When Alton Brown left the New England Culinary Institute in 1997 he may have been, as he sometimes refers to himself just “One Lowly Cook“. Today, with numerous awards for his show, and starring in two other slow simmering television rolls from 2006 to 2008 on the Food Network prime-time dinner menu, Brown is “cutting edge” Prime Beef.
After more than a dozen years of preparing and analyzing frittatas, beef, bacon, and stew, in the scientific, satirical way that only Alton Brown can do, his longrunning “Good Eats” will soon be on the chopping block.
Alton will not pick up his knives and go home, however, as it is he who decided to cancel the award-winning show. This stands to reason, of course. Alton Brown not only starred in the show but also wrote, produced and filmed it.
Shooting and directing film were not new menu items on Browns professional forte either. Upon leaving the University Of Georgia in 1986, with only one credit hour lacking to receive his Bachelors degree, Brown went on to achieve such things as filming videos for the professional rock band R.E.M. as well as filming and directing other music videos and TV commercials.
In 1988, Mr. Brown,(not to be confused with Tyler Perry’s,” (Mr. Brown”)panned cameras for “Spike Lee’s” movie, “School Daze ” starring Lawrence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell-Martin.
When Alton’s award-winning, drama, producing mind, and cameras weren’t rolling, he spent time with his wife, DeAnna Collins-Brown, at their North Atlanta suburb home, watching cooking shows, as well as cooking, ( a passion inspired in Alton from Childhood by both his mother and grandmother).
By 1993, after coming home from directing intriguing commercials, and vibrant videos, settling on the sofa to watch another sleepy Julia Child style cooking show left him hungry for more than just food.
Alton’s personal and professional palates were craving more well-rounded entertaining meals than the current television culinary productions offered on the carte du jour. He had the perfect recipe to remedy the situation too… “I wrote down Julia Child, Monty Python, Mr. Wizard and thought if I could put those three things together, that would be fun,” Brown says. Unfortunately, he was missing one key ingredient.
Before the butter could melt, 1994 rolled around, finding the Browns living in Vermont, with Alton enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute to study the art of fine cuisine under renowned Chef Jean-Patrick Matecat. Matecat began his cooking career in Paris at age 14, which is the traditional age for a Frenchman to begin their apprenticeship. Jean-Patrick Matecat, working for a well-known French corporation, moved to New York 40 years ago to help develop a line of baked goods. He remained in New York for nine years, before moving to Vermont as Executive Chef for British born, Mike Wares, ” Common Man” Restaurant.
By 1997, Alton and DeAnne were living in Atlanta, and had written and filmed the first two pilot episodes of the soon to become award-winning show,”Good Eats“. By 1998, Food Network purchased the show, which aired in July, of 1999, the same year Dianna, and Alton, produced their daughter, Zoey.
Seems Alton has a way of beating odds, and skinning fish in a huge way.
Ironically, while giving up on, or, at least, keeping at bay, the thought of spending five years of his life at the University of Georgia in the early 1980’s only to come short of his degree by one fourth quarter French credit … He studied culinary arts under a French teacher, and had earned the “Bon Appetite” Magazines ” Cooking Teacher of the Year” award the same year the University changed the curriculum requirements, gaining Brown his all but forgotten Bachelor degree…of Drama.
Man, Talk about Drama!!! Browns comment upon receiving his Degree “I outlasted the high standards of the University” was an understatement to say the least. I’m thinking the (W) on the forehead, in this case, stands for no less than… Winner!!!
The Iron Chef America MC will be signing his 8th book ” Good Eats 3…the Later Years” at the “Theater Cedar Rapids ” in Cedar Rapids, Michigan, tonight @ 7:30, But …sorry, it’s sold out… but he could be coming to your town next, “Here are some dates of the itinerary”
As a literary, culinary, and all round lover of a sweet success story kind of guy, I find Alton Brown the ultimate “Supper Hero” And no, I didn’t misspell Super, and did I mention he loves God?
( the entire series can be viewed beginning Friday, Sept.30th 2011 @ 8 pm ET on the Cooking Channel)