Brown speaking at a Hopelink fundraiser event in 2015
Alton Crawford Brown|
July 30, 1962
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||DeAnna Brown (div. 2015)|
Alton Crawford Brown (born July 30, 1962) is an American television personality, food show presenter, author, actor, cinematographer, and musician. He is the creator and host of the Food Network television show Good Eats, host of the mini-series Feasting on Asphalt and Feasting on Waves, and host and main commentator on Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen. Brown is a best-selling author of several books on food and cooking. On Alton's 2017 book tour, he stated Good Eats will have a "sequel", and it will be released in 2018 on the internet. He is the songwriter and lead performer for his CD Bitter Like Me.
Brown was born July 30, 1962, in Los Angeles and spent his youth in Georgia. 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.
After studying film in the University of Georgia drama department, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Brown was the cinematographer for several music videos, including "The One I Love" by R.E.M.
Brown notes that he was very 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. 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.
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. 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.
On Alton's 2017 book tour he stated Good Eats will have a "sequel", and it will be released in 2018, on the internet.
Iron Chef America
In 2004 Brown appeared on Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters. This was the second attempt to adapt the Japanese cooking show Iron Chef to American television (the first being 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 five seasons of the spin-off The Next Iron Chef.
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.
In 2013, Brown began hosting the cooking competition series Cutthroat Kitchen on the Food Network. In each episode, four chefs are each given $25,000 with which to bid on items that can be used to hinder their opponents' cooking, such as confiscating ingredients or forcing them to use unorthodox tools and equipment. Three chefs are eliminated one by one, and the winner keeps his/her unspent money as the day's prize. The series premiered on August 11, 2013.
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.
In October 2013, Brown launched "Alton Brown Live: The Edible Inevitable Tour," his first national tour visiting 46 cities through March 2014. The show includes stand-up comedy, talk show antics, a multimedia lecture, live music and "extreme" food experimentation  After a hiatus of several months while Brown worked on his Food Network shows, the tour resumed in October 2014 and concluded on April 4, 2015, in Houston, Texas, after visiting more than 60 cities.
Brown has done commercial work for General Electric (GE) products, including five infomercials touting the benefits of GE refrigerators, washers and dryers, water purifiers, Trivection ovens, and dishwashers. 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 infomercials 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; that grew into an active cooperation to develop GE's Trivection oven.
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.
The Alton Browncast
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.
Bitter like Me
Brown announced his music album, Bitter like Me, on November 2, 2016. The album contains nine food-themed songs from his live stage shows and a new Thanksgiving-themed song. Physical CDs of the album were made available at Brown's live stage shows and through the stage show's website. Streaming versions were released in March 2018 via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, and Apple Music.
Bon Appétit magazine named him "Cooking Teacher of the Year" in 2004, and he won a Peabody Award in 2007 for Good Eats (as part of the cast). He was named "Best Food Guru" by Atlanta magazine in 2005, was awarded the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions 2009 "Educator of the Year" and, in 2011, he won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best TV Food Personality.
Brown lives in Marietta, Georgia. He and his wife DeAnna, an executive producer on Good Eats, divorced in 2015. DeAnna and Alton have one daughter, Zoey (born in 1999). A few members of his extended family 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 were actors or members of the show's production crew.
Brown is an avid gun enthusiast and carries a firearm daily. He owns a SCAR, a Browning Hi-Power, various Kimbers, and an H&K P30 and shoots them regularly.
Brown is a motorcycling enthusiast, owning a BMW R1150RT. He gave up motorcycling by 2012, citing slowing reflexes and safety. Brown is an airplane pilot, and was featured in the aviation magazine AOPA Flight Training. He completed his first solo flight on June 25, 2007, and earned his private pilot certificate on June 5, 2008. He owned two planes, a Cessna 206 and a Cessna 414.
Another one of Brown's hobbies is a deep appreciation for vintage watches. Brown wore a different watch for every season of Good Eats, which was used in production to quickly identify which season a clip is from. When his watch broke down mid-season, he continued to wear the broken timepiece to maintain this system. Twenty years after the Omega Seamaster watch his father left for him was stolen, Brown found that exact watch on eBay and had it restored.
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.
Brown is a Christian. He 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.
Brown said in a December 2014 interview in Time that he "could no longer abide the Southern Baptist Convention's indoctrination of children and its anti-gay stance" adding that he is now "searching for a new belief system."
- I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking (ISBN 1-58479-083-0, 2002)
- Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen (ISBN 1-58479-296-5, 2003)
- I'm Just Here for the Food: Kitchen User's Manual (ISBN 1-58479-298-1, 2003)
- I'm Just Here for the Food: Cook's Notes (ISBN 1-58479-299-X, 2003)
- I'm Just Here for More Food: Food × Mixing + Heat = Baking (ISBN 1-58479-341-4, 2004)
- I'm Just Here for the Food: Version 2.0 (ISBN 1-58479-559-X, 2006)
- Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run (ISBN 1-58479-681-2, 2008)
- Good Eats: The Early Years (ISBN 1-58479-795-9, 2009)
- Good Eats 2: The Middle Years (ISBN 1-58479-857-2, 2010)
- Good Eats 3: The Later Years (ISBN 1-58479-903-X, 2011)
- EveryDayCook (ISBN 978-1-101-88571-0, 2016)
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.
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- [dead link]
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alton Brown.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alton Brown|
- Official website
- Alton Brown on IMDb
- FoodNetwork.com: Good Eats
- Alton Brown at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- Alton Brown Group on Flickr
- His James Beard Foundation Award, including a video of his acceptance speech
- Good Eats show fan site with transcripts
- Interview, Macworld
- Food for Thought[permanent dead link], Guideposts, August 2006