Scott Heimendinger
Blogger at seattlefoodgeek.com and, as of January, Business Development Manager for Modernist Cuisine

"There’s one in my office, but I’ve got my personal copy at home, which is perhaps my most coveted possession. When I first got it I kept it on a shelf near the dining room…it was pretty much visible from anywhere in the downstairs of out house. It was there for five months or so then my wife moved it to the guest room/home office…I think it had had enough glory."

"I cook a ton out of it. In fact, I’m cooking out of it as we speak. The beef cheek pastrami, which may be the best food on earth, is brining in my fridge. But I’m careful when I’m cooking out of it—the book has to stay pristine. In fact…I was one of the first people outside the MC team to actually physically have a copy of the book . I got a review copy…and I was so excited and crazy and I literally brought the books to bed every night. After some time, the review period was up, but I made arrangements that I could buy that specific copy. That’s the one that I’ll give to my great grandchildren, that first copy from the first printing…I don’t let people touch them with dirty hands."

Photo Credit: Scott Heimendinger

Modernist Cuisine, the 2,438-page, 40-plus-pound, five-volume, $625, gastronomic opus created by the Bellevue-based team of mad chef-scientists sold out before it even came out back in March of 2011. Creator Nathan Myhrvold, his team, his lab, and his book were the center of the food world’s attention, and everyone wanted to get their paws on a copy of the book. Now, more than a year later, the waiting list for the library’s copies remains in the triple digits, a reported 45,000 people have bought the books, generating $20 million in sales, and those who own the tome guard it with a reverence usually reserved for diamond jewelry and family heirlooms.

Tomorrow, May 4, we find out whether Modernist Cuisine will bring home a James Beard award for Best Cookbook: Cooking from a Professional Point of View. We were curious where the proud Seattle owners keep their copies. Also, what does one actually do with a cookbook like this? (You don’t keep it in the kitchen, that’s for sure.) Inspired by those annual stories about where Oscar winners keep their golden trophies; we bring you a slideshow of where local chefs (think Bisato, Canlis, Crush, MistralKitchen and Rover’s), and food nerds (one of whom describes it as his "most prized possession) keep their copies of Modernist Cuisine.