Chatting With Alton Brown, Master of Ceremonies for the 2012 James Beard Awards

by in Events, Food Network Chef, May 3rd, 2012

alton brown
This coming Monday, the James Beard Foundation will host its annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made the food industry unforgettable in 2011. This year, the foundation has asked Food Network’s own Alton Brown to host the awards. A true entertainer and culinary superstar, Alton’s no stranger to hosting gigs. Between Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America and previous seasons of Food Network Star, the James Beard Foundation should rest easy knowing they have a pro on stage.

Last year,  Alton Brown was awarded the Best TV Food Personality Award for Good Eats. Prior to that, in 2003, he was awarded the Book Award in the Reference category for his first book, I’m Just Here for the Food (2002).

We recently caught up with Alton to ask him about this honor, especially since the foundation will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.


You’ve hosted numerous shows on Food Network, but this somehow seems different. What are you doing to prepare? Are you nervous?
Prepare? Absolutely. A couple of jokes and an escape route. Nervous? Let’s say I’m appropriately aware.

To host this event any year would be an honor, but you’re doing it for their 25th anniversary. What are you looking forward to most?
It’s a very big night in the culinary world, and to be tapped for the 25th anniversary is humbling. But what I’m looking forward to the most is not mispronouncing any names.

Is there a specific award category that you’re most interested in (Best New Restaurant, Rising Star Chef, etc.)?
I’m not really eyeing any one category in particular. It’s the big picture of what’s going on in food and who represents true excellence that I’m interested in.

In a world full of mobile, do you think there will be a time when we’ll see eBooks or food applications nominated for James Beard Awards?
Seeing as how I’m working on several e-projects right now, I sure hope so.

What do you think James Beard would say about the food industry today?
I think he might admonish us all for being a tad too self-important, a bit big for our britches. But then he’d give us a wink.

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Comments (19)

  1. Andrea says:

    I don't usually make comments, especially negative, and this has nothing to do with the above. I was watching the All Star Copped Competition, and was incensed with Penny. I watched as she disrespected the other competitors previously, but could not believe her pleasure, when she noted that Michael had forgotten an ingredient during the competition, as well as her nasty backbiting comments about how much better she was than the other expert chefs. She is an embarrassment to all of you, and I don't care how talented as a chef, she should never be allowed to compete; she sets a poor example for young people. She really needs a personality adjustment. Andrea for FL

  2. Jessica says:

    I totally agree with you! At first I wanted her to win but she was so rude. You can be proud of yourself and want to win but she was just evil.

  3. Jessica says:

    I was looking for a place to post a comment about Chopped All Stars tonight.
    I was upset that Marcus Samuelson won. He is rich. He can make a donation to his charity. We all know he is an awesome chef. Jeffery on the other hand is not rich, he is new to all of this. He can't afford to make a donation his charity. We all know that Michael Symon and Anne B and the others are great chefs, they are Iron Chefs. Of course they will make wonderful dishes. The chefs who don't have cookbooks and have not been doing this for years deserve a chance to win and donate to their charity.

  4. Jessica says:

    I love Alton Brown. He has taught me how to cook through watching Good Eats. He is funny and makes food interesting.
    Does anyone know if the James Beard awards will be on TV? I would love to watch just to see him.

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