Alton Brown’s flair in the kitchen developed early with guidance from his mother and grandmother, who nurtured his budding culinary talent, and which he skillfully used later “as a way to get dates” in college. Switching gears as an adult, Alton spent a decade working as a cinematographer and video director, but realized that he spent all his time between shoots watching cooking shows, which he found to be dull and uninformative. Convinced that he could do better, Alton left the film business and moved to Vermont to train at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. Soon after, Alton tapped all of his training to create Good Eats, a smart and entertaining food show that blended wit with wisdom, history with pop culture and science with common cooking sense. Alton not only wrote and produced the shows but also starred in each offbeat episode on Food Network; the series premiered in 1999.
Alton Brown’s first book, I’m Just Here for the Food (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2002), won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Cookbook in the Reference category, and was one of the best-selling cookbooks of 2002.
Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen, his long-awaited homage to tools and gadgetry, was published by STC in September 2003 and was nominated for both a James Beard Award for Best Cookbook in the Tools & Techniques category and an IACP Cookbook Award in the Food Reference/Technical category. Gear is an essential guide to all the “hardware” you need in the kitchen; packed with practical advice and tips, this book takes a look at what’s needed and what isn’t, what works and what doesn’t. Alton’s third book, on baking, I’m Just Here for More Food, hit bookstores in November 2004 and has since gone on to become a New York Times Best Seller.
His fourth book, Feasting on Asphalt, released in March 2008, documents his motorcycle ride from New Orleans to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota and complemented the TV miniseries of the same name that aired two seasons (2006 and 2007). Along the way he and his crew met the people and sampled the food that embody our American road-food heritage, and explored our collective history as a population on the move. In 2008 Food Network premiered Alton’s Feasting on Waves, following the format of his first miniseries, Feasting on Asphalt. The crew traded their motorcycles for catamarans to travel the Caribbean, sampling the islands’ food culture and meeting the people who create it.
The first in a three-book series based on Alton’s award-winning television show Good Eats, Good Eats: The Early Years (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), was published in October of 2009, landing on the New York Times Best Seller List for 13 weeks.
Alton released his second of the series, Good Eats 2: The Middle Years (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), in October 2010. Showcasing everything Alton Brown fans have ever wanted to know about his award-winning television show, Good Eats 2: The Middle Years is chock-full of behind-the-scenes photographs and trivia, science-of-food information, cooking tips and — of course — recipes. Alton published the third volume of the series, Good Eats 3: The Later Years, in October 2011.
Good Eats was recognized as a Peabody Award winner in April 2007, a distinguished prize presented for excellence in broadcast news, education and entertainment. Hosted by Alton Brown, Good Eats, which aired for 14 seasons, on Food Network combined pop culture, comedy, kitchen science and plain good eating. Good Eats began airing on Cooking Channel in September 2011.
Alton appears regularly as the resident food historian, scientist and commentator on the Food Network series Iron Chef America, and is the host/judge on the reality series Next Iron Chef. Based on the Japanese cult classic (originally produced by Fuji Television) that launched on Food Network five years ago, Iron Chef America pits some of America's favorite chefs against the inspired food wizardry of American Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora and Next Iron Chef winners Michael Symon, Jose Garces and Marc Forgione. Alton also joined Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis in season 8 of Food Network Star in May 2012 as he mentored a team of five with hopes that one would become the newest face on Food Network.