Stop Photographing Your Food, Says Alton Brown

Good Eats: The Return has arrived, a reimagining of the Alton Brown food show that premiered in 1999 and lasted until 2012. Brown is back on Food Network for new close-ups of the food we love; he calls the episodes “half-hour films” about a specific meal or ingredient.

Brown calls The Return “a continuation, not a reboot.” Cooking equipment is more advanced in 2019, and ingredients are much easier for viewers to find; Brown notes that Amazon was pretty much a book store back when the show premiered.

“A lot has changed during the life of this show,” he said.

That includes social media taking off, and making its mark on the dining scene, for better or worse. Brown isn’t all that psyched with young consumers’ urge to share their meals on Instagram. “We don’t taste our food anymore,” he said. “We just take photographs of it.”

Brown said the magic of food isn’t so much the food itself, but the person(s) you are sharing it with. Social media, he said, is getting in the way of that. “It has changed the way we unite and connect over food,” he said.

Besides hosting, Brown writes, produces and directs the series.

"Many of our viewers fell in love with food by watching Alton on Good Eats and they are not shy in letting us know they are hungry for more," said Courtney White, president, Food Network. "We also cannot wait to give the next generation of fans the opportunity to discover the show, which is chock-full of food facts, comedic skits and fantastic recipes, all in Alton's inimitable style."

In the seven years between episodes, Brown did live tours and hosted culinary game show Cutthroat Kitchen on Food Network.

In the season premiere of The Return, Brown makes the argument that Italian food was invented in America. Italy, he said, came to be a country in 1861. New York City’s tenements, and the people of various ethnicities inside of them, predate that. Chicken parm got its close-up in the premiere.

Brown said he watches little TV other than cuts of his own show. But he makes time for What We Do in the Shadows, FX’s funky series about vampires living in Staten Island. It’s based on the film by the Kiwis Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. What We Do debuted March 27.

“I’m a massive, massive fan,” said Brown.

For massive, massive fans of Good Eats, The Return is on Sundays at 10.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.