Modernist Cuisine


Recipe webpages breaking down complex cooking techniques for home cooks.


Project Overview

Modernist Cuisine is all about recipes. Complex, innovative dishes, relying on a fundamental understanding of science in a kitchen. We brought several of these recipes from the page to an online format, including personal background, videos, and extra cooking tips.



Problem Statement

When Modernist Cuisine was first released, we faced tremendous support, but also two main criticisms, both stemming from the fact that this was a book written with professional chefs and food scientists in mind:

  • It was difficult for even the most-skilled home chefs to cook with.
  • Some people viewed it as elitist.

We wanted to help home cooks to cook with the book that they had purchased. We also wanted to show detractors that we cared about our customers—because we really did!—and that we were a team of real people.




I came up with a basic layout that would help us meet both of our goals. We started every recipe page with a short backstory, which added a human-interest aspect and provided context for the recipe. To get these stories, I interviewed team members or asked them to write a short paragraph, which I edited.

Next came the recipe itself. I chose recipes that I saw people discussing on forums or ones that I thought had wide appeal. I’m no professional chef, but I am an adventurous one, and I often made the recipes at home after work.

I worked with the chefs on the kitchen team to write out additional instructions. These might include appropriate substitutions, where to find certain ingredients, how to present the dish, what to do if a component is not turning out as planned, etc.

Many of these recipe pages also included a short video. I oversaw video shoots and helped the chefs narrate them, at times writing out a script for them to follow.





We received great feedback on forums, via social media, and via email that customers were quite happy with the help we provided. Modernist Cuisine has gone on to numerous printings and won the James Beard Award.