Information is beautiful. In a world of complex systems, we often occupy it not really understanding the nature of the many behaviors we perform on a daily basis. We are all a bit culpable for this. We take things for granted, we don’t have time or we are not inquisitive enough to dive in and inquire why things happen or how things work. Life in its simplest of terms is beautiful but overwhelming. Nonetheless, our mind and creativity continues to inspire us and see things in new ways. In the world of information graphics, we look for ways,methods and techniques to communicate systems in its simplest visual form. We consider audience, data and delivery and attempt to bring clarity to complexity for all of us to decode. It is truly a magnificent field that requires a lot of practice and skill. To engage the widest audience and have everyone receive the information clearly is a perpetual pursuit of information designers.
I came across Nathan Myhrvold not through his past experience as the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft or his post doctoral fellowship under Stephen Hawking but through his latest pursuit to dissect food and explain it beautifully in his latest book Modernist Cuisine. As a food lover and follower of molecular gastronomy, I have been exposed to the work of the best minds behind this practice for cooking. Thanks to a good friend that works for Jose Andres, I have dived into the creativity, ingenuity and science of people like: Grant Achatz, Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, Sat Bains, Richard Blais, Marcel Vigneron, Heston Blumenthal, Sean Brock, Homaro Cantu, Michael Carlson, Wylie Dufresne, Pierre Gagnaire, Will Goldfarb, Adam Melonas, Randy Rucker, Kevin Sousa, Sean Wilkinson, Will LaRue and Laurent Gras.
Although Nathan Myhrvold is a master chef, he has decided to use his time to develop a comprehensive collection of information gastronomy in his lab. What seems to be digital section cuts of kitchen and cooking equipment, is really a physical section cut of these objects. Using heavy machinery and careful design of instrumentation, he creates the image and then photographs the scenes as they function to capture the nature of their use and show what it does to food. Most of the work happens prior to laying it on paper. The careful craft of the cuts, food and chemistry of the cooking is at least 90% of the work. Using text and laying it on paper is just the medium in which he chooses to present and further explain the intricate process of the scene.
What we get is an amazing moment in time, a picture that our eyes never see and a rich recipe to how food works. As someone he spends plenty of time looking and developing sections in the world of architecture, I appreciate this kind of view. A fascinating narration of chemistry, physics, flavor, and culture. I hope you guys enjoy it!
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