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Colorado Springs gets up close and friendly with culinary star Alton Brown

February 2, 2014
photo - "Alton Brown Live!," Pikes Peak Center, Feb. 4
"Alton Brown Live!," Pikes Peak Center, Feb. 4 

Alton Brown is a very busy TV star.

And as a central player in "Food Network Star," "Iron Chef," "Next Iron Chef" and "Cutthroat Kitchen," it's hard to imagine how he has time to tour with "Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour," which has been on a 40-city run since September.

Maybe it's the sold-out crowds that are the draw. Brown brings all his quirky charm and food knowledge to the Pikes Peak Center on Tuesday - and to a nearly sold-out hall.

A two-time James Beard Foundation award winner, Brown rose to mainstream awareness in the unassuming Food Network show "Good Eats," which combined food science, pop culture, skit humor, innovative cooking and the occasional belching puppet. It garnered something of a cult following. In 2007, the show, which Brown wrote, produced and starred in, scored a Peabody award for broadcast excellence. The show ended in 2011 after 13 seasons.

And then the shows kept on coming.

Followers of his show (or shows) will recognize his quirky brand of observation, instruction and humor in "The Inevitable Tour." You'll also see another side of Brown, who plays guitar, writes music and sings: music. Who knew he had such talents?

Here Brown talks about what he does on breaks, the secret of constantly running at full speed and what's next for him. No surprise: He did the interview via email.

The Gazette: What was the inspiration for creating the show and taking it on tour?

Brown: I'll be honest, I was inspired by the great variety TV shows of the '70s - Flip Wilson, Sonny and Cher - that sort of thing.

Gazette: It looks like from the original schedule issued May 2013 that the tour took a break Nov. 11 to Feb. 3 for the holidays. What did you do during the break?

Brown: I made more episodes of "Cutthroat Kitchen" and "Food Network Star" for Food Network.

Gazette: Why did you come to Colorado? Have you been here before?

Brown: I've done events in Colorado throughout the years and always have a great time. Great crowds.

Gazette: What is your secret for keeping up with the hectic pace of the travel schedule and performances? A workout regime? A special diet? Energy drinks?

Brown: Water. Lots of water. And a little bourbon. Just a little.

Gazette: Do you see this type of touring cooking show as the next trend for celebrity chefs? Is this a new way to brand yourself?

Brown: Nope. Just me having fun.

Gazette: What's next for you? Another tour? Cookbook?

Brown: I do have a cookbook for kids in the works and some interesting digital projects coming up.

Gazette: Before or after the show, will you sign cookbooks? Do you have other appearances scheduled while you're in Colorado Springs?

Brown: I do sign books for people coming to the VIP event, but nothing else planned. Of course if someone happens to catch me walking down the street ...


14 Things you didn’t know about alton brown

1. When Brown was younger, he always thought he would end up directing movies, which is what he trained for. “Only I got sidestepped into commercials for a long time.”

2. Brown spends a lot of time flying airplanes.

3. Brown plays multiple instruments, including the guitar. “I always travel with a guitar when I’m on the road.” He also sings with his trio on his live tour.

4. Going along with music: Brown almost always listens to music while he cooks. The playlist depends on the day. “I’m anywhere from opera to Led Zeppelin — and everywhere in between. My daughter is 14 and listens to a lot of pop stuff, so I tend to gravitate way, far away from whatever she’s listening to. I have music on in the kitchen all the time. The last 10 things I cooked were probably to mid-’70s Elton John,” Alton shared with Food Network Dish.

5. Brown is terrified of calf’s liver. “I’ve tried it and I can’t make it edible. I don’t like anyone else’s either — and mine is just worse,” Brown adds.

6. “While I like eating artichokes, I hate cooking them. It’s so much work. Who decided we should even eat that?”

7. “I love watches, though my collection is small.”

8. Brown has a lot of eyeglasses. “When you have to wear them every day, you tend to switch them up.”

9. Brown’s bow tie collection: “I have 200 bow ties at home. I inherited most of them. When an art school professor retired, he sent me his collection, which was 145 bow ties that he collected over a 30-year period.”

10. What’s the most-memorable item Brown received from a fan? “Just last year someone gave me a homemade ceramic dog treat jar made to look like my corgi, Sparky. And darn if it doesn’t look just like him.”

11. “I’m addicted to canned sardines,” he says.

12. When Brown was a kid, he wanted to be Jacques Cousteau.

13. “I would ride a motorcycle every day if I could.”

14. Brown has more than 2,000 cookbooks in the library at his office.



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