Alton Brown Makes Science and Cooking Fun at the Arlington

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Michael Lin
Staff Writer

“Science! Heck, Yeah!” might sound familiar to you in the past few weeks from 30-second YouTube ads (or you might not know due to ad-block). This was the theme song for Alton Brown’s new tour for the show “Eat Your Science,” which took place in Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara this past Wednesday, hosted by UCSB Arts and Lectures. Having publicity on the Cooking Channel and Food Network, and long running shows like “Good Eats” and “Iron Chef America,” Brown is changing gears to show the scientific reasoning behind culinary arts.

Contrasting his shows like “Cutthroat Kitchen,” Brown seem to now be focusing on the next generation of cooks. Eat Your Science,” as much as the title suggests complexity and sophistication, is very much aimed at a younger audience. With its slightly exaggerated humor and tacky sound effects, it almost feels like watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in middle school again, only this time he’s using chemicals to make alcoholic drinks. It’s also refreshing to see a culinary persona on television shedding an intimidating chef stereotype, and pick up a guitar to sing about culinary arts.

This new outlook has definitely attracted a good number of young audience members. Out of the relatively full house of Arlington Theater, about half of the audience members are kids. While this brings out the energy and niceties of Brown, it also guaranteed a night filled with butt, burp, poop, and fart jokes. This passion is not without cause; Brown has an inspiring vision to bring a love for cooking into the younger generation.

“That’s the miracle of food: the ability to bring people together,” Brown said at his show. “That’s especially true in this day and age. Let’s face it, we don’t get along on a lot of stuff, here in this country, but we get together when it comes to food.”

Not only can food bring people together, but Brown also thinks that kids who start cooking at a young age can transition to independent life better. While there’s no exact evidence to support his claim, there’s no doubt that, with there being so many college students lacking basic cooking skills, many would agree that being able to cook has its obvious perks.

Nevertheless, people of all ages can enjoy Eat Your Science.” It consists of two acts, with each act involving an audience member’s participation. The first act features Brown trying to concoct an unusual drink with someone who attended the show. The drink, which proves to be undrinkable (due to weird additions like pickle juice), will then be improved through the power of science, or, in this case, just liquid nitrogen.

Brown shares with the audience his obsession with popcorn during the second act. Besides eating, popcorn can also be enjoyed through just the process of popping. To make sure the audience get his point, Brown brings out his remastered childhood creation, a popcorn popper that stands at 13 feet tall that visually resembles a space rocket. Needless to say, the audience enjoyed popcorn in ways more than one that night.

Fans of Alton Brown will be delighted to know that Brown will be bringing back the show “Good Eats,” and on top of that, be starting a show called “Iron Chef Gauntlet,” which will premiere April 16, 9 p.m. Eastern time on Food Network. Brown’s latest recipe book, “Everyday Cooking,” can also now be purchased online. So to help yourself get out of the endless spiral that is microwavable mac and cheese and ramen, tune in and be amazed at how much arbitrary concepts taught in science class can actually apply to everyday cooking.