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Alton Brown Wants to Find Good Eats in Fresno
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
April 15, 2024

Alton Brown headlines the Valley Town Hall at Saroyan Theatre on Wednesday. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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Alton Brown does not want to get into any local Fresno culinary debate. He just wants to come to town and have some good eats.

The Food Network star, author, and lecturer appears in Fresno for the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall on Wednesday, April 17, at 10:30 a.m. The event is at Saroyan Theatre. Tickets, at $60, can be purchased here.

Appetite for Fresno spoke with Brown. He is still working on what exactly he will talk about.

“It’s kind of like everything from the philosophy of cooking to the philosophy of life. Now, these are parallels. They’re parallels that are pretty deep. And when I talk about it, I sound really smart,” Brown said, with his wit and humor.

Wants to Eat Local, But No Spoilers

One thing Brown wants to avoid is a deep discussion of any region’s specialty foods.

“I’m going to eat all the local stuff that I can get my hands on, but I’m not going to talk about it because … that’s not who I am. That is like having a traveling salesman show up to tell you about your town.” — Alton Brown

“That’s their food. Every region has them, every town has them. And I’ve got no business talking about them. I didn’t grow up in Fresno,” Brown said.

Authenticity, Brown said, is important to local cuisine, not whether he likes it or not.

“I’m going to eat all the local stuff that I can get my hands on, but I’m not going to talk about it because … that’s not who I am. That is like having a traveling salesman show up to tell you about your town. You know, it’s a very personal thing. And I think you’ve got to live in a place to be part of a community before you got any right to talk about the food,” Brown said.

This is Brown’s third trip to Fresno in the last nine years. His traveling show came to town in 2015 and 2017.

Brown certainly plans to eat local. He is asking for recommendations on local places to dine. He plans to eat, but he is not willing to share his superlative list.

“Hopefully I’ll be dining around with some with some locals, but nope. Nope. No favorites,” Brown said. “I love knowing what it is that people have on their mind. But I tend to just try to be a good guest in that case and never be a judge.”

Alton Brown has authored 19 books. No. 20 will be a prose collection. (altonbrownlive.com)

Another Book and a Final Tour

Brown has authored 19 books — about food, his favorite kitchen gadgets, and companion pieces to his “Good Eats” TV show.

His next book will be a bit different. It is a book of prose, which will be out in February 2025, the same time Brown goes out on tour again.

“(I’m) doing another another national tour that’s going to be quite large. And it’ll also be my last one. It’s actually called ‘Last Bite.’ I’ll be hanging up my touring spurs after that,” Brown said.

Brown has hosted several food competition shows, including “The Next Iron Chef,” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.”

He also isn’t closing the door on another TV show. “Good Eats” debuted in 1999, running for 14 seasons, with a sequel “Good Eats: The Return” airing for two seasons in 2019.

“Maybe TV. But you know what? I don’t even know what TV it is anymore. Is that networks? Is that streaming? What is that? I do have a few projects that would be viewable on a television set,” Brown said.

“Good Eats” was more than a cooking show with Brown’s favorite recipes. He delved into the science and history of food, along with his favorite cooking tools. He was a filmmaker before going to culinary school.

“I very much approached ‘Good Eats’ as very short movies about food, and paid a lot of attention to  the narrative. They were 100% scripted. There was no ad-libbing. They were written in screenplay form, shot single camera, like movies,” Brown said.

Most of the “Good Eats” staff, Brown said, never worked on TV shows before. He assumed his audience was knowledgeable about food.

“We came at it from a just a very different place, a very different angle then other people making food shows at the time,” Brown said.

You Cook, He’ll Eat

The day Appetite for Fresno spoke with Brown, he was preparing a mushroom frittata for dinner. Wild mushrooms were in season in his part of Georgia.

Brown would rather be a guest, than the cook, at family and friend gatherings.

“I would really love to have somebody else (cook), every now and then. So no, I don’t think there’s an expectation of that. If it’s friends that know me very well, they tend to think that I’m going to do something really big and flashy. And then I don’t … I’d rather just roast chicken and make a salad and say, ‘there’s dinner,’ ” Brown said.

Tri-Tip: Great ‘for the Grill’

If tacos are Fresno’s specialty, tri-tip could be No. 2.

“We tend to butcher animals differently in the East. There’s a different, historical kind of breaking down of the beef critter that tends to change with the Rocky Mountains … You can get it here, but it’s usually part of another cut of meat. So it has not ever become the same that is out West,” said Brown, who is based in Marietta, Georgia.

Brown said he doesn’t even know where he can find tri-tip in New York, where he lives part-time. He has his tri-tip shipped from butchers out West.

“It’s a fantastic piece of meat, but it’s one of those things specialized to the West. … As somebody who does a lot of grilling, I think the tri-tip is just an amazingly good piece of meat for the grill,” Brown said.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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