Alton Brown

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For the baseball figure, see Alton Brown (baseball).
Alton Brown
Alton brown 2011.jpg
Brown at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
Born Alton Crawford Brown
(1962-07-30) July 30, 1962 (age 52)
Los Angeles, California
Education University of Georgia
New England Culinary Institute
Culinary career
Cooking style American, Southern

Alton Crawford Brown (born July 30, 1962) is an American television personality, celebrity chef, author, actor, and cinematographer. He is the creator and host of the Food Network television show Good Eats, the mini-series Feasting on Asphalt and Feasting on Waves, and host and main commentator on Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen. Brown is also the author of several books on cookery.

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Los Angeles, California[1] and spent his youth in the Boy Scouts.[2] Brown's father, Alton Brown, Sr., was a media executive in Cleveland, Georgia, owner of radio station WRWH and publisher of the newspaper White County News.[3][4]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Brown was the cinematographer for several music videos, including "The One I Love" by R.E.M..[5]

Career[edit]

Brown notes that he was dissatisfied with the quality of cooking shows airing on American television, so he set out to produce his own show. In preparation, he enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute, graduating in 1997.[6][7] Brown says that he was a poor science student in high school and college, but he focused on the subject to understand the underlying processes of cooking. He is outspoken in his shows about his dislike of single-purpose kitchen utensils and equipment ("unitaskers"), such as garlic presses and margarita machines, although he adapts a few traditionally single-purpose devices, such as rice cookers and melon ballers, into multi-purpose tools.[8]

TV series[edit]

Good Eats[edit]

Main article: Good Eats

The pilot for Good Eats first aired in July 1998 on the PBS member TV station WTTW in Chicago, Illinois. Food Network picked up the show in July 1999. In May 2011, Alton Brown announced an end to Good Eats after 14 seasons.[9] The final episode, "Turn on the Dark", aired February 10, 2012.

Many of the Good Eats episodes feature Brown building makeshift cooking devices in order to point out that many of the devices sold at conventional "cooking" stores are simply fancified hardware store items.

Good Eats was nominated for the Best T.V. Food Journalism Award by the James Beard Foundation in 2000.[10] The show was also awarded a 2006 Peabody Award.[11]

Iron Chef America[edit]

Main article: Iron Chef America

In 2004 Brown appeared on Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters, the second attempt to adapt the Japanese cooking show Iron Chef to American television, after UPN's Iron Chef USA, which featured William Shatner and was not well received. Brown served as the expert commentator, a modified version of the role played by Dr. Yukio Hattori in the original show. When the show became a series, Brown began serving as the play-by-play announcer, with Kevin Brauch as kitchen reporter. Brown also served as the host for all four seasons of the spin-off The Next Iron Chef.

Feasting on Asphalt[edit]

Main article: Feasting on Asphalt

Brown's third series, Feasting on Asphalt, explores the history of eating on the move. Brown and his crew crossed the United States via motorcycle in a four-part miniseries about the history of road food. Brown samples food all along his travel route. He includes a "history of food" segment documenting famous road trips and interviews many of the foodies he meets en route.

The series premiered on Food Network on July 29, 2006. The mini-series was picked up for a second run, entitled Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run, in 2007. Six episodes were filmed during April and May 2007. The episodes trace the majority of the length of the Mississippi River through Brown's travels. The second run of episodes began airing on Food Network on August 4, 2007.

The third season uses the title Feasting on Waves and has Brown traveling the Caribbean Sea by boat in search of local cuisine.[citation needed]

Cutthroat Kitchen[edit]

Main article: Cutthroat Kitchen

In 2013, Brown hosted Cutthroat Kitchen, a new competition series with four chef contestants. Each chef is given $25,000 with which to bid on certain conditions that will be upheld during the competition (such as exclusive use of an ingredient or preventing a competitor from using certain cooking tools). The winner keeps whatever is left of their funds as their prize. The series premiered on August 11, 2013.[12]

Other appearances[edit]

Brown served as a mentor on Season 8 of The Next Food Network Star alongside Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. During season 8, each mentor selected and mentored a team of five finalists. Team Alton's finalist Justin Warner was the season 8 winner; however, Brown will not be producing Warner's show.[13]

He returned, along with Flay and De Laurentiis, as a mentor and judge for season 9. Due to a format change, season 9 did not feature teams.

In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Brown hosted Thanksgiving Live! for The Food Network, a show featuring other Food Network personalities preparing various Thanksgiving dishes and answering viewers' questions.

On November 11, 2007, Brown was the guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies as part of their guest programmer month. The films he selected were What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Closely Watched Trains, Point Blank, and Blowup.

In 2008 he guest starred on Nickelodeon's TV series SpongeBob SquarePants in the show's sixth season episode, "House Fancy", where he voiced the host of a home show, Nicholas Winters.

Brown also appeared in the Secrets of the Furious Five DVD feature "Mr. Ping's Noodle House".

Brown appeared on the November 18, 2012 episode of MythBusters, assisting in the testing of two myths involving pressure-cooked popcorn and using a car's hot engine compartment to cook a holiday meal. A third segment testing a dishwasher to cook lasagna was posted on the show's website.

Brown appeared on the Travel Channel show The Layover with Anthony Bourdain which focused on the city of Atlanta in 2013. In the episode Bourdain takes Brown to the Clermont Lounge.[14]

Brown guest starred as the "Guest Bailiff" and "Expert Witness" in John Hodgman's comedy/court show podcast Judge John Hodgman.[15][16]

In October 2013, Alton launched "Alton Brown Live: The Edible Inevitable Tour," his first national tour visiting 45 cities through March 2014. The show includes stand-up comedy, talk show antics, a multimedia lecture, live music and "extreme" food experimentation [17]

Commercials[edit]

Brown has done commercial work for General Electric (GE) products,[18] including five infomercials touting the benefits of GE refrigerators, washers and dryers, water purifiers, Trivection ovens, and dishwashers.[19] The infomercials are produced in the Good Eats style, employing the use of unusual camera angles, informational text, props, visual aids, scientific explanations, and the same method of delivery. These informercials are distributed to wholesale distributors of appliances/plumbing devices.

Brown has also aided GE in developing a new type of oven. He was initially called by GE to help their engineers learn more about the effects of heat on food;[20] that grew into an active cooperation to develop GE's Trivection oven.[21]

Brown has also done promotion for Dannon yogurt, Welch's, Shun knives, and for Heifer International.

In 2010, he endorsed salt use in a campaign for Cargill.[22]

Twitter[edit]

In 2012, Brown gained popularity by pioneering the use of humorous "Analog Tweets," wherein he posts pictures of hand-drawn Twitter responses on Post-it notes which he has stuck to his computer monitor.[23]

The Alton Browncast[edit]

On June 28, 2013, Alton Brown joined the Nerdist Podcast Network with his podcast The Alton Browncast. In this podcast, Brown reviews recent food news, takes calls and questions from listeners, and interviews celebrities and other guests. Food is often a focal point of the podcast, but several episodes have branched off into other areas of Brown's interest, including men's style, production and recording of music, and various aspects of acting and cinematography. So far, it has featured chats with food luminaries such as Justin Warner, Hugh Acheson, Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, and Keith Schroder. Guests have also included men's style maven Sid Mashburn and clothing manufacturing team Adam Schoenberg and Cory Rosenberg; producer Jim Milan and soundman Patrick Beldin from "The Edible Inevitable Tour" and actor Bart Hansard, who played multiple characters on Good Eats. [24]

Awards[edit]

Bon Appétit magazine named him "Cooking Teacher of the Year" in 2004.[citation needed] He was named "Best Food Guru" by Atlanta magazine in 2005.[25] In 2011, he won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best TV Food Personality.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Brown lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife DeAnna and his daughter Zoey (born in 1999).[27] A few members of his extended family have appeared on Good Eats (such as his late grandmother, Ma Mae, his mother, and daughter, Zoey, who is known on the show as "Alton's Spawn"), but most of his "family" portrayed on the series is made up of actors and the show's production crew.[28][29] DeAnna Brown is the co-executive producer of Good Eats but only appears on the tenth anniversary episode along with Zoey. Brown also portrays his frequently arrested evil twin brother "B.A."

Brown is a motorcycling enthusiast, owning a BMW R1150RT.[21] He gave up motorcycling by 2012, citing slowing reflexes and safety.[30] Brown is a pilot, and was featured in the aviation magazine AOPA Flight Training.[31] He completed his first solo flight on June 25, 2007, and earned his private pilot certificate on June 5, 2008. He owns two planes, a Cessna 206 and a Cessna 414.[32]

Brown changed his eating habits in 2009 in order to lose weight and become healthier, losing 50 pounds (23 kg) over the course of nine months.[33]

Brown is a Christian. Brown says, "I'm not a spooky snake handler because I live in Georgia and I'm Christian, that I believe in the Bible, that I travel with the Bible, that I read the Bible every day. I'm still me. I'm still a guy doing a job. I find, actually, that people ask me a lot about it. I don't hit people over the head with the Bible ... I still feel a funny little tinge in my stomach when I'm out to dinner with my wife and daughter in New York. We'll go to dinner and we'll be sitting around the table and we'll say Grace. You know what? People are going to stare at you. I used to feel really self-conscious. But I've gotten to a point where I think, nah, I'm not going to feel bad about that. I'm not going to apologize about that."[34]

Bibliography[edit]

Brown was also a contributor to the 2005 cookbook Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs (ISBN 0696230216). He selected the nonprofit world hunger organization Heifer International to receive a portion of the royalties.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parker, Virginia (April 2007). Alton Brown Steaks His Claim. Atlanta Magazine. p. 80ff. ISSN 00046701. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ Alton Brown Twitter
  3. ^ Parker, Virginia (April 2007). "Alton Brown Steaks His Claim". Atlanta. p. 96-97. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Grimes, Millard B. (1985). The Last Linotype: The Story of Georgia and Its Newspapers Since World War II. Mercer University Press. p. 504. 
  5. ^ Melancon, Merritt (May 12, 2010). "Brown talks TV, food, R.E.M.". Online Athens. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  6. ^ Belden, Patrick. "Good Eats Music". Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  7. ^ "Profile: Alton Brown". 2005. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  8. ^ Rothman, Wilson (August 27, 2009). "Alton Brown: Kitchen Gadget Judgment Calls – Yea or Nay?". Gizmodo. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  9. ^ Cavendish, Steve. "Alton Brown calls an end to 'Good Eats'". Chicago Tribune. 
  10. ^ "Broadcast Awards". James Beard Foundation. 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Complete List of 2006 Peabody Award Winners". 2007. Archived from the original on June 6, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2008. 
  12. ^ "No-Mercy Culinary Antics to Take Over Alton Brown’s Cutthroat Kitchen" Blog entry on FoodNetwork.com
  13. ^ http://www.thebraiser.com/alton-brown-pulls-out-of-justin-warner-show/
  14. ^ Rodney Ho (January 14, 2013). "Clermont Lounge featured on Jan. 14's 'The Layover' with Anthony Bourdain on Travel Channel". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ Justin Morissette (March 28, 2012). "Judge John Hodgman Episode 53: Cannery Row". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  16. ^ MaxFun Intern (April 10, 2013). "Judge John Hodgman Episode 105: To the Victor Goes the Spoiled". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  17. ^ Debbi Snook (September 18, 2013). "Food Network star Alton Brown coming to Akron for first national tour", The Plain Dealer, Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "AltonBrown.com". AltonBrown.com. July 29, 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  19. ^ GE Innovations with Alton Brown[dead link]
  20. ^ Lauterbach, David. "Brian's Belly: Alton Brown". Briansbelly.com. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  21. ^ a b Alton Brown at Roadfly magazine
  22. ^ Moss, Michael. "The Hard Sell on Salt", The New York Times, May 29, 2010.
  23. ^ Craig, Elise (September 19, 2012). "Saucy or Stale? Alton Brown Defies Twitter With Weird Post-it Notes". Wired. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  24. ^ http://www.nerdist.com/podcast/the-browncast/
  25. ^ "Best of Atlanta". Atlanta Magazine. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  26. ^ "Alton Brown Wins James Beard Award for Best TV Food Personality". Food Network's FN Dish Blog. May 9, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Alton Brown Biography". Tv.com. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  28. ^ "The Family Tree". Goodeatsfanpage.com. August 27, 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  29. ^ MutantNation, Alton Brown
  30. ^ https://twitter.com/altonbrown/status/246649247821348865/photo/1
  31. ^ "AltonBrown.com". AltonBrown.com. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  32. ^ Murphy, Kate (July 4, 2011). "iPads Replacing Pilots' Paper Manuals". The New York Times. 
  33. ^ Brown, Alton (January 4, 2010). "Live and Let Diet". Good Eats. Food Network. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  34. ^ September 28, 2010, by Joshua David Stein (September 28, 2010). "Alton Brown on Being a Vessel, Next Iron Chef, and His Faith – Eaterrogation – Eater National". Eater.com. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 

External links[edit]