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The Badge

You can’t make a reservation, and you can’t pay.

– Nathan Myrvold on having dinner at the Cooking Lab

Last night I had the rare privilege of attending one of the dinners at the Modernist Cuisine Cooking Lab.  The phrase ‘rare privilege’ can be overused, but in this case, it is completely warranted.  The purity and concentration of their flavors is off the charts.  Twenty-nine courses of it.  Needless to say, but it needs to be said: it was amazing.

But enough of that.  Photos, right?  OK, then, photos:


Bread And Butter: Pea Butter

Bread And Butter: Pea Butter

Their version tastes way better than my version.  My centrifuge goes to 1200g, while theirs goes to 27000g.  It makes a difference.

Bread And Butter: Corn Butter

Bread And Butter: Corn Butter

Corn On The Cob

Corn On The Cob: freeze dried corn, brown butter, bbq flavors

Steak Frites

Steak Frites: ultrasonic bath, aerated beef mousseline

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese: centrifuged cheese water, trehalose

Vive La France!

Blanket To Go?!

Blanket To Go?!: constructed veal marrow cream, kosher

This photo is courtesy of Edmond Sanctis, co-founder of Sahale Snacks.  It floored me and I went a fevered dream state and forgot to take a photo.  This course punched me in the soul.

France In A Bowl

France In A Bowl: fricassée of snails, frog legs, wild leeks, green almonds, ze wild mushrooms

Le Ski: Apple Snowball

Le Ski: Apple Snowball: vacuum-aerated sorbet, frozen fluid-gel powder

Tasting Of Northwest Shellfish

Oysters On The Half Shell

Oysters On The Half Shell: cryo-shucked, Taylor’s oysters, sun choke oyster cream

Calamari Salad

Calamari Salad: crispy squid jerky, mapp flame, Thai flavors

This is one of the best things I have ever eaten.  Blew my mind.  The disc underneath is uni. It is a recent creation by Chef Johnny Zhu.  I thanked him profusely.

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti alle Vongole: Taylor’s geoduck, vacuum-molded, centrifuged broth

This was before they poured in the broth.  The geoduck was turned into noodles.  Dr. Myhrvold brought a geoduck around for those who haven’t seen one.

Dr. Myrhvold Presents A Geoduck

Caramelized Scallops

Caramelized Scallops: cryo-fried, pistachio and caramelized scallop juice emulsion

More crazy modernist magic – the scallops were raw, but their surface was seared.

Liquid Love

Spring Vegetable Broth

Spring Vegetable Broth: centrifuged peas, pickled Meyer lemon, sheep’s milk ricotta

Liquid Baked Potato

Liquid Baked Potato: potato ravioli, roasted potato broth, sour cream spheres

Beef Stew

Beef Stew: rare beef jus, cured beef marrow, pressure cooked barley

Caramelized Carrot Soup

Caramelized Carrot Soup: pressure caramelization, vacuum compression, young coconut

I’m happy to report that the soup tasted like the version I made at home.  It shows that the cookbook recipes are accurate and that it can be done by home cooks as well.  Nice!

Cocotte Of Brassicas

Cocotte Of Brassicas: cabbage juice emulsion, flash pickled muscat grapes, LOTS of brassicas

Cream Of Mushroom

Cream Of Mushroom: bacon infusion, fluid gel foam, sous vide mushroom consommé

A fake cappuccino that was another mind blower.  This should be served at every Starbucks.

Just En Cas…

Raw Quail Egg

Raw Quail Egg: a touch of protein to invigorate the appetite

Polenta Marinara

Polenta Marinara: pressure cooked in mason jars

Mushroom Omelet

Mushroom Omelet: constructed egg stripes, combi oven, cèpes

The flavor of this, too, I was able to successfully replicate at home.  However, their stripes were PERFECT.  Need to work on my presentations…

King Salmon, Hazelhut And Sorrel

King Salmon, Hazelhut And Sorrel: delicate brine, aromatic nuts and seeds, oxalis

Poulet Rôti, Ail Confit, Jus Gras au Vin Jaune

Poulet Rôti, Ail Confit, Jus Gras au Vin Jaune: combi oven, modernist rich gravy, pressure cooked confit vegetables

Pastrami And Sauerkraut

Pastrami And Sauerkraut: 72 h sous vide, MC sauerkraut, cinnamon

Time For Cheese…


Lassi: goat milk, vacuum reduction, mint, chilies, sumac

Fruits And Creams


Ministrone: vacuum infusion, modernist sorbet, candied white beans

This was a very cool dish: a combination of ingredients that are coming into and going out of season.  The sorbet is cucumber.  A light and refreshing “soup”.

Banana Split

Banana Split: centrifuged banana juice


Gelato: constructed creams: pistachio


Gelato: constructed creams: raspberry/macadamia


Gelato: constructed creams

Tea And Coffee

Tea And Coffee: vacuum infusion, acid coagulation

Notice the nice custom serviceware.  You can do that when you have a fully outfitted fabrication studio in the same building.

Tea And Coffee


Gummy Worms

Gummy Worms: high-fat gel, shaped in fish-lure molds

So that was it.  29 courses.  I thought there was 30 but I guess I was wrong. I made sure to thank every cook and service person.  They were all awesome. Most kitchens are hidden behind the scenes, but they had to do everything in front of us.  Really, just great.  If any of you are reading this – thanks again!  Special props to Scott, of course.  You da man.

On the way out, we traded in our badges for a small box.  I waited until I was home to open the box and see what was in it.  The 30th course, of course.

Bacon Caramel Chocolates, à Emporter

Bacon Caramel Chocolates, à Emporter

Expanded Mind, Expanded Waistline

There’s not much to say except the obvious: Holy Crap Was That Amazing.  I’m looking forward to continuing my way through the cookbook, and learning to emulate what I experienced. And upon further thought, the philosophy of Modernist Cuisine and its influences will…I think…well…um…

Holy Crap Was That Amazing.

I sat here, and I ate.