Alton Brown – Quirky Foody

Alton BrownHelaine and Stef watch the Food Network a lot. Since I like to hang with them, I am often ‘required’ to watch as well.

Obviously, Food Network has a theme – food.

However, to me, it also resembles the best radio stations of the 60s/70s/80s. The Food Network is a personality station! Most TV networks are not.

That’s not a little afterthought either. Their personalities are cultivated, individually and as a group, to make the channel more sticky to viewers. They become brand extensions. Many broadcasters/cablecasters are scared of personalities, because they can bolt.

Pause –> I absolutely have a vested interest in personality driven TV. I understand that. I have a career built on promoting that. –> Resume.

Most of the Food personalities are quite appealing, though I find a few really annoying!

Paula Deen is on as I type this. Helaine thinks she’s great. I do not. The same goes for Emeril Legasse.

The one Food Network ‘star’ I find most interesting is Alton Brown. He is a geeky guy, who seems to do more explaining than cooking. That’s OK by me. He references enough history and scientific theory for me to think he’s an intellectual.

As a Renaissance man wannabe, I value deep thought.

Alton Brown is appearing in Niagara Falls this weekend, at a casino. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but casinos have enough money to take chances and try anything to draw more traffic. The Buffalo News interviewed him, It is, as he is, one of the most quirky interviews I’ve ever read.

“Watching myself get old and fat on television is really difficult,” he says. “I don’t watch my show any more because I don’t want to watch the old ones.”

But he’s not going to go Hollywood. “I refuse to wear makeup, and I refuse to bow down and say, ‘Oh gee I need to look glamorous, and skinny,’ ” he says. “I’m just a guy, and this is how guys look.”

Yes to paragraph one. I wish to paragraph two. I wear makeup, though only to hide my ineffective shaving techniques. I don’t shade or contrast or do any of those more complex things you can do with makeup.

“As I get older and my daughter gets older I find myself having leanings that are more political, meaning I want to draw lines in the sand on certain things and say, this is right and this is wrong,” he says.

But there’s no place in “Good Eats” for that stuff, he says

“I would rather just illuminate and inform, so I’ve got to get the political part out of me,” he says. “I need to become more neutral, which is hard for me. I don’t feel very neutral these days.”

We agree on that too. I hold myself back a lot – on-the-air and here.

In the fall, I watched a behind-the-scenes episode of Alton’s show, Good Eats. I was blown away by the detail and precision necessary to produce it.

I had never stopped to think about the budget for a Food Network show. We’re not talking Hollywood feature, but it’s certainly not cable public access.

If there was one person on Food Network I could have dinner with, it would be Alton Brown.

9 thoughts on “Alton Brown – Quirky Foody”

  1. Agree with you on Emeril–he was interesting about the first 5 times I watched him. Now he’s a cliche. Paula took about 5 minutes. Can’t take the whiny voice. Alton is better but he can get hard to take.

    Now, Giada….

  2. I agree – I think Alton would make a great dinner companion. I love the way he explains WHY things work or don’t work in relation to cooking.

  3. I have only seen the chefs on various talk show appearances, but everything about Paula Deen makes me cringe enough that I can’t pay proper attention to whatever she’s doing. I like Giada – also noticed that about her head.

  4. Even in the old episodes, the production value of Good Eats is very impressive. The camera angles (in the oven, in the fridge) are great! Alton really excels at boiling down the complexities of food science while telling a great story (kind of like tv wx). When you are sucked into watching 22 minutes on tea, and you don’t drink tea, that’s saying something!

  5. Thanks for reminding me of the camera angles. Good Eats also leans heavily on wide angle lenses. That’s really the only way to shoot as close as they do while capturing lots of real estate.

    Wide angle lenses are very unflattering to the human face, stretching and distorting it. Obviously, Alton doesn’t mind.

  6. I work with a girl who could pass for Giada’s twin. I suppose it’s an odd coincidence that this girl also works in the kitchen…although this is at a nursing home.

    My parents ditched Connecticut for northwest South Carolina [the Greenville area] back in December, and my mother “perfected” her Paula Deen impersonation and decided she was going to talk like that for the last month they were here. Now Paula Deen drove me nuts before that, now merely hearing her voice while channel surfing makes me crazy…

  7. Geoff – A tardy boo-yah (oops, wrong tv personality) from the Colima twin volcano area of Mexico via a quick stop in NM. While Giada’s never missing cleavage has it’s attractions, Alton Brown is exactly as you described, and for both Sandy and me the opportunity to be entertained and educated in one fell swoop by Alton is not to be missed. I’d sure go to the CT casinos to see him.

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