Celebrities & Pop Culture

Things You Never Knew About Alton Brown

Are you a big fan of this chef?

If you’ve ever watched “Good Eats,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Camp Cutthroat” or “Iron Chef America” or know about the Eat Your Science comedy tour, you know and love Alton Brown.

But do you know everything there is to know about Brown? Here are facts about this chef who helped redefine television cooking shows that will make you love him even more.

Like any good foodie, he’s a fan of keeping food staples on hand.

Things he recommends to always keep in the fridge: hummus, a big chunk of cheese, butter, eggs, and “something green and herby.”

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He loves eggs.

He said in an interview to Spoon University, “You can bake them, fry them, roast them, poach them, almost anything to them.” He says eggs are what he makes when he gets tired of cooking — which is a good tip to keep in mind!

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He’s had regular jobs, just like the rest of us.

He delivered pizza while studying film at the University of Georgia.

pizza photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

He loves to take to the skies.

Brown has his pilot’s license and flies his own plane, a Cessna 414A.

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He has fancy tastes (of course he does!).

His favorite cocktail is the Boulevardier. How do you make it? 1 part bourbon, 1 part sweet red vermouth, and 1 part campari. Stir with ice, garnish with an orange peel or cherry and enjoy.

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But he likes beer, too.

His favorite? Saison.

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He has a great Pinterest page.

You can find many of his recipes on Pinterest, where Brown has more than 284,000 monthly views!

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He started cooking to impress girls.

Apparently, he used to be a pretty bad cook. But then he learned that he could land dates while at the University of Georgia by cooking!

“What I was trying to do was cook enough to impress girls. Girls would not pay attention to me if I asked them out. They said no; I didn’t have any money so I was like ‘You know what? I wonder how they would feel if I cooked for them?’” he told Spoon University.

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Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

He’s won several awards.

The show “Good Eats” won a Peabody Award in 2007 and Brown himself has won two James Beard awards, according to his website.

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Getty Images | Theo Wargo

He’s actually trained in cooking.

Brown studied at the New England Culinary Institute. It’s located in Montpelier, Vermont.

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Getty Images | Alexander Tamargo

But he understands what goes on behind the camera, too.

He worked for ten years as a commercial director and cinematographer before he went to culinary school.

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Getty Images | Adam Berry

He’s also a writer and illustrator.

He has written seven books and illustrated three of them, including a “Good Eats” book series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at his famous TV show.

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He likes old-school recipes.

His favorite cookbook? The 1962 Edition of “The Joy Of Cooking.” Why? The illustrations on how to skin a squirrel are wonderful (or so he jokes on his Facebook page).

He wanted to reinvent cooking shows.

In the ’90s, he decided to start his own show after he determined the current shows were “dull and uninformative.”

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Getty Images | Brad Barket

He’s a loving father.

Brown lives near Atlanta with his family. He is obviously a proud papa of his daughter Zoey. Sadly, Brown and Zoey’s mother divorced in 2015.

He likes classic items.

He has a thing for cast iron pots and pans, and manual typewriters.

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He’s multi-talented when it comes to TV.

Brown played the part of writer, producer and host of “Good Eats” for 13 years.

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Getty Images | D Dipasupil

He loves exploring underwater sites.

He’s an avid scuba diver and once filmed an entire show primarily on the water, which required the show crew and all their gear to operate from two catamarans. As he told Gizmodo about the experience: “It sounds fun, but it wasn’t that fun.”

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Getty Images | Ed Giles

He’s very musical.

He knows how to jam on both the saxophone and guitar, according to his website.

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He’s a big fan of fried chicken.

Brown told Spoon University that his favorite food to eat is fried chicken.

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He likes to label things.

Brown apparently carries a stack of post-its and sharpie everywhere he goes, as they pop up in many of his photos.

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He’s a beekeeper.

Yes, among all his other hobbies, Brown finds time to keep bees at his Atlanta home.

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Getty Images | Joe Raedle

His parents were in the media business, too.

Brown’s father owned a radio station and newspaper in Cleveland, Georgia. His mother served as the editor of the paper.

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Getty Images | Leon Neal

Brown was prolific on “Good Eats.”

He made more than 249 episodes of the show. Wow!

Atlanta Premiere of Cirque du Soleil's LUZIA - A Waking Dream of Mexico
Getty Images | Paras Griffin

He did a series of live shows.

Last year, Brown took his show on the road with the “Eat Your Science” tour.

“TV slowly sucks the soul out of your body,” Brown told Travel & Leisure. “Live audiences are the exact opposite, they give you energy.”

alton brown photo
Getty Images | Theo Wargo

He graduated high school at a young age.

Apparently, Brown graduated when he was just 16, according to an interview with The Bitter Southerner. Looking back, it sounds like it’s not something he’d redo, as he felt that was too young to be out in the real world.

iron chef alton brown photo
Getty Images | Theo Wargo

He drew inspiration from three very different people.

When Brown first decided to make “Good Eats,” he says he wrote down the names Julia Child, Mr. Wizard and Monty Python.

“I wrote those three things and I thought, ‘If I could come up with a show to combine those three things,’ not only the practical knowledge that Julia Child was so good at handing over, but she was also great at making you feel you could do it,” he told The Bitter Southerner. “She was very good enabler, very good empowerer. Mr. Wizard, the old science show, to explain how everything works and why it works. And then Monty Python because it’s freaking funny. I always believed that laughing brings a more absorbent brain. You can entertain people.”

Photo by Larry French/Getty Images

“Iron Chef” was a big learning curve for Brown.

Surprisingly, Brown didn’t know what a lot of the ingredients were when he first started hosting “Iron Chef America.”

“That’s a challenge,” he told The Bitter Southerner. I showed up to do that job, it’s like, “What the hell is any of this stuff? I don’t know what any of this stuff is.” Those people were coming in with ingredients. I’m like, “I shop at Kroger, OK?” You don’t get 16 different kinds of freaking kelp at Kroger. That was big. It was a learning curve. We shot two of those a day.”

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Getty Images | Theo Wargo

He’s a workaholic.

If you couldn’t tell already, Brown works hard. He’s constantly working or, at the very least, thinking about food, writing books, creating recipes and more.

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Getty Images | Jason Kempin

He’s active on Instagram.

Brown loves to share his food and travels on his Instagram account.

“When I first started making ‘Good Eats’, there was no social media,” he told Travel & Leisure. “There was no feedback at all. When I did my first season of 13 episodes I didn’t know if people were even watching until we got renewed. It was me making the show that I always wanted to see. Social media is a constant conversation. You have to be able to have conversations without letting the opinions get in the way. You become a renovator, rather than an innovator. All of that emotion, you can become addicted to it and become swayed by it. I work hard to build a wall around how much influence that’s going to have on me.”

He helped produce one of R.E.M.’s music videos in the ’80s.

Before entering the food world, Brown was the Director of Photography for R.E.M.’s 1987 “The One I Love” video. Is that a fun fact or what?

Additional reporting by Sarah Kuta.

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