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
Good Eats (14 seasons), host of the mini-series Feasting on
Asphalt and Feasting on Waves, and host and main commentator on Iron
Cutthroat Kitchen and Camp Cutthroat. 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.
1 Early life
2.1 TV series
2.1.1 Good Eats
2.1.2 Iron Chef America
2.1.3 Feasting on Asphalt
2.1.4 Cutthroat Kitchen
2.2 Other appearances
2.5 The Alton Browncast
3 Bitter Like Me
5 Personal life
7 See also
9 External links
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
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
Main article: Good Eats
The pilot for
Good Eats first aired in July 1998 on the PBS member TV
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
Good Eats was nominated for the Best T.V. Food Journalism Award by the
James Beard Foundation in 2000. The show was also awarded a 2006
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
Main article: 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
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
Food Network on August 4, 2007.
The third season uses the title
Feasting on Waves and has Brown
Caribbean Sea by boat in search of local
Main article: Cutthroat Kitchen
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
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 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.
Brown guest-starred as the "Guest Bailiff" and "Expert Witness" in
John Hodgman's comedy/court show podcast Judge John Hodgman.
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.
In October 2017, Brown was featured on the
Food Network television
show Chopped in a five-part series called "Alton Brown's Challenge."
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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. The album is available at Brown's
live stage shows and the stage show's website.
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 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
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,
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,
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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Alton Brown Pulls Out Of
Justin Warner Show Mediaite
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the Victor Goes the Spoiled". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
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Food Network star Alton Brown
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Defies Twitter With Weird Post-it Notes". Wired. Retrieved
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Food Network's FN Dish Blog. May 9, 2011.
Alton Brown finalizes divorce". AJC.
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Manuals". The New York Times.
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Network. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved
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Alton Brown on Being a
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Alton Brown hunts down the recipe for joy". Time Magazine.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alton Brown.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alton Brown
Alton Brown on IMDb
FoodNetwork.com: Good Eats
Alton Brown interview video at the Archive of American Television
Alton Brown Group on Flickr
James Beard Foundation Award, including a video of his acceptance
Good Eats show fan site with transcripts
Food for Thought[permanent dead link], Guideposts, August 2006