If you love food and photography, the Tech Museum's newest exhibit should satisfy your cravings. Just don't visit when you're hungry.

"The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition," which opened Wednesday in the downtown San Jose museum's New Venture Hall, features 75 startling images of food and the science behind cooking, most of them created by Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft who has become something of a mad scientist in the kitchen.

If you've seen the "Modernist Cuisine" books, you know what I'm talking about: a panorama of a grilled steak that's so close up it looks like an alien landscape; the different layers of a hamburger floating in midair; a psychedelic view of vitamin C crystals.

There are also fascinating "cutaway" displays of kitchen equipment, showing the inner workings of barbecue grills, blenders and even a microwave oven. One of my favorite photographs combines the two concepts, showing a burger sizzling on a cross-section of a barbecue grill filled with red-hot coals.

Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine team of chefs, scientists and artists is based in Washington state and many arrived Tuesday for a VIP preview of the exhibit in advance of the opening. Among the guests was David Kinch, the award-winning chef and proprietor of Los Gatos' Manresa restaurant, who has been quoted as calling Myhrvold's "Modernist Cuisine" book, "a breathtaking new benchmark in understanding cooking."


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The exhibit is on display through Sept. 1 and does not require a ticket. You can get more details at www.thetech.org.

TRIBUTE RIDE: There are some people who enjoy leisurely rides on bicycles or who might even take part in a group event like the San Jose Bike Party. And then there are people like Michael Miller, the managing director of Children's Musical Theater of San Jose.

Miller is taking part in the "Tour of the California Alps" on July 12, an endurance trial more popularly known as the "Death Ride." It covers 129 miles through five mountain passes in Alpine County near the Nevada border, and that includes about 15,000 feet of climbing.

Yeah, it's a little crazy, but Miller, 64, is a veteran of long-distance rides and has been logging about 100 to 150 miles a week on his bike to train. More important, he's doing this to honor the memory of his late wife, Melinda Moreno Miller, a wonderful woman and dancer who lost a hard battle with lymphoma in 2011.

One of Melinda's early jobs was as a choreographer and dance teacher for Children's Musical Theater, so Michael thought it was fitting to use the ride to raise money for CMT's programs to help more kids realize their dreams of performing. You can get more information -- and donate to support his ride -- at http://arts.cmtsj.org/melinda.html.

WITH HONORS: Congratulations to Mary Beth Riley, principal of San Jose's Notre Dame High School, who received the National Catholic Educational Association's Excellence Award for 2014. A celebratory reception was held in her honor Tuesday evening at the San Jose home of Bishop Patrick J. McGrath.

And a belated round of applause for Fred Ferrer, CEO of the Health Trust, who was conferred an honorary doctorate in public service from Santa Clara University at this year's graduate commencement, which was held June 13 at the Leavey Center. Ferrer, who's been a community leader promoting health and education for three decades, already has a bachelor's degree from Santa Clara and a master's from San Jose State.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: For the past seven weeks, supporters of Mountain View Parent Nursery School have been raising money to start construction on a new location where the programs plans to merge next year with Parent Observation. Because of rising enrollments, the Mountain View Los Altos School District needs the property the programs currently use, and there's a plan in motion for them to move across the street from Mountain View High School on land at Foothill Covenant Church.

The move is expected to cost about $830,000 -- and the programs are tapping $450,000 saved up over the past 20 years to pay for most of it. The programs set a goal to raise the remaining $380,000 through a variety of grass roots methods by Monday and had brought in more than $224,000 as of Friday afternoon, with a goal deadline of Monday.

If you're interested in helping out, you can get details at http://mvpns.roundtablelive.org/donate.

WESTERN SUCCESS: Hospice of the Valley's 34th annual Western Soirée on June 1 brought in more than $216,000 for the nonprofit that supports Santa Clara County with hospice, palliative and grief care. Nearly 300 people trekked up to the fancy hoedown at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, which included a VIP reception featuring cowgirl trick roper Chryle Bacon and Eagles tribute band Lyin' I's.

Longtime Hospice of the Valley supporters Anne and Jim Cashman, of San Jose, were honored at the event for their commitment to the organization for more than 30 years. And I'm told that Hospice of the Valley plans to return to Montalvo on June 13, 2015, to celebrate its 35th anniversary, so save the date.

PINT AND A PLAY: It's no surprise that the "ShakesBEERience" plays at Cafe Stritch in downtown San Jose have reached standing-room-only popularity after the first three staged readings, featuring a mix of professional and amateur actors and organized by John McCluggage's Buck Hill Productions. The pub setting makes for a lot of fun and unexpected moments, and the Shakespeare plays are a lot more interesting than you might remember from school.

The fourth in the series, "Taming of the Shrew," is scheduled for Monday night at 7 p.m., with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival vet Maryssa Wanlass and Derek McCaw, Notre Dame High's performing arts director, in the roles of Kate and Petruchio. Cafe Stritch is at 374 S. First St.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.