Brown speaking at a Hopelink fundraiser event in 2015
Alton Crawford Brown Jr.
July 30, 1962
|Spouse(s)||DeAnna Brown (div, 2015) |
Elizabeth Ingram (m. 2018)
Alton Crawford Brown Jr. (born July 30, 1962) is an American television personality, food show presenter, chef, author, actor, cinematographer, and musician. He is the creator and host of the Food Network television show Good Eats that ran for 14 seasons, 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. A "recap" series titled "Good Eats Reloaded" aired on Cooking Channel starting in October 2018, and a true sequel series titled Good Eats: The Return premiered on August 25, 2019, on Food Network.
Alton 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. He died on Alton’s last day of sixth grade from an apparent suicide. The experience is what Brown credits for his work ethic, stating in one interview with Delish “I think I've built a life that's based on running away from my life."
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, after studying film in the University of Georgia drama department, Brown was the cinematographer for several music videos, including "The One I Love" by R.E.M.
Brown 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. 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.
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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 to the Internet in 2018. This was changed in late 2018, when Brown made arrangements with Cooking Channel to air "revised" versions of several episodes with new recipes entitled Good Eats Reloaded, in which he stated new episodes of Good Eats are also in the works. 13 episodes of "Good Eats Reloaded" aired late winter and early spring 2019, and were added to the Good Eats reruns on The Cooking Channel. It was then announced on June 5, 2019, that the new show will be called "Good Eats Returns" and would premier on the Food Network Sunday, August 25 at 10 p.m.
Good Eats Reloaded and Good Eats: The Return
Brown relaunched the show in two versions: as Good Eats Reloaded on Cooking Channel (which updates, reworks and adds to original Good Eats episodes), and on Food Network as Good Eats: The Return in August 2019 (all new episodes). Both the Reloaded series and the Return series are said to be returning in 2020. New episodes of Reloaded are set to premiere on Friday, April 10, 2020. New Return episodes are currently in the writing process, and were planned to be filming over the Summer, but may be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[failed verification]
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.
The Edible Inevitable Tour
In October 2013, Brown launched "Alton Brown Live: The Edible Inevitable Tour," his first national tour visiting 46 cities through March 2014. The show included 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.
Eat Your Science
Brown mounted a second tour show: Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science in 2016. The show toured through the fall of 2017. All totaled, Brown's shows have played over 225 dates including Broadway. Both his tours have included "large, unusual and probably dangerous" food demonstrations, audience participation and even food songs performed by Brown and his combo. Brown has been quoted as saying his final tour will launch in fall of 2020.
Brown is the recipient of two James Beard Awards. He won the Best Book award in 2003 for his first book, I'm Just Here for the Food, and the Broadcast Media Award in 2011 for TV Food Personality/Host. He has also been nominated four additional times.
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.
Brown appeared on episode 196 of MythBusters titled "Food Fables".
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.
Pantry Raid and Quarantine Quitchen
Pantry Raid is a series of once-weekly shorts (usually released on Fridays or Saturdays) for making palatable foods while staying safe at home. The episodes are filmed in the GOOD EATS Test Kitchens at Brain Food Productions, and consist of Alton and a cameraman as the only personnel onsite. Some are classic comfort foods (like popcorn and Rice Krispie treats), while others are favorite food hacks (hot saltines, laquered bacon, etc.) and a few are foods Alton has never made before (most notably Dalgona coffee). Each episode runs from between 3 and 10 minutes, with most coming in around the 7-minute mark. Each episode ends with an on-screen graphic with the words "This has been another...ALTON BROWN PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. Thank you for washing." This last line is in reference to a Handwashing Tutorial Alton posted prior to doing these cooking shorts.
Quarantine Quitchen started as a single livestream entitled "The Browns Make Dinner", referring to Alton and his wife Elizabeth making dinner at their loft apartment in Georgia. After the success of the first such "episode", the once-weekly series is now released live every Tuesday at 7:00PM EST. Little or no planning goes into these shows, save for Alton & Elizabeth performing a song on guitars (Alton on Electric, Elizabeth on bass) every other week. As for the dishes, most are prepared from what they have on hand in their kitchen, where stocks of certain items can be scarce, due to the quarantine requirements. Alton self-films these episodes on a smartphone, and the dialogue CAN edge occasionally into the "Mature" category. While cooking, Alton & Elizabeth often try to answer inquiries from the ongoing chat of viewers. The Browns' two dogs, Scabigail and Francis, often appear in the episodes as well. Alton plans on keeping this series going post-quarantine. He recently solicited for possible new titles for the show, but the majority of respondents insisted they keep the "Quarantine Quitchen" title. Episodes started at about 30-45 minutes, but more recently run about an hour and 15 minutes.
Brown lives in Marietta, Georgia. He and his former 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 and Atlanta restaurant designer Elizabeth Ingram became engaged in 2018. According to Brown's Instagram account, as of September 2018, he and Ingram had married, on a boat in Charleston, SC. Brown and Elizabeth Ingram have two dogs: a terrier named Francis Luther and a Boston terrier/pug mix that the couple rescued in 2018 named Scabigail Van Buren.
Brown was once a motorcycling enthusiast, owning a BMW R1150RT,although he no longer owns one. He gave up motorcycling by 2012, citing issues of slowing reflexes and safety. Brown was an airplane pilot, and was featured in the aviation magazine AOPA Flight Training. He owned two planes, a Cessna 206 and a Cessna 414.
Brown enjoys vintage watches, and wore a different watch for every season of Good Eats; this was used in production to quickly identify which season a clip is from. When his watch broke down mid-season,[which?] he continued to wear the broken timepiece to maintain this system. Twenty years after the Omega Seamaster watch his father left him was stolen, Brown bought it from an eBay seller 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 discussed his Christian beliefs in a 2010 interview with Eater. He said at the time:
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)
- Good Eats: Two-Volume Set - Episodes 1 Through 164 (ISBN 978-0-81-099822-3, 2011)
- Good Eats: Three-Volume Set - The Complete Episodes (ISBN 978-1-61-769105-8, 2013)
- EveryDayCook (ISBN 978-1-101-88571-0, 2016)
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- QUARANTINE QUITCHEN series on YouTube
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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
- Alton's YOUTUBE Channel
- FoodNetwork.com: Good Eats
- Alton Brown at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- His James Beard Foundation Award, including a video of his acceptance speech
- Interview, Macworld
- Food for Thought[permanent dead link], Guideposts, August 2006