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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Alton Brown combines food, fun in culinary show

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

TV’s Alton Brown will bring a show filled with food, music and comedy to E.J. Thomas Hall Nov. 5.
Photo: Andy Martin
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Alton Brown has wanted to tour the country with a variety show for foodies for years. Now he’s finally doing it.

“I didn’t have time,” he said in a telephone interview from his Atlanta home. “And I could not find the right production partners. Now we set the time aside and I said, I want to do this.”

“Alton Brown Live: The Edible Inevitable Tour” will make its way to The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St., Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m., allowing Brown to share his unique take on the culinary arts — as well as some singing and comedy — with Akron audiences.

“We’ve constructed a culinary variety show,” Brown said. “Everything is food-centric, but it’s not what you might imagine.”

Included will be two large food demonstrations using contraptions Brown had built special for the show. Because of that, tour promoters are calling the first few rows the “poncho zone.”

“I’m not Gallagher, but we will be providing ponchos for the first few rows, because you never know when you’re playing with compressed gases,” Brown said.

In addition, Brown will present a condensed version of his lecture “10 Things I’m Pretty Sure About Food,” which he said has “never been the same twice.”

Audience members can expect to have an opportunity to volunteer to participate in the show, which Brown said lends an element of improvisation.

“If the show is exactly the same, it wouldn’t be very fun,” he said. “I use a lot of volunteers, and volunteers change things.”

He’ll also have original music and a band on stage.

The show is a way for Brown, who has a theater degree from The University of Georgia, to combine his love of food and performance on the road.

“I always loved performing live,” he said.

Brown credits his mother and grandmother with giving him his earliest culinary training. After college, he spent a decade working as a cinematographer and commercial director, watching cooking shows in his spare time. He realized he could make cooking shows that were more entertaining than what was out there, so he enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute.

Blending his food know-how with his production and performance background, he created the show “Good Eats,” which he wrote, hosted and produced for The Food Network for 13 years.

Since starting that, he also wrote seven books. He’s won two James Beard Awards, one for his 2002 cookbook “I’m Just Here for the Food,” and the other for outstanding TV host in 2011.

Since “Good Eats” wrapped up production, Brown has spent his time on other projects, such as “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “The Next Iron Chef” and “Food Network Star.”

“I’ve got lots of stuff going on,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of really large not food-related projects coming up. I’m not idle. I’m staying kind of busy.”

Tickets start at $31.50 and are available at the Thomas Hall Box Office, all TicketMaster outlets or by calling 330-972-7570. For more information, go to www.uaevents.com.

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