When not filming one of his many Food Network reality shows – such as “Iron Chef America,” “The Next Food Network Star,” “Feasting on Asphalt” or his latest incarnation, “Cut Throat Kitchen” – chef Alton Brown likes to take his culinary curiosity on the road to get close with his fan base.
He’s taking his latest adventure across America on a 40-plus city tour as chief pilot of the “Edible Inevitable” tour, which Brown describes as “two hours of me doing things that nobody would allow me to do on television.”
Brown is stopping in Charlotte Monday for an evening of fun and food at Belk Theater.
Touring the country was inevitable once he got the right partners and venues, according to Brown. “Additionally,” he said, “I love saying, ‘Edible Inevitable’ – it just sounds fun.”
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“This show was built to be an actual culinary variety show,” said Brown. “It hearkens back to the old TV variety shows of the ’60s and ’70s, with live music and very cool food demonstrations. I get to embarrass myself both as a guitarist and saxophone player. Folks will experience extreme and very unusual food demonstrations, and a good deal of audience participation.”
One of the most prominent faces of the Food Network and largely responsible for the popularity of new-age cooking shows, Brown is a New England Culinary Institute graduate and author of seven books (including “Good Eats,” which made it to the New York Times best-seller list).
He loves to inform fans about the science behind cooking their favorite dishes, and frequently works with puppets – which fans of his inaugural network show well remember and have come to expect.
“This show is designed to appeal to children,” said Brown, who emphasized the material was appropriate for the entire family. “I encourage families to come early to the show, as we have some pre-show surprises that the young ones will especially appreciate.”
He is not known for beating a “food message drum,” but he does encourage people to enjoy cooking as a pastime that includes the whole family and is vocal about his concerns regarding sugar.
“Sugar is by far the greater enemy of the Western diet (than) salt,” said Brown. “Sugar is a chemical marker for energy, which is why babies crave it so. Adults on the other hand overcome huge obstacles in conquering the urge, even for chemically altered ‘no-calorie’ sweeteners. Sugar and its lookalikes should not be no-calorie.”
Brown’s favorite ethnic cuisine of the moment?
“Cuban,” he says. “Can’t get enough of it.”
And when pressed to identify the Food Network star he’d most want to cater his dinner party, Brown didn’t hesitate: “Mario Batali. The man is a genius.”