Brown speaking at a Hopelink fundraiser event in 2015
Alton Crawford Brown Jr.
July 30, 1962
|DeAnna Brown (div, 2015) |
Elizabeth Ingram (m. 2018)
Alton Crawford Brown Jr. (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 Brown's 2017 book tour, he stated Good Eats will have a "sequel", and it would be released in 2018 on the internet. 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.
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 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 10p.m.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 is a motorcycling enthusiast, owning a BMW R1150RT. He gave up motorcycling by 2012, citing issues of 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.
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 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."