‘Modernist Cuisine’ gallery shows food in new perspective — PHOTOS

Updated May 23, 2017 - 10:43 am

The first, most logical reaction to Nathan Myhrvold’s photography is: How?

The founder of the “Modernist Cuisine” line of cookbooks has shot a blender cut precisely in half, tomatoes arranged as if mid-blend; a burger, each part suspended midair; and popcorn still attached to the cob.

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“Pretty much, it’s things you can put in your mouth,” he says of his photographic subjects.

The images seem to defy the laws of physics. It makes sense, then, that Myhrvold, who holds a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics and master’s degrees in geophysics and space physics, would be able to create them.

The answer is: Don’t try this at home, folks. Not that the average person could, anyway.

The magic happens in a cooking lab — this is no mere kitchen — outside Seattle. There, a group of scientists and chefs use a vast array of tools, including an abrasive water jet that shoots tiny garnet particles at twice the speed of sound to cut just about anything, to experiment with food that’s surprising, aesthetically pleasing and delicious.

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The results of Myhrvold and his team’s work have appeared in a series of books, including the five-volume “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking,” and been exhibited at museums throughout the country. Now, visitors to the Forum Shops at Caesars can view and purchase the photography at Modernist Cuisine Gallery, which plans a grand opening Tuesday. The gallery, located on level one near the spiral escalator, is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

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The idea for a permanent gallery grew out of requests from viewers of Myhrvold’s exhibits for a way to purchase his photographs for display. Prints will start at less than $1,000 and will include new photographs exclusive to the gallery.

“There’s a constant flow of people in these malls, and it gives us an opportunity to hang out our shingle and see who’s interested in the pictures,” Myhrvold says.

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Myhrvold, CEO of Intellectual Ventures and former chief technology officer at Microsoft, first decided to write a book about the science of cooking in 2005. Integrating stunning photography was a way to get the average reader interested in the dense scientific processes. “Modernist Cuisine” has grown into a full-fledged production, with its latest book, “Modernist Bread,” coming this year.

The Modernist Cuisine Gallery at the Forum Shops is something of an experiment for Myhrvold and his team. It’s their first permanent gallery and first opportunity for the public to buy Modernist Cuisine prints. If it proves successful, they’ll look at opening permanent galleries elsewhere.

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“There’s a big question in some people’s minds — not in mine, but I realize I have no objectivity here — are people going to want to collect and display in their homes and offices big, beautiful pictures of food?” Myhrvold says. “I say yes, because more people are foodies and self-identify as foodies now than ever before. What we eat is an enormously important part of who we are culturally, who we are as people. It’s an incredible passion for folks. I’m just hoping I find people who agree with all that.”

Contact Sarah Corsa at scorsa@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0353. Follow @sarahcorsa on Twitter.

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