Chris Young is a chef-scientist known for applying science and technology to create culinary experiences that earlier generations would never have imagined. Before becoming a chef, Young completed degrees in mathematics and biochemistry at the University of Washington. Unfulfilled with a life in the hard sciences, Young left his doctoral work behind for a job as a chef at one of Seattle’s top-rated restaurants, Mistral. The kind of guy who’s more than attentive to details, Young had an advantage in the technicalities of cuisine and quickly earned a reputation for his ability to apply technology and science in the kitchen.
The Second Law
by Peter Atkins
The other book I found myself gifting a lot lately is an out-of-print book on thermodynamics called The Second Law. It was written by an Oxford physical chemistry professor named P.W. Atkins. That book is just a phenomenal, casual, infographic-laden read on how the world works from an energy perspective. I found that so incredibly useful in trying to understand how to do something, how to make something work, whether something’s even possible. It’s frequently my bullshit detector.
When somebody’s trying to convince me some technology or some idea has merit, I very quickly come back to just sketching out the kind of thing I did for that email, where it’s like, let me just see – with knowing nothing about the subject, if I can just sketch out the basic ideas of how much energy is going to be involved or consumed or if I assume limitless capacities, does this make any sense ever?— Chris Young, source
On Food and Cooking
by Harold McGee
I think a lot of them will probably be in the cooking space. Definitely On Food and Cooking. I’ve gifted that a lot. My career starts with that book in many ways. There wouldn’t be any of this modern cooking movement without Harold’s book, I don’t think. There certainly wouldn’t be modernist cuisine that played a big role in my career without that book.
So I’ve gifted that a lot because I think it’s relevant and I think for a certain type of individual, it’s the kind of book that every time you open it up, you see something. You’re like, “I didn’t even know that was there; that’s super cool.” And you read something and go, “The world is way more interesting than I thought.”— Chris Young, source