How Alton Brown changed the cooking landscape

Alton Brown Good Eats cookbook

It's safe to say that Alton Brown has become a household name among those who have taken even a fleeting interest in cooking. This success was not a foregone conclusion when he embarked on Good Eats, the food show that turned the television cooking program on its head. The Daily Meal traces how Brown became one of the most influential voices in the culinary world.

When he first appeared on the Food Network in 1999, most cooking shows relied on a similar format of a cheery chef standing behind a table, preparing ingredients in front of an audience. Brown was the first to bring the show into the kitchen - way into the kitchen. A background in cinematography helped him utilize unique camera viewpoints, like the back of the oven, which made the show much more interesting.

In addition to breaking rules with the format, Brown was also among the first dive deeply into food science, whipping out charts and graphs to illustrate his points. All of this science attracted a new audience: self-proclaimed food geeks. Simply put, Alton Brown made it okay to be a nerd in the kitchen.

After an impressive 14 seasons, Good Eats departed the airwaves in 2011. Now Brown focuses on other projects like hosting Cutthroat Kitchen, writing cookbooks, tackling the despised unitaskers, and hosting his new one-man traveling show, Eat Your Science (which launches in Charleston in April).

2 Comments

  • mfto  on  1/18/2016 at 6:02 AM

    I am a believer in Alton Brown. Recently I discovered his "Hummus for real" which you can find in the EYB library. You cook a pound of (un-soaked) chickpeas with water and a little baking soda in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. That's what he says and that's what mine took and they were perfect. You then process half of the cooked chickpeas in the food processor following his instructions. I freeze the other chickpeas for a future hummus. The hummus is perfect as far as I am concerned but my husband is in the "Hate Hummus" crowd which just leaves more for me. My daughter now makes it weekly because her HS daughter takes hummus to school for lunch every day. I have found another use for the creamy hummus and use it if I need a thickener for soups. Don't tell the husband.

  • ellabee  on  1/19/2016 at 10:46 AM

    Actual information, actual cooking; the show was solid. I still learn things from the repeats. Watching AB spurred me to get grid racks that fit into my baking sheets, making them even more useful for prep and cooking. He can be Too Much, but a half-hour of Good Eats is a lot less wearying than almost anything else on the cooking channels.

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