Slideshow: Behind the Scenes at James Beard Best Cookbook Winner Modernist Cuisine's Cooking Lab

Birdseye View
Birdseye View
The Cooking Lab at Intellectual Ventures in Bellevue. One small corner of a 30,000 foot space.
iSi Whipper and Pepper Mill
iSi Whipper and Pepper Mill
Hundreds of objects were cut in half like this in order to display their inner workings.
A Microwave
A Microwave
You can see the stirrer and the magnetron in this cross section, along with a bag of popcorn (each kernel was meticulously glued into place).
The Traditional Pantry
The Traditional Pantry
Spices and dried herbs sit right next to...
The Modernist Pantry
The Modernist Pantry
...gelling agents, emulsifiers, thickeners, and other such fun things.
The Water Jet Cutter
The Water Jet Cutter
David Chang looks on coolly at a machine capable of cutting pretty much anything with a high powered water jet infused with a fine grit.
The Water Circulator
The Water Circulator
A circulator from Polyscience designed to maintain a water bath temperature to within a tenth of a degree. The ping pong balls floating on top serve as an insulator, helping the bath to maintain its temperature.
Plating Monkfish
Plating Monkfish
A plate of monkfish liver torchon, cooked in the water bath.
A Rotary Evaporator
A Rotary Evaporator
A rotary evaporator is used for low-temperature distillation. The idea is that by applying a vacuum to a liquid, it will evaporate at very low temperatures, allowing you to extract different compounds without cooking them. Remarkably pure flavors are the result.
Freeze Dried Elotes
Freeze Dried Elotes
Mexican street corn on a spoon with freeze dried corn, cotija, chili, and cilantro.
A Cold Hot Line
A Cold Hot Line
No gas burners here—everything is cooked on portable induction cooktops which heat metal by creating an alternating electromagnetic field. The field induces an alternating current in the metal in the pan, which subsequently heats up via resistance. It's fast, energy efficient, and keeps the kitchen cool.
Plating
Plating
Vegetables being plated for a dish of rare beef stew.
Up In Smoke
Up In Smoke
A blast of steam escapes from the Rational combi-oven used to crisp up the skins of the chickens just before serving.
The Chicken
The Chicken
The breast meat is extraordinarily moist, and the paper-thin crisp skin melts in your mouth.
The Homogenizer
The Homogenizer
A high powered mounted homogenizer easily emulsifies fats and liquids into stable, creamy mixtures. The head has a unique shearing action that I'm hoping will find its way to handheld burr blenders soon.
The Machine Shop
The Machine Shop
Prototypes of kitchen tools and all of the other projects going on at Intellectual Ventures are rigged up in this gigantic machining shop.
Foie Rocher
Foie Rocher
There's really no reason this slide is here, other than the fact that these hazelnut and chocolate-coated balls of frozen foie gras terrine are incredibly good.
Nathan Presents a Dish
Nathan Presents a Dish
Michael Laiskonis, Michael Voltaggio, Karl Vennes, and Waylnn Lucas, Dana Cowin, and Anne Haerle look on as Nathan Myhrvold explains the next course.
Strike a Pose
Strike a Pose
Little bonus for those of you who stuck it out to the end of the slideshow. Nathan Myhrvold strikes an unfortunate (but humorous) pose with a geoduck. Tim Zagat looks on, unimpressed.