My Life in food: Nathan Myrhrvold


By the time Myrhrvold was 13, he was already cooking Thanksgiving dinners for his family. Food and its photography soon became twin obsessions. He initially worked as the chief technology officer for Microsoft, taking leaves of absence to earn his culinary diploma from the Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in France. His move from technology to food was not, however, completed until he released his justly famed paeans to modern cooking techniques, Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home. His latest book, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, is published 22 October (£80).

What are your most- and least-used pieces of kitchen kit?

The most-used piece of kitchen equipment in my kitchen is a water bath, used for cooking sous vide. The least used... boy, there’s a lot of competition because I’ve got a big kitchen and I am a sucker for gadgets. But I think the least used thing at the moment is probably a Japanese stainless-steel sea-urchin opener.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it, and on what?

I would go to Costco and buy a big tub of imported Mozzarella di Buffalo. In the US, Costco’s Mozzarella di Buffalo has just the correct creaminess, taste and great texture. If there was money left over, coarse salt, too.

What do you eat for comfort?

Barbecued pork ribs. Pork ribs, particularly if they’re cooked properly, are rich, excessive and quite wonderful. Comfort food, for me, is best when it harks back to a different age. For me, pork ribs do that.

If you could eat only bread or potatoes, which would you choose?

Bread for sure, because it spans a greater range of flavours and textures than potatoes. And also bread carries with it cultural history – baguette, naan, tortilla or brioche, breads are indelibly shaped by the cultures that created them, often for a set of practical reasons that have long since vanished: for example, flat breads were great because they could be made faster than other breads. And sourdough was almost certainly the original kind of bread. Cultivated yeast came much later. Sourdough has a variety of problems that cultivated yeast solved. Nonetheless, the characteristic taste and texture of it is wonderful and so it also survives.

What’s your desert island recipe?

I guess that would have to be fish that I caught myself, cooked in a solar-powered cooker because what else would I have on the desert island?

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Usually, the one I’m most excited about is the most recent one I ate at. In Japan, I had sushi at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Jiro Ono’s cuisine is exquisite. It’s about refining the classics. It’s a completely different approach than Ferran Adrià’s, say. At elBulli, you’d never see the same dish twice. You know Jiro has spent 6o years perfecting each dish. It’s great that the culinary world embraces both these approaches.

What’s your favourite cook book?

Le Guide Culinaire, by Auguste Escoffier. I got it from a library when I was a kid and, to me at the time, it meant this whole world of exotic French cooking. It still means that to me now, even though I’ve learned a whole lot of stuff since then.

Suggested Topics
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected