Alton Brown’s Culinary Guide to Atlanta

Self-described "foodist" explains city’s culinary personality and tells us where he likes to dig in.

Alton Brown brings his “Edible Inevitable Tour” to Athens, Ga., on Oct. 21, and the two-hour show promises a unique blend of his quirky humor and culinary-science antics. For decades, Brown has worked his weird magic on audiences as host of “Good Eats,” “Feasting on Asphalt,” “Feasting on Waves,” “Next Iron Chef,” “Food Network Star” and, most recently, “Cutthroat Kitchen.” A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt., Brown has also authored seven books including, “I’m Just Here for the Food” and the massive three-volume companion to “Good Eats.” Brown lives in Marietta, Ga., with his wife and daughter.

You’ve got a new live show. Tell us about it.

It's a culinary variety show with some pretty outrageous food demonstrations, comedy (hopefully), live music (yes … I sing and beat up guitars), and, of course … puppets. 

What’s the biggest challenge about performing for a live audience?

Every night you have to read the house. Each audience is a little different and you have to sense that and adjust what you're doing to suit them.

Alton Brown and cow

What kind of people do you have in mind when you're planning a television show? Do you envision the same kind of audience for a live show?

Television and theater are completely different. Although I assume that the folks out in those seats know me from television, I know that the experience has to be different. Familiar, yes … but different.

What’s one thing about Atlanta that will surprise an out-of-towner?

It's really, really green here. 

How would you define the culinary scene in Atlanta?

Maturing.

Is there a certain dish associated with Atlanta?

I don't think there's an official Atlanta dish yet. Oh, wait … yes there is. It's called Coca-Cola.

Do you see Atlanta as a city that follows culinary trends or as a trendsetter?

Atlanta doesn't follow anyone. We're unique.

Where are some places every visitor to Atlanta should check out?

The Sweet Auburn market, the Silver Skillet, Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q come to mind. 

What are some of your favorite Atlanta area restaurants?

I live "OTM" [“outside the moat” of the I-285 Perimeter] so I'm going to brag on Seed, Butcher/Baker and House of Lu, all in Marietta.

What are some basic tools every home cook should have?

A cast-iron skillet, spring-loaded tongs and one, very sharp, chef's knife. 

What do you most like to cook when hosting a casual dinner party for family and friends?

I do a pretty mean, spatchcock roasted chicken with lemons and potatoes. 

Do you collect anything on your travels?

Matchbooks. Not too many places make them anymore but when I find them, I grab a bunch.

What's next for Alton Brown?

Lunch.

Alton Brown's Perfect Day in Atlanta

Morning

Awake to a pollen-free day and my scrambled eggs. 

Afternoon

Silver Skillet

Shop at the Sweet Auburn market or Harry’s Farmers Market.

Lunch at the Silver Skillet or Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q.

Evening

Dinner at Seed, Butcher/Baker or House of Lu in Marietta.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Alton Brown's photo at the top of this story was improperly credited in print to David Allen; the proper credit is ©Chris LaPointe. Where regrets the error.)