There’s a sense of fun and playfulness that runs through everything Nathan Myhrvold does—a sort of childhood wonderment. At age 9 he discovered cookbooks and made Thanksgiving dinner. The epic family feast was just the first of many triumphs: He started college at age 14, worked with Stephen Hawking, and eventually became Microsoft’s first chief technology officer.
Since retiring from Microsoft at 40 to launch Intellectual Ventures, where he is CEO, he devotes as much time as possible to marrying the worlds of cuisine and science through incredible photography that he creates with cameras he’s custom-built using technology he developed. His successful career in tech gave him the resources to try crazy food experiments and even construct his own state-of-the-art food lab in Seattle.
His six volume Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, which debuted in 2011, has become a must-read for the world’s greatest chefs. He has since launched his art career with food photography galleries in Las Vegas; La Jolla, California; Seattle; and New Orleans.
“Lots of people find food is an important part of their lives, and art should reflect the values and interests of the people who own it.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Spring Issue under the headline Creative Minds. Subscribe to the magazine.