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Alton Brown on the biggest surprise of bringing back ‘Good Eats’

The Daily Meal logo The Daily Meal 8/21/2019 Dan Myers
a person holding a glass of orange juice: Alton Brown Good Eats 2019 © Courtesy of Food Network Alton Brown Good Eats 2019

Dedicated Food Network fans may have been heartbroken when Alton Brown decided to call it a day on his popular cooking show “Good Eats” in 2011. But it was never the food personality’s intention to end his legendary program for good.

So why did the show go on a seven-year hiatus?

“First, I knew media consumption was going to evolve massively,” he told The Daily Meal during a recent phone call. “I wanted to see how that would change, because I knew it was going to affect things. Second, I wanted to see how food awareness was going to change, because we can get our hands on a lot more ingredients today than you could even five years ago. And third, I was getting bored with the technology I had available to me at the time, and I wanted to wait for newer, more technically sophisticated equipment to become affordable.”

When the time was finally right, Brown announced its return (it’ll be premiering on Food Network on August 25), got the gang back together (including some crew members he’s worked with since the 1999 pilot), chose the episode themes and got the cameras rolling. And he certainly seems pleased with the results.

“These are the best shows I’ve ever made,” Brown said, confidently. “For the first time in my career, I have not one apology, not one regret. If this somehow isn’t good enough, it’s time to start looking for a new job.”

Brown told us that the new show is a technological marvel. For example, a model for how immersion circulators work required “160 feet of dolly track, 72 temporary signs, a guy in a chicken suit and 300 tennis balls,” according to Brown. When he inevitably surpassed Food Network’s production budget, he paid for the rest out of pocket. Everything was planned down to the finest details, but even then, there was one surprise Brown wasn’t prepared for.

“It’s impossible to shoot on location anymore,” he revealed. “You can’t walk into a location [like a supermarket or kitchen supply store] when it’s open and film there, like we used to do. Now we have to go when it’s closed and shoot all night long.”

The reason behind the change? The smartphone. “If we’re filming somewhere, someone can just take out their phone and start filming, and we don’t want that.”

As a result, the “Good Eats” team was forced to do a lot more in-studio shoots, requiring a whole second soundstage to be built to accommodate more sets. But, hey, it’s all in a day’s work for the Food Network’s best cooking show of all time!

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