Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content TV chef Alton Brown gives Air Force Academy cadets a chemistry lesson

by Amber Baillie Air Force Academy Public Affairs - Published: May 12, 2013

Popular chef and television personality Alton Brown charmed cadets, faculty and staff from the Air Force Academy's chemistry department with humor and food science knowledge during the eighth annual Chemistry Majors Dining-Out event at the Antlers Hilton.

About 150 cadets, professors, academy leaders and guests attended the April 26 event to recognize 16 graduating seniors, enjoy fine dining and listen to Brown's presentation on the top 10 food myths that have been explained through science.

'Everything that happens with food is science, whether it's physics, chemistry or biology, ' Brown said. 'I like kitchens because they are laboratories, meaning every home has a lab in it. '

Brown said one highly regarded kitchen myth is that plastic cutting boards are superior to wooden ones.

'In the early 2000s, the thought was that wood is porous and just hoards bacteria, ' Brown said. 'We found out in later years that this is not true. Plastic cutting boards are far more dangerous. '

Brown also put to rest the belief that the hotter the oil in a frying pan, the less greasy the food will be.

'The idea is with the heat so high, the water content of the food will boil out with such speed and vaporize so quickly, no oil will be allowed in the food, ' Brown said.

'The problem is that the heat won't keep the food from getting greasy because it gets greasy after it comes out of the fryer. '

Always wash your mushrooms, Brown said.

'Every mushroom raised commercially in the United States is grown in a sub-strain of pasteurized horse crap, ' Brown said.

'Wash your freaking mushrooms. '

Brown also answered questions from cadets, signed autographs and took photos with them.

'Alton Brown set the bar high for future chemistry dining-outs, ' said Cadet 1st Class Nicholas Clayton, a materials chemistry major. 'I was already a huge 'Good Eats' fan prior to his visit. '

Cadet 1st Class Hilary Bowen, also a materials chemistry major, invited Brown to the event by contacting his publicist.

'He infused a bright note of humor into the event and demonstrated that chemistry and science reaches far outside the realm of any laboratory, ' Bowen said.

Brown said some of the most important relationships in his life have been with military people who have taught him important life lessons.

'The majority of my close, personal friends aren't actually chefs, they're pilots, ' Brown said. 'It just so happened that I had this day open, and I don't get to speak to 150 people very often, especially about a subject that's near and dear to my heart - chemistry. '

Brown is the creator and host of the Food Network TV show 'Good Eats ' and just wrapped up post-production work on a new season of 'Iron Chef America, ' another TV show he hosts on the channel. Brown is also a pilot and author of several cookbooks.

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