we love all food, but one could say that we’ve become enthusiastic carbivores. We still have much to learn about bread, but we have reached a significant mile marker of our journey: an official book title and a tentative publication date. And we’re excited to share those with you—we anticipate that you will be able to find Modernist Bread: The Art and Science on bookshelves in March 2017.

Photo credit: Nathan Myhrvold / Modernist Cuisine, LLC

Our passion for bread goes beyond appreciation for a really good loaf. Since this project began, we have fully immersed ourselves in the world of bread, both baking and researching it, all in the pursuit of understanding everything we possibly can about the science of bread and baking. As we’ve learned more about bread, our team has come across a rather interesting phenomenon: every new answer that we discover leads to a new question. The ingredient list can be simple, but baking bread is deceptively complex. There are still many puzzles to solve for the scientific community that studies it. Our team has performed over 1,500 experiments to date, and we’re still experimenting.

Countless loaves later, we’ve amassed (and are still generating) an incredible amount of content, so much so that it will fill five volumes, just like our first passion project, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. The culinary team has developed more than 1,200 recipes from around the world that are both traditional and avant-garde. At over a million words so far, Modernist Bread will total over 2,000 pages and feature more than 3,000 new photos.

What is Modernist Bread?

Bread has been around for a long time, and it’s one of the most technologically sophisticated foods you can make. Yet, throughout the last century, the general perception of bread has changed. It has become a good that is purchased and not made at home. For many people without access to wonderful local bakeries, bread is an afterthought at the store, and at restaurants, it’s typically served merely as an accompaniment to satiate diners as they wait for their meal to arrive. Unfortunately, it has also suffered another fate far worse—avoidance. Bread has become public enemy number one, deemed unhealthy for one reason or another, usually thanks to an abundance of bad information and poorly made bread.

REC_LEAN_Master Experiment_110hydr_--hh_60155_C_NEW

Nevertheless, a new movement is taking form in bakeries and kitchens across the globe. The next generation of bakers and chefs are positioning bread and grain back at the center of the table, infusing a 6,000-year-old tradition with a renewed spirit of creativity and innovation. As they begin to experiment, there’s a new thirst for knowledge about bread. It’s flowing out of the professional environment and into homes where people want to know how to bake bread again and how to bake it well. In many ways, Modernist Bread is a celebration of this shifting paradigm and the exciting conversations that people are having about bread.

A new home

There have been other big developments for our team, specifically over the last year. Namely, Modernist Cuisine has a new home.

The Cooking Lab. Photo credit: Chris Hoover and Duncan Smith / Modernist Cuisine, LLC

Our old kitchen was housed in a building that was a Harley-Davidson showroom during its previous incarnation. That space took shape organically as we worked on Modernist Cuisine. The long rectangular layout evolved as the scope of the book expanded and necessitated new equipment, the placement of which was dictated by where we could find available outlets instead of kitchen ergonomics. Our photo studio was located away from the kitchen in a different part of the building, which made some shoots challenging. Large dishes and projects, such as our Gaudí Gingerbread House, needed to be slowly (and tediously) wheeled through a maze of narrow corridors.

Our old kitchen will always be special to us because it was our first home, but our new space is already home. It’s larger and more functional. Our photo studio and kitchen are side by side, a change that has enhanced the collaboration between the culinary and photography teams. The square kitchen now makes it much easier to navigate and reduces the number of steps the culinary team takes throughout the day. It makes tasks like lifting heavy tubs of dough and carrying 50-pound sacks of flour that much easier. Baking bread all day is an incredibly labor-intensive craft.

Moving a culinary wonderland took about a year of planning and a month to relocate. All of our equipment is here, including the centrifuge, roto-stator homogenizer, and CVap, for which we’ve found new applications in baking. There are also a few new additions to the space. Being in a bigger space has allowed us to use new research tools, expanding what we’re able to do in-house.

Bread Scanner Photo credit: Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine, LLC

We use a 3D scanner to create three-dimensional models of our test loaves in order to compare their volumes and densities. To better understand how different flours and doughs behave during mixing and baking, we use a Chopin Mixolab. This machine measures the resistance to mixing, and the integrated software converts the data into six qualitative indices that describe important properties of dough.

Photo credit: Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine, LLC

Another new tool is the Calibre C-Cell, used in the commercial baking industry, which allows us to test the quality of flour, assess gas cell structure of the crumb and quality surface features, and measure the height and width of different types of breads.

C-Cell Machine. Photo credit: Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine, LLC

We’re now able to take all of our microscopy photos in-house. A scanning electron microscope helps us to look at ingredients at the molecular level. We’re able to see an incredible new view of bread, from the gluten structure to mold and yeast. We’ve discovered that the science of baking also happens to be fantastically beautiful—it’s just one of the many discoveries we’re thrilled to share in Modernist Bread.

SEM Machine. Photo credit: Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine, LLC

What’s to come

From time-tested traditions to brand-new discoveries, Modernist Bread will capture the science, history, and techniques that will transform foodies into bread experts. Whether you are a strict traditionalist, avid modernist, home baker, restaurant chef, or an artisanal baker, we hope that this book will open your eyes to possibilities of invention and different ways of thinking.

Toaster Cutaway. Photo credit: Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine, LLC The Cooking

Project developments are never-ending. Join our mailing list, check our blog, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and announcements.

Our prints are back. And better than ever.

You asked for more prints and we listened. We’ve partnered with, the leading digital marketplace for fine contemporary art, to curate a new series of photography prints that features some of our most captivating images from our books and The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition. Together, we’ve produced our most stunning works yet— the edge-to-edge, 17.00 x 12.00 in (43.2 x 30.5 cm) prints are reproduced on high-quality matte paper. Each work is limited to 1000 editions that come with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Each iconic image captures food from a riveting perspective using photography techniques developed by Nathan Myhrvold and our photography team:

Steaming Broccoli Cutaway, the first cutaway we ever attempted, reveals an avant-garde look at cooking as it is happening. As a result of the magical view, we went on to machine more equipment in half so that the photography team could make dozens of such cutaways.

Steaming Broccoli CutawayIn Cabbage Close-Up, the gradation of green hue tells the story of the plant’s time in the sun. From deep to pale, you can see that the bright outermost leaves were fully exposed to light, while those near the center experienced less directed sunlight.

Cabbage, Up-Close

The original Levitating Hamburger, inspired by exploded parts diagrams, is a gravity-defying homage to each flavorful layer of the Ultimate Cheeseburger and forever changed the way sandwiches and burgers are illustrated.

Levitating Hamburger

The Hidden Garden was among the most technically challenging images we created, but provides a rare glimpse of the circus-like range of colors of these roots and tubers that are normally nestled beneath soil.

The Hidden Garden

The prints are on sale now and can be purchased exclusively on And there’s more to come— intends to add additional Modernist Cuisine prints to its portfolio over time.

Have a question about prints? Contact the Artspace team at:


The Photography of Modernist Cuisine

When we wrote Modernist Cuisine, we wanted to capture our readers’ attention and engage their curiosity, exposing them to scientific principles and modern culinary techniques. We knew a text‑heavy book might be intimidating, so we added a second goal: make the book beautiful by filling it with stunning photography.

After wrapping up the production of Modernist Cuisine at Home, we decided the photos deserved to be showcased on their own. This book will allow you to see images of food in a whole new way, at a scale that the previous books didn’t allow.

Over the course of Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home, we shot over 212,000 images. From that library, we selected 405 photos for this book. Of those, 145 of our most-captivating images span the entire 26-inch-wide opened book, uninterrupted by text. Two-thirds of the photos have never before been published, and, of those, 126 images were created just for this book.

At almost 13 pounds and with pages almost 60% larger than its predecessors, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine is a massive photo book. In addition to the images themselves, we also provide a glimpse into the story behind each photograph. Some stories describe the daily cooking experiments in our lab, while others chronicle unusual foods we’ve encountered from all corners of the globe. Others, still, illuminate scientific insig hts through a view of food you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. We included these descriptions in the back of the book and also take you behind the scenes to impart how the photographs were taken and edited.

If you love food or appreciate beauty, or if you’ve ever looked at our photography and wondered how we did it, we hope The Photography of Modernist Cuisine will immerse you in a view of food that is familiar, yet profoundly new.

We hope you find a spot for The Photography of Modernist Cuisine in your home (you may have to clear off your coffee table) and enjoy the stories we share.

The Modernist Cuisine Team


Vote for MCAH Prints!

We’ve taken the photos, tested the recipes, written the text, and shipped our files off to the printer. But there’s one element of Modernist Cuisine at Home we can’t do without you: we need your help selecting images for the four 8 x 10 prints we will be including with MCAH!

To vote, post one of the photos below to the social media site of your choice by clicking the button. You can vote as many times as you’d like, but remember we’re only going to include four prints in the end!

Voting will conclude at 12 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, June 22, 2012.

Voting has closed. The winners are:

Levitating Ice Cream
Tossed Salad
Camembert on Brioche
Pizza Composite

Thank you to everyone who voted!




[vote image_url=””]

Nathan Myhrvold and Melissa Lehuta / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Tossed Salad

[vote image_url=””]

Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Pressure Cooker Cutaway

[vote image_url=””]

Tyson Stole / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Steel Oats Risotto with Snails

[vote image_url=””]

Melissa Lehuta / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Levitating Ice Cream

[vote image_url=””]

Tyson Stole / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.


[vote image_url=””]

Nathan Myhrvold / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

[vote image_url=””]

Melissa Lehuta / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.


[vote image_url=””]

Nathan Myhrvold / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Rye Noodles

[vote image_url=””]

Melissa Lehuta / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Pizza Composite

[vote image_url=”×300.jpg”]

Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Camembert on Brioche

[vote image_url=””]

Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Enoki Mushrooms

[vote image_url=””]

Ryan Matthew Smith / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.


[vote image_url=””]

Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Egg Yolks

[vote image_url=””]

Chris Hoover / Modernist Cuisine LLC. Copyright 2012 Modernist Cuisine LLC.

Prints for Sale!

Modernist Cuisine First Edition Print: Pot Roast Cutaway

Due to popular demand, we are now selling sets of prints from MC online! For $30 (plus shipping), you can choose one of two sets of prints: those included with the second printing or those included with the third printing of MC.

The first set comes with four 8-by-10-inch prints of the fried egg, pectin orange, pot roast cutaway (above), and levitating burger. The second set comes with photos of the spilling wine glass, wok cutaway, charred pepper, and black cod plate-up.

For a limited time, four lucky winners will receive an additional print from the first set, signed by photographer Ryan Matthew Smith.