HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Alton Brown

What are hounders thoughts on Alton Brown?

I may be a food nerd but I cant get enough of this guy. The passion is there, the science behind the food, and just find everything so interesting that they do on the show. Can be a little goofy, but when else would I care about the thermodynamics of a popcorn kernel.

I wish they would put out more good eats episodes, seem very few and far between.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. My husband and I really enjoy his shows - it's a nice change from the typical cooking programs - altho some of his theme programs have annoyed me. (the cowboy-chili one for instance.)
    :)

    7 Replies
    1. re: jujuthomas

      I grant you, the schtick in that episode was laid on thick and annoying - but I've made that pressure-cooker chili three times since I bought the cooker, and every time I think of that recipe I want to make it again.

      (I still need to find another recipe to make in the pressure cooker - cost me $100, and my wife is just now starting to believe that it won't blow up the kitchen.)

        1. re: tcd

          Indians (at least the ones I know) swear by pressure cookers--if you like Indian food you might find something to justify the expense!

          1. re: coney with everything

            Still hoping to find a few good Indian recipes that involve pressure cookers, actually.

          2. re: tcd

            The most common duty for mine is veg beef soup. I get a couple of beef shanks, brown them, toss in some carrots, celery and garlic, water to cover, and seal it up. After about 30 minutes under pressure, I filter out the old veggies, shred the beef, toss the bones, and add a little beef base paste to the broth for body. Dump in a bag of mixed veggies and you are set.

            1. re: tcd

              Here is a great stock and a risotto recipe that we demo in our store:

              Pressure Cooker Tomato-Porcini Broth and Risotto.
              For the broth:
              28 oz can plum tomatoes
              1 head of garlic, seperated into cloves
              1 carrot
              1 handful dried Porcini mushrooms, lightly rinsed
              1 T olive oil
              Salt
              2 t dried sage
              3 cups water
              Small piece of Parmagiano or Grana Padano rind, optional

              Place all the ingredients in a 6 qt pressure cooker, and bring to high pressure. Reduce heat and maintain pressure for 20 minutes. Quick release the pressure and strain, pressing on the vegetables to extract as much flavor as possible.

              Tomato-Porcini Risotto
              1 onion, diced
              2-3 T Olive oil
              4 Cups Tomato Porcini Broth
              1 ½ C Carnarolli Rice
              Grated Parmagiano or Grana Padano Cheese to taste

              In the Pressure Cooker, saute the onions in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and saute another 2 minutes until translucent. Add all the broth at once, stir and place lid on cooker. Bring to high pressure, lower the heat and maintain pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Stir the risotto and then stir in the cheese. If still a little soupy, let sit for a few minutes to absorb the stock.

            2. I love, love, love Alton. I remember the first episode I saw of his, Roasted Chicken and I was hooked. I swear by his Burger of the Gods (the ONLY burger that is prepared in our house), his method for grilling steaks is bar none. His brined turkey is the best. I could go on. I love how he shares the facts without being pretentious. My boyfriend who I am slowing turning into a CH, used to never, ever watch the Food Network. Now, if he sees Alton on, or if I am watching it, he is engrossed.

              1. He appeals to the food geek in me and he makes it easily understandable enough w/ all those goofy props that kids can understand, too. Plus, he doesn't take himself too seriously and has a good time with it which makes it fun. Who can forget Waffleman? I like his cookbook, I'm Just Here for the Food, too.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chowser

                  I also like Alton, He is the only reason to turn on Food Network.
                  There is nothing else left on that network that is of any value.

                  1. re: dewdropin

                    Right there with you...although my Tivo box has discovered for me the occasional 4am (pacific time anyhow) reruns of the original Iron Chef. I'm a big fan of Alton Brown's shows though. Feasting on Asphalt is supposed to return sometime this summer for a few episodes.

                    1. re: ccbweb

                      Let's hope he doesn't actually eat asphalt again, like he did last time.

                2. As a cooking/entertainment show, Alton's is about as good as it gets. He's very knowledgeable and he's totally camp. Which I think is great. Most shows are one or the other, he manages to pull off the double whammy.

                  I think what makes him so appealing is his target audience. People who love too cook/learn about cooking/ eat. Most are withing a few years of his age and so get the little references and what not.

                  Ya, some of his theme shows can be a bit out there and some of his contraptions (See the turkey fryer show) are completely unrealistic.

                  DT

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Davwud

                    Interesting thoughts on the target audience. I started watching the show not long after it started while I was college and both I and my girlfriend are big fans.

                  2. I really enjoy most of Alton Brown's TV shows and cookbooks. My husband, a chemical engineer, who cannot cook loved the show so much he has made cookies and marinara using Alton's recipes. My only issue with him is that a lot of his recipes require every pan and pot in the kitchen, and I like juju find some of his non-cooking theatrical attempts annoying. His travel show-- where he went across america on a motorcycle -- was probably fun for him, but not so much for me. That said, its the only FN show my TIVO is programmed to record.

                    1. It looks like Good Eats is kicking Emeril out of the 8:00PM ET time slot starting July 9, 2007.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dsquarefla

                        I started out not liking him, because he just seemed so anal to me, but he has grown on me - I now like him very much. I just find it hard sometimes to take his methods of cooking seriously, though - seems like jumping through a lot of "hoops" sometimes just to cook dinner!! : ( That's just me, though --
                        I actually enjoyed his cross-country travel show , especially since he seemingly went right through my neck of the woods (Route 66/Ontario, CA. area)!! : )

                        1. re: aurora50

                          I agree, aurora. I really enjoy his show and the way he explains the theory and science behind cooking, but his recipes aren't well designed.

                        2. re: dsquarefla

                          Interesting - are there going to be more new episodes or just the normal run of repeats?

                        3. If he looked like Giada ,well that would be the perfect host!, seriously, he looks and acts like an old boss of mine(on his good days!) from a motorcycle dealership i worked in, and i love to watch his shows, i thought feasting on asphalt was easily the best thing food network has ever aired , i believe he is in production on another one also...cool guy!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: jword2001

                            I do believe there are going to be NEW episodes of Feasting on Asphalt. : )

                            1. re: aurora50

                              Yes - 6 episodes starting I believe August 4 or around that time. He filmed them in April and May of this year!

                              1. re: cbauer

                                Hope he's learned how to ride that bike of his more carefully! LOL

                              2. re: aurora50

                                I didn't like FOA, although I like Good Eats. The premise of FOA was finding secret/exotic gastronomic gems while on the road. Alot of times I felt like they didn't really find anything interesting, and when they did stop into a place touting "The Best (Insert food here) Served Here!", it undoubtedly was not the best.

                                1. re: Rocknrope

                                  I liked Feasting on Asphalt...not so much for the food, which was underwhelming, but the people he came across. Lots of interesting characters, it was fun TV to watch.

                                  1. re: Bunson

                                    I liked Feasting on Asphalt for the realism...lets face it, most of the food out there is lackluster. But, just as Alton Brown and co. found, I've had great experiences in random places off a highway filled with great people and horrible coffee. I enjoyed the search for interesting food and I very much enjoyed watching someone clearly having so much fun on the search.

                            2. 8pm, eh? My hubby will be very happy. I love that once in a while he'll look into the camera and say "Hey, I said it was GOOD eats, not Healthy eats" as he ads an entire stick of butter to something! LOL

                              1. I enjoy his show tremendously, especially when he builds contraptions for home use.

                                I was gung-ho about making his flower pot smoker. I bought the hot plate, have the grills from old kettle grill, but I kind of lost interest when I priced out the large terra cotta flower pots.

                                However, looking at the pictures in the below links and now that I'm moved into my house... I'm reinvigorated in my flower pot smoker trial.

                                http://homepage.mac.com/dubmann/Photo...
                                http://www.kitchenproject.com/BBQ/Flo...

                                1. The MacGuyver-esque roundabout ways of cooking foods using uncommon instruments is generally not only entertaining, but another way of explaining the principles used in cooking. Unlike most cooking shows, Good Eats is not mainly about recipes. It's about methods and ingredients and about explaining why certain recipes work better than others. That and it's usually fun and goofy enough to hide the fact that it's educational.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: andrewr

                                    Teaching the methods and the chemistry behind cooking techniques allows you to apply them to different recipes and to tweak things to get the right result. For me, I learned a lot about cooking from Professor Alton!

                                    Good Eats is almost like a televised outlet for authors like Harold McGee and Shirley Corriher (who has appeared on the show numerous times). While reading Corriher's "Cookwise", I see where Alton gets a lot of his stuff!

                                  2. If I'm flipping through channels to find something to watch and stumble upon Alton Brown, I'll stop to watch. He's very charismatic and informative. I like him much better on good eats rather than Iron Chef... Too stuffy looking on IC

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: sacca518

                                      A little too smug and full of himself for my taste. But that's just my opinion.

                                      1. re: BronxBoy

                                        Wow.
                                        And he doesn't take himself seriously at all.
                                        You must really love Christopher Kimbal.

                                        DT

                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            I think, having watched from pretty near the beginning, that AB has gotten a little more cocky over the seasons. I understand that--I would have, too! But I can see how people seeing him for the first time lately would find him a bit much.

                                      2. I love him =)

                                        He is the only thing I watch on FoodTV anymore. Who else goes into the kitchen with goggles and a blow torch?

                                        I also confess that I bought one of his salt cellars. =)

                                        Every recipe I have tried of his has been excellent as well. I've always had an aversion to meatloaf until I tried his recipe... now my fiance regularly asks me to make it.

                                        Also used his brined turkey recipe for Thanksgiving last year... excellent.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: littlelea

                                          His meatloaf recipe also works well with ground turkey. I will say that a little extra sauce is a good idea since it's drier than the beef obviously.

                                          DT

                                          1. re: littlelea

                                            I bought a salt cellar, too. I love Alton Brown because I thought the only place I'd hear about blackbody radiation was in my physical chemistry class.

                                            That's the one where he cooks a roast (I think it was a roast) in an upturned terra cotta pot in the oven.

                                            1. re: momjamin

                                              Oh gosh, I just about fell out of my chair while silently shaking from laughter (darn cubicles, you can hear everything!). His quotes crack me up.

                                            2. His shows are my favorites on TFC. He really uses his background in video production to keep the viewers attention, and his visual aids make even those of us who squeeked through chemistry class understand the principles behind the cooking methods. He doesn't insult the viewers intelligence.
                                              And, he doesn't insist you go buy some fancy piece of cookware or appliance to cook well.

                                              1. Alton Brown is wonderful. I love some of the outtakes on his shows, really funny. He's the best FN has to offer these days. Ohh, love Ina but we need some new shows,,,come on!

                                                1. Alton Brown's Good Eats is the only thing I watch on the Food Network anymore. He was here in Seattle on a book tour a few years ago and I got a chance to meet him. He seems like a really nice guy, very down to earth and not full of himself. I also enjoyed Feasting on Asphalt, especially as he got further west.

                                                  1. He is my favorite! He is the only reason why I watch FoodNetwork. I also like him on Iron Chef. His commentary is great. There is acutally a whole series of Good Eats on sale exclusively at Target. It is a 3 disc set... I love it!

                                                    1. I love AB. I didn't like him at all after the first episode I watched (one where he dressed up as the grandma character) but when I gave him a 2nd chance I loved him. He's one of a few FN stars that I think I'd like in real life AND that knows what he's talking about.

                                                      1. I'm a fan. He's goofy but in a fairly charming sort of way. His food usually looks good, the chemistry and physics are generally very interesting. I tried the dry ice technique for freezing strawberries and it works very well (other than the cost of the dry ice--next time I'll freeze more stuff to amortize the cost!)

                                                        He's about the only show I watch frequently on FN but I think I've seen all the episodes! He's one of the few shows that actually includes real life cooking. I get most of my cooking show fix anymore from America's Test Kitchen.

                                                        Bring back SARA MOULTON!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                          I have to admit I found the mythbusters episode a bit annoying also. I use a teensy bit of olive (or other) oil in my pasta cooking water. Sometimes it's just a spray of olive oil vapor from a can. But, I DON'T do it to keep the pasta from sticking. I do it to reduce the surface tension in the pot, so the whole thing keeps boiling, but doesn't boil over. So, he totally missed my reason for using it, and I'll keep doing it because it seems to work. He occasionally misses the boat on some things, but all cooking shows do. (I didn't agree with his version of "buttercream" icing, although I'm sure his was quite delicious. Butter, sugar, whipped, what's not to like? Still, the buttercream I was taught to make involved Italian meringue and tons of butter and time. A whole different ballgame.)
                                                          I have to say though, I adore AB!!!

                                                          1. re: herbalista

                                                            I believe he comes back around on the oil in the water question in a later episode and notes exactly what you use it for; breaking the surface tension.

                                                            1. re: ccbweb

                                                              Thank you, thats cool, I love being right! ;)

                                                        2. Generally, I like him. But I was a little annoyed at a segment of a kitchen myth busters episode. This particular myth was about putting oil in pasta water, and whether that keeps pasta from sticking. He cooked the pasta, and then measured the amount of oil that was leftover in the pasta water. He ascertained that the amount of oil on the pasta was a small amount -- half a teaspoon, IIRC -- and then airy said that he didn't think that was enough to coat the pasta. First of all, I didn't like the transition from the empirical measurements to a statement of opinion -- opinions aren't proof. Second, as anyone who has ever cooked with reduced/minimal fat knows, a little oil goes a loooooong way. That's why there are cooking sprays: even a small enough amount of oil that it counts as "zero" calories can put a thin film on the bottom of a pan. I've used olive oil spray on a plate of pasta -- you can definitely coat a plate of pasta with a couple of sprays, much less half a teaspoon.

                                                          I'm not saying that oil in pasta cooking water does or doesn't keep the pasta from sticking. But I do believe that as a "myth buster" his methodology and hypotheses were faulty, and not at all what I expect from Alton Brown!

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            Ruth brings up an important point about this show and the TV FoodNetwork when she writes about "statement of opinion." Alton Brown is a trained actor who does a tv show. There's a lot of good content and I, myself, very much enjoy the show. However, he's not a scientist and I'm not sure the food channel engages scientists (I just don't know). If you watch the show (and the channel) over time, they do tend to state opinion as fact.

                                                            1. re: marilyn9

                                                              He's also a trained cook/chef (depending on how one perceives those terms) having graduated from the New England Culinary Institute. I also don't think he's ever put himself out there as a scientist, so making some inaccurate leaps in thinking about how cooking works may not be so bad. I do agree about "opinions" though I don't find that even remotely limited to Food TV these days. I think it would be much better if Alton Brown (and everyone) got more used to saying something like "well, personally, when I look at that, I don't think it would do X" rather than stating something as some sort of external, universal truth.

                                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                                To me, anything Alton trots out there as a fact. Whether scientific or biologic, he seems to have a reputable text book (or three) to back it up. Now, if there is a scientist that disputes the findings of his facts, well then, that's just science. Different ways to interpret the same data.
                                                                IOW, he doesn't float stuff out there because he believes it. He has a solid basis for his opinions.

                                                                DT

                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              This is the same AB who tells you that deep-frying correctly adds maybe a teaspoon of oil to the food - "hardly anything." I didn't buy his pasta oil opinion as proof either, and think he used the segment to fill out the half-hour and maybe because the enormous graduated cylinder he constructed to measure the oil in pasta water would look cool on TV. (Which it did.) Probably my least favorite AB episode.

                                                              1. re: tcd

                                                                To be fair, I don't think adding oil to pasta water does actually help keep the pasta from sticking to itself, though I agree that the way he went about reaching that conclusion in that particular episode was, well, poor science.

                                                                And, deep frying something at the correct temperature for the right amount of time doesn't actually add much more (if any more) oil/fat than a traditional sauté.

                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                  The number of times the oil has been used is also a factor in whether the oil gets absorbed into the food.

                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                    Actually I should have written more clearly: I don't disbelieve Alton Brown's assertion that deep-frying correctly adds very little oil to a recipe.

                                                                    I mentioned it mostly because I think it demonstrates that a very little oil can (if used appropriately) have a big effect on the food. So why couldn't this be the case for pasta?

                                                                    If you really want to keep pasta from sticking to itself, you're welcome to try my father's technique: cook the pasta past the point of al dente to absolute doneness, then dump it in a colander and run cold water over it for a few minutes to arrest the cooking process. Your pasta will absolutely not be sticky. (It will, however, be cold and sopping, and if topped in the kitchen will be at risk of sliding off the plate en route to the dining room thanks to the layer of cold water that will collect below it.) I prefer a little stick; in fact I'm always meaning to remember to save some of the pasta water...

                                                                    1. re: tcd

                                                                      Ahhhhhh. All caught up. Good point.

                                                                      1. re: tcd

                                                                        Sounds like how my mom cooks pasta

                                                                        DT

                                                                2. Alton Brown is an evil man, always convincing me to make things I shouldn't. What am I going to do with a whole 9x13 pan of tres leches cake, which is NOT going to keep well, in a household of only two people? But I promised my husband I would try it. We are helpless before his power.

                                                                  But, I do sometimes think he's gone off the deep end. Like the show where he made eclairs - he made pate choux from scratch - something I did long ago as a baker in a restaurant but would never in a zillion years do at home - and then filled it with instant pudding from a box. Not even the kind you cook - INSTANT! How could you go through all that trouble for the pastry and then fill it with instant pudding???

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: wombat

                                                                    I agree, the instant pudding thing was a little wonky. But I think he did that because the show was about pate choux, not pastry creams, puddings, or other goodness. And, actually, THAT'S the show that convinced me to try making eclairs at home. Which led to my part-time baked goods biz. Which means I am forever in AB's debt.

                                                                    1. re: wombat

                                                                      Pate choux is pretty easy to make -- easier than a lot of other pastry bases (I'd rather make pate choux than pie crust).

                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                        Heck yes, Ruth! I think I make pate choux once a week in order to keep up with the demand for my eclairs, cream puffs, and churros. Pie crust is also a necessity for my business, but it's such a chore that I almost want to take those items requiring it off the menu. Give me a pate choux-utilizing order any day!!

                                                                        By the way--I'm turning all of my customers on to Good Eats! I have to say, the Food Network scored big time when they put this show on the air. It appeals to more than the typical audience for the network, and has pulled in non-cooking viewers. Increasing audience share is always a good idea, especially for a niche network like this one.

                                                                        1. re: riceflour

                                                                          Our different opinions of the bothersomeness of pate choux are funny - on my part, one of those things where having done something for a living spoils doing it for fun, I think.

                                                                          But still, surely both of you would at least use the pudding in the box that you have to cook!

                                                                          1. re: wombat

                                                                            If you're gonna pull out a pot, why wouldn't you just go ahead and cook one from scratch?? I do it a lot.

                                                                            DT

                                                                            1. re: wombat

                                                                              Actually, like Davwud, I make from scratch. Anything I can make from scratch, I will, except crackers.

                                                                              I suppose if Alton did a show on crackers, I'd probably attempt that, too.

                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                            Hear Hear! I fear pie crust, I always drag my feet!

                                                                            The instant pudding came across to me as ecouraging. A way to say that even if you're not an experienced pastry chef, or cook even, that anyone can make a decent eclair.
                                                                            To make both the pate choux and the pastry cream, might of left some viewers thinking it was too hard.

                                                                        2. Alton Brown! Entertaining and educational. Love his sense of humor, and would love to meet the guy in person. Looks like someone you could have a great time with! But I've seen all the episodes---I know it's more work, AB, but new episodes, please! Loved his kitchen design show ---please design mine!

                                                                          1. I've just finished watching the most recent episode of GE and am now giving serious consideration to making that coconut cake - including from-scratch coconut cream, milk and extract!

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: heathermb

                                                                              I'm watching the coconut cake show as I type.

                                                                              must....make...coconut...cake

                                                                              He had a great show on lentils not too long ago. It was great since me and the mr. are eating more vegetarian dishes as of late.

                                                                              And I love his gunmetal-with-flames stand mixer.

                                                                              1. re: heathermb

                                                                                Mrs. Sippi and I watched last night and at one point, I think I saw he licking the TV screen.
                                                                                I think I will be making this cake for her in the very near future.

                                                                                DT

                                                                              2. I've been watching Food Network for over 10 years since the days of Ruggerio To Go and Good Eats is the best show the network has ever aired. I learn something every episode, and I don't think there's any other show that makes the viewer appreciate an ingredient and feel as empowered to get up and cook something then after watching an episode of Good Eats. His books are also nice references...thumb through em next time you're at a bookstore, some good bits of information in there as well.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Bunson

                                                                                  Im glad this thread got so much feedback, and I wanted to send an update to those that did not notice last night (which I am very very excited about):

                                                                                  1. AB has knocked Emeril out of the 8pm time slot which is great not only because it is easier to catch on a daily basis but this means we can expect a string of new episodes!!

                                                                                  2. During the coconut cake new episode last night, they promoted another season of Feasting on Asphalt starting in August. Nice!

                                                                                  1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                    No, it's not nice that he's on at 8. We eat dinner and watch the news. We clean up the kitchen during commercial breaks in Good Eats. Then we walk the dog. Now we have to rush to clean the kitchen and then walk the dog so we can be home for 8. Not good, not good at all.

                                                                                    DT

                                                                                2. I am addicted to good eats. The good eats fan website has the transcripts of every episode so that you can go back and make the recipes step by step because foodtv.com only give the basic recipe. I also enjoy his cook books very much.

                                                                                  1. I love AB's rule of "No unitaskers in the kitchen". Living in a small loft space, with a 6'5" boyfriend and two cats, we need all the space we can get. I've adopted this rule in my home for more than just the kitchen. Everything must have at least two purposes!

                                                                                    1. i know without a doubt that this is not gonna sit well BUT AB (as interesting as he can be at times) gets on my nerves!!! the man is so full of his own rep that it's scary. he waxes between fascinating and verbose....watching him tear apart the contestants on next food tv star made me cringe. even tho they were not prize entrants he was just merciless. even HE had to start somewhere, gimme a break.
                                                                                      the newly returned feasting on asphalt is just a a more talky version of all the see the usa food shows they run on foodtv. it's not profound. good eats on the other hand is a much better program (altho he might wanna try being a tad less i know it all in his approach).
                                                                                      like i said at the start, i KNOW this is foodtv heresy on my part but on some nights i just have to shut him off to shut him up. yes there are worse hosts, that's not my point. it's just all the less than objective worship of every syllable that he utters that gets to me. sorry if this offends anyone, it's merely my opinion.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: spinach

                                                                                        Whereas I think he's the most unpretentious person ever to appear on Food Network, and this episode of Feasting on Asphalt had some gutbustingly hilarious interactions with other people. Especially the cute redhead who was talking about unsweetened tea. So, diff'rent strokes, etc.

                                                                                        If anything, he wasn't cruel enough to the contestants on NFNS: he only advocated throwing them out and starting over, whereas I thought many of them needed to get slapped around a little.

                                                                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                          I like the guy a lot and I have seen the Next Food Netwrok Stars, not that particular episode, and barfed at how inadequate the contestants are. This is all Fantasy Island stuff. It is another case of The Monkees, find some people who are semi-intelligent but very attractive and then make them into something they are not. AB started out doing his own thing, making Good Eats as an idea. He writes the shows, he produces the shows and he directs them too. Surely you don't think any producer at the FN would willingly put someone that geeky in front of the camera? He came up through the ranks the hard way, having to do all the work himself. I see these manufactured TV hosts as empty suits waiting for the FN to make them into something they are not. They are the ones who are trying to take short cuts so they deserve to get pummeled a bit just to see if they can handle it.

                                                                                        2. re: spinach

                                                                                          spinach, it takes a brave person to go against the grain, and while I happen to like AB fine, I'm sure there are many people who agree with you but are afraid to say so.

                                                                                        3. I like his show and his style. I like his personality. His show is fun to watch. But quite frankly, the cooking itself turns me off.

                                                                                          He complicates things way too much. I don't always think his methods are the best methods. I resent having to build some of the cooking tools he suggests.

                                                                                          He also does shows on foods I never care to eat anyway. Why a whole show on beets?

                                                                                          Ever notice he contradicts himself? I saw two back-to-back episodes recently. He did a show on cake. He baked a homemade cake. He told the imaginary person in the room that the cake was "so moist it didn't need any frosting." Well, when IP seemed disappointed, Alton capitulated and made some chocolate whipped cream.

                                                                                          What was the next show about? FROSTING. He opened the show saying cake was useless about frosting. He said cake only existed to be a delivery system for frosting. Hmmm...does that include the cake you baked in the old episode? He even said that cake made from a mix was better than homemade cake. Does that include the homemade cake that was in the last episode?

                                                                                          Speaking of things he did that I would never do, he made that homemade cake with shortening (and then measured the recipe in grams and explained due to the liquids in shortening vs. butter that all other ingredients had to be adjusted - more complications). I wouldn't bake a cake with anything but butter!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                            I really like that he'll devote a whole show to one food or concept. Thats the only way to have enough to time to explore the topic. I seldom bake, since I too frequently eat, but there is always something amusing, something explained better than I've previously understood and some new bit of trivia, history or usage that he imparts. Very few shows that I can say that about.

                                                                                            I think his show is for the person who never stopped asking "why" more than for a person in search of a new dish to try.

                                                                                            in terms of his way of phrasing, etc., well, it is TV & they are out to try to entertain & hold your interest. I feel he manages to convey his excitement & mad scientist side in a very sincere & real manner. Never been much of a "fan" of anyone, but he would probably be a completely enjoyable dinner guest!

                                                                                          2. I really like the guy personally, and his cooking in theory:
                                                                                            about 20% of the time his neuvo techniques are a bust (or there is a better way of doing it) but he is entertaining... in the kitchen - his new "Feasting on Asphalt" show is a complete failure from the episodes i've seen (hopefully it gets better).

                                                                                            1. My whole family likes "Good Eats"; we always seem to learn something (and my wife is a great baker already). The kids think he's funny, but after watching his shows, they are willing to try foods that they might have turned their noses up at before. I'm an engineer by training, so I enjoy it when he gets into the chemistry and physics of cooking.

                                                                                              Can't stand Iron Chef, so can't comment on his performance there.

                                                                                              Like the concept of "Feasting on Asphalt"; some shows were good, some not so much..

                                                                                              1. AB is far and away the best thing on the network. His cookbooks and recipes have become cornerstones in my kitchen. It's not just a "dump and stir" mentality. You actually learn stuff.

                                                                                                As far as his odd choice of topics (beets, coffee, eggplant, etc.), it has gotten me to expand my own culinary horizons by showing me things that...well...I can't learn anywhere else.

                                                                                                1. I generally love him, and think it's fantastic that he provides so much scientific detail with his food preparation (those are things I've ALWAYS wanted to know), but I'm wary of his actual recipes: I'm generally a very good cook, and I've tried several of his, and a few of them have been major flops. His Pad Thai episode just made me cringe, too... totally North Americanized, IMO.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                    We've tried his Caesar Salad, and we think it's very good.

                                                                                                    1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                      I hope I didn't imply that I thought all (or even most) of his recipes are bad! I've only tried a handful, and many of them have turned out deliciously.

                                                                                                      I'll make a point of digging up and trying his Caesar salad, as I haven't had one in awhile but do enjoy them. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                                                                                  2. I think he's quirky and educational, but sometimes I get bored watching his shows. In theory, he is great though! And, he definitely doesn't annoy me as much as Emeril or Rachael Ray, because he has substance!

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                      Update, folks: There's a GREAT article on Alton at the Atlanta Journal Constitution website (ajc.com, then just put "Alton Brown" in Search, sorry I'm not good with links).
                                                                                                      But it's very good and informative, and shows the latest with what he's up to.

                                                                                                      1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                        http://www.ajc.com/search/content/liv...

                                                                                                        Here's the link. I'd say he's the best. His book is the most tattered in my collection and I'd say his shows have helped a novice like me become an above average home cook.

                                                                                                        1. re: angelo04

                                                                                                          Thanks for the help with the link, angel.
                                                                                                          Did you like the article?

                                                                                                          1. re: angelo04

                                                                                                            OK, so the high muckety mucks at FN just ADORES Alton, loves what he does because it is so cerebral/weird/different. Which is why we all love Good Eats and Eating on Asphalt. Why don't they do more shows along that line rather than going along the RR, Giada, Paula Deen line? Both genre's are ratings winners but they chose consciously to follow the fluff and the harried on the go person's idea of a cooking show rather than the smart, hip, interesting genre. Why? I wanna know, WHY!!!!

                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                              I would imagine that one is a safer bet than the other.

                                                                                                              DT

                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                My guess is that it is much easier (read less expensive) to create a fluff show than a show where not only the recipes are researched, but also the cooking methodology, chemistry and historical aspects of the dish. After you reseach all that information, you then have to present it in an entertaining fashion in 22 minutes.

                                                                                                        2. I like him much better when he's on the road and have even begun to think he's cute. But then I heard he fell off his bike and that makes me wince for him. Good Eats can get very technical. The weird characters he has on are bizarre. Is that woman really his sister? I don't like his voice that much so his Iron Chef commentary bores me.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                            No, that's not really his sister. Most of them are actors.
                                                                                                            "W" (the Asian girl he spars with) is really his chiropractor.
                                                                                                            Did you not see his special show, when he explains everything?
                                                                                                            : )

                                                                                                            1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                              By the way, I like him much better on the road, also. I think it tends to bring out his personality as a "people person".
                                                                                                              He can be very charming and funny.

                                                                                                            2. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                              What is this "think he's cute" stuff? He's totally cute - even if he does have manboobs!

                                                                                                              1. re: Jeters

                                                                                                                LOL!!!!
                                                                                                                Well, he HAS gained some weight.
                                                                                                                ; )

                                                                                                                1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                  He does look bigger. I always thought he was kind of scrawny. How tall is he? He looks tall on FOA.

                                                                                                            3. I really enjoy his shows too. I (like to think I) am a decent, experienced cook, so I don't get alot out of shows that tell me how to make X. But I love his explanations and the science and history behind food is fascinating, and just as important as technique in being that much better of a cook.

                                                                                                              1. My wife and I feel he has the best show on FN. His wife actually produces the show. They just work well together. I think he is great, because he shows the basics and why they work.

                                                                                                                1. I cook for a living, have given a great many food clases and think AB does a great job on "Good Eats", but I could certainly live without the dumb motorcycle show...

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: jungleboy

                                                                                                                    Charming, quirky, knowledgeable.... and damned CUTE! Some people griped about his hard-line 'tude on "Next FN Star", but the man had to take off the kid gloves when the contestants were acting like such babies.

                                                                                                                    1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                                                                      I agree.
                                                                                                                      I just wish he did more traveling to my neck of the woods (the Los Angeles area). But I think his schedule is kept pretty busy.

                                                                                                                      1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                        Yeah. It stinks that you never see much of L.A. on TV :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                          (hand on chin) I wonder if he ever reads Chowhound threads like this???
                                                                                                                          (Again, he probably doesn't have the time to read about himself!!!) LOL

                                                                                                                  2. So much positive feedback. Ok I'll be the first. I hate the guy! First I'll say his recipes aren't bad. However, here's my opinion of him:

                                                                                                                    I don't actually learn anything from his show, and the science babble complicates things needlessly. Maybe some of you can make the connection between interaction of proteins, fats etc to a recipe of "hey I need to add 1.3 g of salt to this or else". Personally I can't. I like to learn things from experience, what goes well together and what doesn't. I can't remember most of the technical stuff anyway because I'm not a chemist (neither is he, which I find dishonest...how would you feel if you found out Bill Nye was just an actor?)

                                                                                                                    Also he's not always right. He spends a lot of time telling you why his way is the right way, but in the end there are other recipes that are just as good or better. For example the stock recipe. He says not to fry the meat/bones beforehand. That adds a lot of flavour and that's why I personally do it. I don't care about collogen. There's no need to poke fun at the french chefs for suggesting that you use that technique for making stock. People have managed to cook things before him, and before science.

                                                                                                                    He claims to not have any unitaskes. WHAT IN THE (@#$ DO YOU CALL A MODIFIED IRONING BOARD FOR PASTA ROLLING? I'm sure he irons on it too then? For a guy who always talks about simplicity and multi-tasking, he sure makes a lot of gadgets. Personally I like to watch a chef who can handle a knife (his knife skills suck too by the way) instead of resorting to gadgets.

                                                                                                                    Anyway that's my view.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: budric

                                                                                                                      I agree with you. I think he's fun to watch, but I don't always think his methods are the best ones, and I don't think his recicpes are always the best ones either. He does make things too complicated at times. I need to learn how to do something, but I don't need to know the exact "whys" if I'm not a professional chef or a chemist.

                                                                                                                      Maybe "unitaskers" are bad, but having to build your own contraptions or go to specialty stores for various types of hardware doesn't make much more sense than going to a cooking supply store for a specialized gadget.

                                                                                                                      I also think he's just running out of ideas.

                                                                                                                    2. I think he's wonderful. Feasting on Asphalt has been the most entertaining nine hours on television this year, hands down, and makes me want to explore the byways instead of sticking to highways all the time. I think about at least one thing I've learned from GE every time I cook, and feel like I'm a more informed and conscientious cook because of it. I think his commentary on Iron Chef (if it's not completely vital) is at least entertaining and occasionally informative, as opposed to that pointless hack Kevin Brach, who is that guy? Count mine as a firm vote in the pro-Alton category. My BF and I have suggested, not completely in jest, that we name a (distant future) son after him.

                                                                                                                      1. I can't sit through one minute of his show with the inane conversation and all the goofy camera shots. For anyone wanting to learn the science behind cooking (and more) without the insult to one's intelligence, they should turn to On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.

                                                                                                                        1. I enjoyed the Feasting on Asphalt show, though I haven't seen most of them. I like it because he goes to parts of America that I have no interest in visiting and eats stuff that I don't want to eat. I love America, I just don't want to visit or eat there.

                                                                                                                          I do like learning about the science behind cooking but I have ADD and a 1/2 hour show on popcorn is way too long for me. I can just look it up on the web. However, his show on how to cut up a tenderloin was very useful for me. Hard to learn that stuff from a book.

                                                                                                                          1. When I first began to watch Good Eats, I was impatient and just didn't understand the concept of what the show was trying to accomplish. However, now, I am a fan and I have found that even if I am doing my own thing when cooking (which I can't help) I do experience recall from his shows. I actually love all the facts. And I do enjoy him on Iron Chef, I love that he knows so much about technique, and ingredients. I'm not bent proving him right or otherwise. I find the show(s) are entertaining, his style likable and I do enjoy the mix of Science with History.

                                                                                                                            Especially love the visuals! Something I can completely relate to!

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                              I used to watch FN back in the day and loved SAra Moulton. I am out of the loop now. Does Alton Brown host two shows? Good Eats and Feasting on ASphalt? Thanks!

                                                                                                                              1. re: italiana3

                                                                                                                                3, actually, if you count ICA (Iron Chef America). But FOA is a short run - only 6 episodes this season, 4 the last. He apparently comes back from these road trips having gained many pounds (look at what they're eating!) - which he has to work off - so making it into a longer run is out of the question. Honestly, how many of us would spend more than a week or two on road trips - especially on m/c's - eating all the way!

                                                                                                                            2. He's a wealth of knowledge and a skilled teacher, but his hokey sense of humour and compulsive use of alliterations ("So let us laboriously languish over the likely lamentations of the leek!") can be profoundly irritating.

                                                                                                                              But I own two of his books, so whatever.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: SxCx

                                                                                                                                I am NOT a good cook and know very little about the "correct" way to prepare food. That being said, what I do know I've learned from Good Eats. I enjoy the background, the science, and the step by step processes. And yes, AB does get silly at times, but the show is always fun. Thanks to him I know how to store hardboiled eggs (not in the shell)! And now I do carefully evaluate each item I'm about to purchase for my kitchen - can I use it for more than one thing? Do I already have something that will work as well, and how often will I use this item?

                                                                                                                                And Feasting on Asphalt combines travel, motorcyles, and eating lots of high-calorie regional foods. It just doesn't get much better than that.

                                                                                                                              2. Alton rocks. He is hardcore. If you ever get a chance, see about making his Grandma's traditional ham which was featured in episode "Country ham vs City ham". That is the bomb with the mustard and bourbon!!

                                                                                                                                His meatloaf recipe is kickass, too. The guy is just a genius with food science and I also enjoy his sense of humor. I am a big fan. It is very hard to teach how to cook protein in my humble opinion but he is effective in doing so because of the extent of his knowledge.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                                                                                    I don't see where he's wrong on the quality of the contestants on Top Chef, a show that is about manufactured drama, NOT food. And some of the comments there are hilarious: who's this twit who thinks Alton was an out-of-work actor? He had a steady, well-paying gig as producer/director of commercials and industrial videos that he gave up to go to culinary school because that was his passion. The main passion I see on Top Chef is how much camera time those famewhores can squeeze out. And to think I once respected Tom Colicchio...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                      The judging at TC is indeed about the food (the list of judges shows that) - the rest is just show business. You don't respect Coliccio because of what, exactly? Because he makes lousy food?

                                                                                                                                      As far as Brown and food go... I honestly don't think he'd last 2 rounds in TC. AB mainly knows how to copy facts from Corriher's and McGee's books, and he's good behind the camera - in front, eh... Of course, we shouldn'r evaluate him as a chef - he's not one, and he's not trying to be. Same as Tony Bourdain. But at least Tony made a career of it first, culminating at Les Halles, and he's written a heckuva lot more than a few glossy recipe's in cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                      Hey BFP - are you from the south? I still say that there's a line between north and south and while northerners like the irreverant, loud and obnoxious Bourdain, southerners can't stand him. And while Brown often comes off as a stoogie little nerd, he's nevertheless loved by the people who keep thinking that he grew up in Georgia instead of California.

                                                                                                                                      Ultimately, Alton Brown deserves to be the champion of Food Network. The Ewok, the Rhinestone Cowboy, and the Applebees Consultant are indeed, no competition for his Nerdiness.

                                                                                                                                      In all fairness, I have to say that I am suffering from a major case of deep seated envy - even unto shadenfreude when he dumped the RT1200 on gravel last year... But then, what happens? BMW steps up and gives him and his whole crew brand spanking new GS's for this year's trip... hey, they never did that when I dumped my R75/5 many years ago...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                        I don't respect Coliccio on Top Chef because he always seems to be moving the target. No matter what the chefs put out he starts up with "you called it the wrong thing" or "he didn't take any risks" or "this isn't original" or some other thing that doesn't have anything to do with whether the food is good or met the challenge.

                                                                                                                                        I respect the hell out of his cookbook, "Think Like a Chef" and I use it for inspiration all the time. i've never eaten in any of his restaurants.

                                                                                                                                        Tony Bourdain was, according to everything I can find, a hell of a chef and I see no reason why he wouldn't be right now if he didn't choose to do something else.

                                                                                                                                        Cute names for people on the Food Network, even if I don't get the middle one. The Ewok (Bourdain's name for him, of course) is also a hell of a chef and ran some of the best kitchens in New Orleans for a number of years. I've eaten at Emeril's and it's one of the best meals my wife and I have had.

                                                                                                                                        But hey, let's slam some more people who appear to be good at what they do. It's fun!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                          They dumped one answer - let me try again - somewhat nicer.

                                                                                                                                          I don't think I was slamming people who are good at what they do. I think I was slamming people who are bad at what they're trying to do - show business. They should go back to what they're truly good at - being chefs. Emeril runs a great kitchen and makes some wonderful food - he is obviously not an actor, and having assistants prep and road map a show on Chinese food, or something else he knows as much about as you or me, doesn't make him a great showman. He ran out of things to show us many, many moons ago.

                                                                                                                                          Alton is actually a decent showman - but he's not a chef, and his critique of the TC contestants as mediocre chefs rings hollow.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                          "Hey BFP - are you from the south?"

                                                                                                                                          Boston, but what does Bourdain have to do with anything? I never said a word about the guy.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                            Well... it was my northerners like Bourdain and southerners like Brown theory. You blew that all to hell...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                              There's room for both, but other than them having the same initials, I don't get what the comparison is. One is a former celebrity chef, one does a home cooking show. One tries to come off as the hippest guy in the room, one's entire persona is that he's a complete nerd. I'm not seeing the point of the theory.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                Bourdain is a fast-talking irreverent Yankee. Brown is certainly nerdy - but he makes a point of being from Georgia, as if he were a good ol' boy (although he actually grew up in California, he makes a big deal out of his parent's southern roots and that he lives there now). I've noted others here at CH that seem to like Bourdain's irreverence, that are from the north, where I have noted people from the south that hate that irreverence while loving Brown. 2+2= I dunno... just an observation. Obviously, it's not a universal truth.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                  Actually, if I recall what he said in Feasting On Asphalt, although he was born in California, he's lived in Georgia since he was 8 or 9, having moved back to the ancestral homeland after his dad died. Dunno how old he is, but at least 30+ years in one part of the country does give you roots there, especially when you're around family. So...again, just totally not getting your point, other than you seem to think that Brown is some kind of a fraud, a viewpoint that seems to be at least partly based on misinformation.

                                                                                                                                                  And to a Bostonian, Bourdain isn't a Yankee, he's a New Yorker. Yankees are from, like, Vermont and Maine. That ain't him. And if you want to talk fraud, let's discuss Emeril, the New Orleans chef born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                    I'm lost, how does that make Emeril Lagasse a fraud?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                      As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't, but it's a far more obvious form of the sort of misrepresentation that applehome seems to feel Alton Brown is engaging in. Apparently, spending over three decades in the south doesn't wash off the stank of eight years in California...or something. I honestly have no idea what his point was supposed to be.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                        Gotcha. I was going to make your same argument about Lagasse, as he's been in New Orleans for something like 20 or 25 years now. Grew up in one place, moved to another. Seems fair enough.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                      "Yankee" from the viewpoint of the traditional New Englander, and that of a southerner are quite different, I'm sure - especially since about 1864 or thereabouts. Obviously, my context was the latter. Then again, there's the viewpoint of a member of the Red Sox Nation. We KNOW what a Yankee is, and he IS from NYC.

                                                                                                                                                      Alton's fraud, if indeed there is one, is one of pretend scientist, even perhaps of pretend nerd. I agree that he's not a pretend southerner - in fact, he meets the main prerequisite: he may have been born in California, but he is a born again christian. And when it comes down to it, that's really why the southerners like him, and not Bourdain. It's not that Brown carries any religiosity on his shoulder - it's just the way people are. Irreverence, questioning, skepticism - these are traits of the flippant, blue-state, intellectual elite from the northeast.

                                                                                                                                                      My contention, my theory, if you will, is that these differences that form the very basis of the widely polarized political and social state of the country, (red/blue) are indeed reflected in our food choices and our choice even of TV food personalities to support or reject. We're all products of our childhood - so obviously comfort foods will be different based on the community we grew up in. I think the comfort foods, the values, etcetc. drives a lot of other elements, including how much you like one personality or another.

                                                                                                                                                      I don't reject Brown, so that's not the point here. I watch him quite regularly. I'm just not going to be swept away with his copied psuedo-science, or his luck in getting BMW to provide bikes. It's certainly his right to promote his new show, The Next ICA - and if in doing so he wants to differentiate the show from the other similarly-themed shows that have preceeded it by several years, by saying that his chefs are true chefs, where the others aren't, fine... like he would know...

                                                                                                                                                      I'm much more looking forward to Ruhlman's comments than anything from Brown. Ruhlman, of course, representing that cold northern outpost on the Erie - not a Yankee, you say? I bet you'd hear different from the Johnny Reb's that faced the Ohio regiments, long ago.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                        I disagree with a lot of that, but it's not worth either of our time to get into it....on topicish for chowhound, though...I guess the only thing that bugs me is the notion that one needs to be a chef to be able to determine whether someone else is a "true chef" or some such thing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                          Ruhlman isn't a chef either, so you have a point. I can't help but feel that no matter how many courses you've taken at the CIA or NECI, and no matter how many books and shows you've written and produced (and all the research that accompanies each), the ultimate immersion into the daily life of a chef, has got to make a difference. The knowledge of craft and technique can't be as good as what Buford discovered in Tuscany. You can't be a great sushiya without apprenticing at a real shop for years. And you can't understand the real impact of the business side without the experience of a Coliccio or Ramsay. I'd like to see Brown do a Kitchen Nightmare episode.

                                                                                                                                                          But ICA isn't the same thing. In fact, either TC or HK are much more in line with the importance of the chef's experience - the winner gets to run a restaurant, after all. The winner of TNICA just has to make incredible dishes in an hour. Perhaps Ruhlman and Brown can judge that as effectively as Steingarten's been doing the ICA show. And Steingarten was a lawyer, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                          By your theory, this proudly progressive, unapologetically non-believing, Sox-loving Ramones fan who lives in the bluest part of the bluest state in the country should prefer Bourdain to Brown -- never mind the fact that they're not doing anything anywhere near similar -- simply because he's more like me and my belief system than Alton Brown is.

                                                                                                                                                          Utter hogwash.

                                                                                                                                                          I must say, I'm mildly impressed with the fact that this entire pointless tangent hasn't been delted en masse, however.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                            I'll sign on for the en masse delting... I'm from the South (although born in California, so I must not really "count") and adore both Brown and Bourdain. I am just so happy to have television options that both entertain and educate, and I'd put both of those gents in that category. Alton isn't a "fake" nerd, is there even such a thing?! And for real, applehome, mind your generalizations about Southerners, particularly where religion is concerned. Maybe try sticking to opinions that are on topics you know anything about.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: delaneymae

                                                                                                                                                              Well - look... it was just an observation. Go through the pro-brown/anti-bourdain posters, and vice versa and look at the distribution of known folks above and below the m-d line. I'm certainly not about to publish my results, and they weren't that scientific, anyway, just a quick count. I did posit a reason - but that's the fun of theorizing thusly.

                                                                                                                                                              I have endured a 30-year plus marriage to a southerner - I've lived all over, and while there are certainly minority cultures everywhere in the world, there are also mainstream majorities that are the rule to be excepted. There are most certainly republican meat and potato eaters here in Massachusetts. Maybe even a Yankee fan or two.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm gonna go out on a limb here (gee - that's new) and say that a nerd and a born-again-christian would be an oxymoron. Like faith and curiosity. Alton's copying his material from others makes him a fake - although, I've already bought into the point of view that he serves us well by restating what is in books and tomes (as McGee's is a tome) on modern TeeVee.

                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I think that the wonderful, intelligent folks doing the moderation have long since been ignoring this thread.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                            Brown is a born-again Christian? I never would have known considering how unkind he has become in the past couple of years.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                The way he treated the TNFNS contestants was just awful. He has made some nasty remarks about overweight people as well.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't watch any of The Next Food Network Star, so I can't comment and he may well have been awful to the contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                  But, I did read what he wrote about overweight people....and I disagree with the characterization of the comments as being "nasty remarks" about overweight people. In fact, he was expressing concern for their health and the overall state of health of people in the US and said that the people he was thinking about were all very nice. It was a flip way to put it, but I didn't think it nasty at all.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe you read something different. I know some overweight people who took a lot of offense at what he said and how he phrased it. It didn't come off as concerend. It came off as condescendign and snide. Alton Brown has porked up quite a bit himself these past couple of years (the beard is a dead giveaway - hide the chubby cheeks) and I dont' think he's in any position to judge others.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                      Well I'm a northerner and Mrs. Sippi is, you guessed it, a southerner and we love both AB's.

                                                                                                                                                      And while Alton didn't ever work as a chef, he did graduate from cooking school so it's not like he's there just because he's popular.

                                                                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                                                                2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                  "The main passion I see on Top Chef is how much camera time those famewhores can squeeze out."

                                                                                                                                                  Boy, you got THAT right.

                                                                                                                                              2. Back in the 70s, when I was young, I had two jobs in a row that had me driving all over the country, first for a small record importer selling to indie record shops and then for ASCAP, doing audits of small town radio stations. I had an electric frying pan for emergencies, but as a rule I found small, local places to eat the regional cuisine, but cheap. I ended up writing articles about the best diners on the East Coast, or the best German food in the Midwest and that sort of stuff, which I sold for a ridiculously small amount of money to various newspapers on the East Coast.

                                                                                                                                                I was not the first to do this stuff, but I was unaware that anyone else was doing it. I was just interested in small, indie restaurants making authentic food. I did this for four years and apart from one stop at Red Lobster (they had all-you-can-eat King Crab for $8 or so, and I was starved), I only ate in indie places. I never had a single Mickey D burger or any other fast food because a. I hate that food and b. there were always far better options at low prices.

                                                                                                                                                Alton reminds us of this. So, unfortunately, does that creep who does the Diners, Drive-Ins and whatever. I really loathe that guy, although he finds some neat places. His Gen-X patter, with his "this is hooked up" or "dis is da bomb" is flat-out annoying. Not to mention the drooling he does.

                                                                                                                                                Alton really knows food, and the background. That tongue-pierced idiot knows burgers and not much else. And everything he tastes seems to be the best food he ever ate.

                                                                                                                                                1. I like Alton, but PLEASE someone tell him to stop saying "ah" every other syllable!

                                                                                                                                                  1. I really enjoy 'Feasting on Asphalt'. I really appreciate that the show displays the excellent, indigenous cuisine that exists off the grid in this country. For me, it has made me more aware of true, American culture.

                                                                                                                                                    1. OK, make of this what you will.

                                                                                                                                                      For a costume party this past weekend, dadjamin dressed in a chef's jacket and toque, and attached refrigerator magnets to both. Voila -- Iron Chef.

                                                                                                                                                      As his date, I wore black, with dashed yellow tape across the shirt. I attached a couple toy cars, as well as some toy food. The thread I'm posting in may give it away -- Feasting on Asphalt.

                                                                                                                                                      We had to do a lot of explaining at this particular party, me more than DH.

                                                                                                                                                      For the record, I'm born to a Vermonter (a true yankee) and a Mass native, but spent my formative years in NC (age 3-18), then moved to Mass for college and stayed. Or as one grandmotherly figure in NC summarizes it, "She moved up north and married a yankee." (My sister came to Mass for college and quickly returned to the south and settled in GA.) DH grew up in NJ and CT. We both find both ABs amusing, at least to a point.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I have to say that I like AB a lot. I don't watch him compulsively, I don't use his recipes, I have one of his cookbooks, which I didn't find helpful to me. But I like seeing techniques, and how he prepares food. I watched the sugar episode last night; I remember having seen it before. I was struck at how young he looked, and also how calm he was as he made carmelized sugar. It seems to me that AB is more frantic than when he was in his first kitchen. The camera shots are now frequently contrived. Constant shots through the door of the oven, or out of the fridge become cliches after a while. I watch Iron Chef every so often, and think he is right for the show, completely. His patter reminds me of a sports announcer--very quick, explanatory and apt. And, I also think that he has lost a little humility as he has become so successful. But I like him and I like his show. As a previous poster said, what you learn from his show, comes back to you as you cook.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ariellasdaddy

                                                                                                                                                            Did you ever see Alton sending up the movie 'Castaway'? I found it delightful. I doubt Kimball could have pulled it off.

                                                                                                                                                            That said, I don't like that the FN is making him dance like a marionette.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ariellasdaddy

                                                                                                                                                              Kimball gets a little too smug for me at times. I find Alton refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                            2. His nerdy style was annoying me at first, but then he grew on me, like mold on old cheese.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I saw he just signed a three year deal with FN, which will include "Feasting on Waves." Should be a good ride!

                                                                                                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                  All right, kids. Time for an update, and if most of you have been watching Food Network, you KNOW what I mean:
                                                                                                                                                                  - OK, just saw the new teaser of "The Next Iron Chef". So I see an altered Alton with sunken cheeks and three wisps of hair on his forehead. Now, I have read that he has recently lost (approximately) 45 pounds because he wants to be healthier, among other things, but - COME ON!!!
                                                                                                                                                                  I THINK HE LOOKS HORRIBLE.
                                                                                                                                                                  I think he's lost TOO much weight, and I think he should do ANYTHING else - shave his head, get a rug, or hairplugs like Elton John - rather than take his hand, lick it, and slap it on his forehead to smooth those three strands.
                                                                                                                                                                  Don't get me wrong, people - I'm an Alton fan - but I call 'em as I see 'em.
                                                                                                                                                                  Look at the teaser and/or show, and judge for yourself - and comments---?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                                                                    Losing 45 pounds is a bad thing? Really? I'll take a healthy AB over an unhealthy one any day. And I think we all watch him for reasons other than how much hair he has on his head. Wow. Seriously?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Divamac

                                                                                                                                                                      Yep. Have you seen the New Iron Chef teaser? I think he looks UNHEALTHY. I think he went too far with losing weight, and I don't care how much hair he has on his head, either - but I think he can do something better with it than what he's doing now - just my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                                                                        I agree, he does look too thin, unhealthly so. The teaser shocked me as well.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kpaumer

                                                                                                                                                                          He looks fine to me. Different but healthy. I think when we don't see people on a regular basis a significant weight loss can look off putting.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                            Here are some recent pics - different, but not unhealthy, imho

                                                                                                                                                                            http://foodnetworkhumor.com/2009/08/a...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Divamac

                                                                                                                                                                              That second pic kinda makes him look like ShamWow Vince

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                                                OMG you're right! Got a good belly laugh out of that one.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree that the extra weight filled out his face nicely, but he is getting older, people. Go easy on the guy!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                                            I think he looks older but not unhealthy. I think when people lose a lot of weight like that their faces look a little gaunt. It takes some time for people to readjust their perception and I think it also takes a bit of time for the skin to tighten back up.

                                                                                                                                                                            DT

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                                              Zsa Zsa Gabor said a couple of decades ago that at some point you have to choose between your face and your body, to explain her extra weight. Being 20 at the time, I didn't get it but now, 20 years later, I do. As someone once said in a Food and Wine article, as you get older, if you maintain a fighting weight, you end up looking Leonard Nimoy-esque. I get that now.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                                                                              I caught the Next Iron Chef teaser too... I thought it was an add for Battlestar Gallatica or some sci-fi show. When Alton walked out, I thought he was a Romulan - thin, dark and gaunt.

                                                                                                                                                                              I think it was the lighting that created extra shadows on his face.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Divamac

                                                                                                                                                                              Losing 45 pounds could definitely be a bad thing. A very very bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as "too thin."

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                there is. but he isn't too thin. he looks fine. in many recent pictures he looks great. i think it's adjusting to the new look and the shadows. people are supposed to be way thinner than most of us are used to.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Divamac

                                                                                                                                                                                I was startled when I saw the Iron Chef teaser, I thought he had been sick! I think he has lost WAY to much weight. Those dark rimmed glasses and wisps of hair hanging down on his forehead aren't flattering at all. Actually, come to think of it, he has a
                                                                                                                                                                                "Nerdy Professor" thing going on, which does suit him!

                                                                                                                                                                                I thought he looked great on the Welch's commercials when his hair was combed back like Ruhlman's.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Axalady

                                                                                                                                                                                  Tell me Alton doesn't perfectly fine and healthier then in the past in this video.

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9GSf0...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                    He looks really good in that video.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, he does look fine and healthy in this video, which I was glad to see. Thanks for sharing. I thought he looked OK on TNFNS too.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually I'm watching the Chairman do a rumba right now on DWTS. The judges didn't care for it. Score - 6 - 6 - 6. But he's the first dancer out.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Pylon

                                                                                                                                                                                Dreadful sorry that Feasting on Waves was a big, big drag, but it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm wondering if his next effort, which involved getting a pilot's license, fell through on account of what a one-trick pony FOW was.

                                                                                                                                                                                Other than that, I adore him- he's just about perfect on Iron Chef, Good Eats is one of the very, very few watchable shows on FN any more.

                                                                                                                                                                                Haven't seen AB on The Next FN Star- I don't watch it, ever because the only keeper out of the whole damn series ever was Guy Fieri, and he can be a bit much of a muchness sometimes, but I like him quite a bit, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                As far as his weight loss goes, I think he looks good. I did notice he was expanding a bit before, but my gosh, so has everybody else that's ever had a FN show (except for Giada).
                                                                                                                                                                                I'm one that thinks body size doesn't matter, having been both an anorexic 20 year old and a fat middle-ager (surprise! I'm the very same person!)- I expect that it's tough to lose weight if you're in the food biz, if you can do it, you get a golf clap from me.

                                                                                                                                                                                If he looks older, MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE HE IS OLDER! Why are people so often surprised?

                                                                                                                                                                                And one last thing- leave his hair alone. I second divamac's "And I think we all watch him for reasons other than how much hair he has on his head. Wow. Seriously?"

                                                                                                                                                                              4. I love Alton Brown. My good friend has taken to calling him "Saint Alton the Brown," which is a fitting moniker. He is knowledgeable and appreciates any food that tastes good. He always comes off as a "Hey, I just figured this out!" so he doesn't come off pretentious. I love that his show focuses on just a couple of ingredients and techniques, that's it. That's the way to learn to cook. Great guy. He taught me how to do perfect steak in the pan and for that I will be forever obliged.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                  Saint Alton the Brown, ha-ha, that's funny. I bet he'd appreciate that.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I am so grateful for his show; I got my very non-cooking DH to watch, he got hooked and has actually learned something, if in theory only. At least now he can talk the talk.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Alton has taught me things I didn't learn in culinary school. That's big.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you , sir.