Omnivore - Q&A with Alton Brown, catch him live at the Fox tonight

Alton Brown on his go-to Atlanta restaurants, the Clermont Lounge, and more


  • David Allen
  • Alton Brown Live! tonight at the Fox

Food Network superstar, chef, author, and Marietta resident, Alton Brown, is back in the Peach State. His traveling culinary stage show, The Edible Inevitable Tour, is taking over the Fox Theater tonight. (Need tickets? There are probably a few nosebleed seats left.)

So Mr. Brown is kind of a big deal, and there's a lot we already know about him. But here's a brief summary for anyone who hasn't been taking notes:

Brown says he inherited his love of food from his mother and grandmother. He dabbled in filmmaking in his early adult years, but after watching one too many boring television cooking shows, Brown reconnected with his kitchen roots and decided to go to culinary school. He graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpellier, Vermont, in 1997. Two years later, his combined passions for knowledge and food science helped him land his own cooking show, "Good Eats," which ran for 14 successful seasons before coming to an end in 2012. Along the way, Brown has published numerous cookbooks and travel writings. He has also hosted several cooking competition shows including "Iron Chef America," "The Next Food Network Star," and his latest on-camera gig, "Cutthroat Kitchen."

Creative Loafing caught up with Brown just before his homecoming to discuss what the heck he's been up to lately, living in Marietta, and the Clermont Lounge.

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How do you make cooking into a live theatrical production? Can't we watch you do what you do on TV?
Well a theatrical show is a completely different experience. If you're a fan of my work on TV, you'll recognize the DNA. There's the same chromosomal material there, but the theatrical show is a completely different ball of wax. Sure there's puppets, a few other "Good Eats" things, and demonstrations, but two of the demonstrations are huge formats that are quite frankly crazy - things people have never ever seen before. There's a lot of audience interaction, and that really changes the nature of the experience because of course television is a past experience and the theatrical experience is not.

Speaking of audience interaction, folks seated in the first few rows need to wear a poncho?
One of our demonstrations tends to omit a rather sticky, particular matter. We provide people with ponchos for the first couple of zones so we don't make people all sticky and nasty.

How much longer do you have on tour?
I'm down to the last 5 days ... I wanted to end the tour in Atlanta but it just didn't work out ... That just would have been really great cause I mean it's the home field ... I mean playing at the freaking Fox Theater. We've played at a couple of Fox Theaters now ... but playing at the Fox in Atlanta, that's a big damn deal. Really, really big deal. I mean all the great shows and concerts I've seen in that house, and to be able to take that stage, that's a huge high point in my life.

When you're out on the road, do you crave anything that's only available in the South?
Oh my gosh, constantly! Number one, I haven't had a decent glass of sweet tea in 30 days because Yankees don't make sweet tea. I have not had a biscuit, so I can't wait to get in my kitchen so I can make a decent pan biscuit. And I'm not gonna lie, I want some Chick-fil-A. Terrible thing probably to say, but there you have it.

What's your usual?
I'm weird about Chick-fil-A. I don't eat the sandwich. I want the strips, a big pile of pickles, and some slaw, and I mix them up together.

What's next for you after the tour?
The tenth season of "The Next Food Network Star," then in April I'm going back to California to make 20-something episodes of "Cutthroat Kitchen."

Everyone and their mother saw you on "The Layover" last year - you and Anthony Bourdain cuttin' up at the Clermont Lounge. Do you have any plans to go back?
I will never go back to the Clermont Lounge ever in my life laughs. I got no business in there. To be honest, my attraction is to be home.

Home for you is in Marietta. How did that happen?
I think Marietta is pretty awesome. We just moved our studio to Marietta, my daughter goes to the Walker School that we think is pretty awesome, and I fly out of Kennesaw in my plane. We like the history of it. We live in a hundred-year-old house. It's the best of both worlds. We got Atlanta, but we also got the small town, which is kinda the best of both worlds to me.

Are there any new restaurants you'd like to visit while you're home?
I don't really care about new that much. I have a few places that I go to over and over again. I go to Blue Ridge Grill so I can get a steak and a martini, and I go to Miller Union and everything's good. But other than that, I stay up north. I eat at the Butcher Baker in Marietta, Seed over in East Cobb, or I just cook at home cause I'm pretty freaking good at it.

What's your at-home specialty?
The first thing my family is gonna want me to make when I get home after being gone this long is to cook up some steaks. That's just my specialty, I'm very good with meat.

Any final thoughts?
I'm just so glad to be home.

Wait, one more. Would you be willing to cook dinner for the Creative Loafing staff one day?
Laughs How much money you got on you? Actually, I think that's a funny idea. How many people are on the staff? When I get back off the tour we can talk.