Myhrvold told the families of the 64 graduates of one way the culinary world is changing: "Twenty or 30 years ago, if your son or daughter was a chef, you wouldn't brag about it at a cocktail party. Today you can brag." He then advised the recipients of bachelor's degrees in culinary-arts management and baking-and-pastry-arts management, "You've received the greatest culinary education anyone can receive. But it won't be enough. Today is not the day you stop learning. It's the day you start."
In addition to his interest in food, Myhrvold, 51, is a physicist and inventor. And cooking is more than just a hobby for this Renaissance man. He won several first-place awards at the World Barbecue Championships in Memphis, Tenn., in the early 1990s and served as the chief gastronomic officer for the Zagat Survey. Modernist Cuisine is the result of his mission to create the world's most comprehensive cookbook. Despite a $625 price tag, it immediately sold out its initial press run.
During his 14-year tenure with Microsoft, Myhrvold was the company's chief strategist and chief technology officer. Before that, he worked with Stephen Hawking on cosmology and quantum field theories. He now runs Intellectual Ventures, a patent acquisition company he founded in 2000.