Moto: The Cookbook

Hot ice cream, synthetic champagne and nitro sushi are just a few of the feats of physics and flavor that chef Homaro Cantu served up at Moto, his Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago, Ill. The recipes for each are featured in Moto: The Cookbook, offering 10 of the most innovative dishes from each of the restaurant's first 10 years, 2004-2013.

Though he became a celebrity, winning Iron Chef and appearing frequently on cooking shows, Cantu struggled with homelessness growing up. He was a troublemaker in school until a teacher encouraged his interest in science. Cantu built a rocket out of a two-liter bottle for a science contest, won, and was hooked: "For the first time in my life, I was good at something." He became fascinated with food next, building a career that married his dual passions.

In preparation for the opening of Moto, he writes, "Instead of looking for plates at housewares stores, I went to lab suppliers, medical distributors [and] welding shops." Moto, thus, is more a celebration of Cantu's culinary creativity than the blueprints for a dinner party. Some recipes can be replicated at home, but others call for Class IV lasers or aerogel, a product NASA uses in satellites to collect comet dust.

Cantu died in 2015 while editing this cookbook, but his spirit imbues its vibrant pages. Reflecting on his M.C. Escher Surf and Turf, an homage to Escher's painting Sea and Sky, he writes, "Inspiration is all around us." And via Cantu's Moto, it still is. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer

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