Most fans believe Alton Brown‘s a walking food dictionary (and he is). He’s the ultimate commentator on Iron Chef America, he’s a mentor and judge on Food Network Star and no one will ever forget Good Eats. But there’s still so much to learn about this pillar of Food Network. FN Dish caught up with Alton on the set of his newest show, Cutthroat Kitchen, where he chatted about survival techniques for future competitors and even a couple things you may not know about the man who so many admire and look up to.
1. When Alton was younger, he always thought he would end up directing movies, which is what he trained for. “Only I got sidestepped into commercials for a long time.”
2. Alton spends a lot of time flying airplanes.
3. Alton plays multiple instruments including the guitar. “I always travel with a guitar when I’m on the road.” He also sings with his trio on his live tour.
4. Going along with music: Alton almost always listens to music while he cooks. The playlist depends on the day. “I’m anywhere from opera to Led Zeppelin — and everywhere in between. My daughter is 14 and listens to a lot of pop stuff, so I tend to gravitate way, far away from whatever she’s listening to. I have music on in the kitchen all the time. The last 10 things I cooked were probably to mid-’70s Elton John,” Alton shared with FN Dish.
5. Alton is terrified of calf’s liver. “I’ve tried it and I can’t make it edible. I don’t like anyone else’s either — and mine is just worse,” Alton adds.
6. “While I like eating artichokes, I hate cooking them. It’s so much work. Who decided we should even eat that?”
7. “I love watches, though my collection is small.”
8. Alton has a lot of glasses. “When you have to wear them every day, you tend to switch them up.”
9. Alton’s bow tie collection: “I have 200 bow ties at home. I inherited most of them. When an art school professor retired, he sent me his collection, which was 145 bow ties that he collected over a 30-year period.”
10. What’s the most-memorable item Alton’s received from a fan? “Just last year someone gave me a homemade ceramic dog treat jar made to look like my corgi, Sparky. And darn if it doesn’t look just like him.”
11. “I’m addicted to canned sardines,” Alton admits.
12. When Alton was a kid, he wanted to be Jacques Cousteau.
13. “I would ride a motorcycle every day if I could.”
14. Alton has over 2,000 cookbooks in the library at his office.