Star of ‘Good Eats,’ Alton Brown, brings “Eat Your Science” live tour to Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center April 21
WILKES-BARRE — Alton Brown has one word for you. Laser.
That’s the only clue the Food Network star of “Good Eats” and “Cutthroat Kitchen” fame would give as to the spectacular and potentially dangerous demonstrations he’ll showcase when he brings his “Eat Your Science” live tour to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Brown will perform at 7 p.m. April 21 at the F.M. Kirby Center.
Brown, who pioneered the live culinary variety show with his “Edible Inevitable” tour, has designed the “Eat Your Science” tour to bring more comedy, talk show elements, multimedia presentations and live music to his showcase. A fan interaction component will bring audience members on stage to serve as his assistants.
Brown said the live show is allowing him to do things he could never do on television.
“I can think of two ‘Good Eats’ episodes out of 252 where some kind of song was performed,” Brown said. “By and large, I have never had an outlet for my food songs, of which there are six in this show.”
Brown said the biggest difference between television and the live show is the demonstrations themselves.
“I always, in ‘Good Eats,’ held myself to practical applications,” Brown said. “I never did a demo that somebody couldn’t do at home. The demos that I do in these shows are not things that can be done by home cooks. We have invented massive machinery, and we’ve invented new ways of doing things. One of the demos might be one you can do at home if you had the right specialized equipment, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Brown said the most exhilarating part of the show for him is bringing audience members on stage. The personality, who did a lot of theater prior to getting into television, said the uncertainty of getting audience members involved in a live performance is an adrenaline rush.
“When you start picking people to come up on stage, you are basically handing them the keys to your car,” Brown said. “I never use plants. I always pick randomly, and sometimes it takes things in a really crazy direction. And you know what? That’s the fun part.”
Another new feature in the “Eat Your Science” tour will be a stand-up comedy segment called “If I Were A Food God,” which Brown said is a rant. The inspiration, he said, came when he was looking to replace the stand-up segment from his last tour, and a fan tweeted him the question, ‘What would you do if you were the god of food?’
“I quickly made a list of things that I would do if I was the god of food,” Brown said. “So this is just going to be a short stand-up routine of me sharing what those things would be. I call it a rant, because it’s mostly complaining. I’m not going to lie. But hopefully within that rant there will be revealed some things that will entertain folks.”
Part of Brown’s tour is a social media campaign where he asks fans to suggest places to eat prior to his arrival in their city. He’s seeking coffee shops, restaurants, sandwiches and late-night snacks, and he’s asked fans to keep it local and simple. Fans who want to contribute suggestions must use the hashtag #ABRoadEatsWB or Brown won’t see the input.
“It’s been really wonderful, because you get to find the places you never, ever, ever would have gone into otherwise,” Brown said. “I could do the show and leave, and every single town would be exactly alike. That’s no way to see America, to me. My thing is, we hit the ground.”
Brown said his reason for highlighting the science of food in his culinary work is that he’s the type of personality who can only do something properly if he fully understands it.
“I also think that in this day and age where most of us don’t understand anything that makes our life work — I don’t understand what’s under the hood of my car anymore. I don’t know how my phone works. I really don’t understand much about what makes life work anymore in the modern world — there’s a certain satisfaction in understanding exactly, precisely how eggs work, and exactly, precisely how a cake recipe works,” Brown said.
Brown said science is “freaking entertaining” and people enjoy the show because they connect with that.
“Science is the expression of human curiosity, and understanding science and experimenting with science is really how we understand and deal with the physical world,” Brown said. “I use science to tell stories about history, about culture, about everything. So it’s my voice, so to speak. It’s my language.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter@TLArts
If you go:
What: Alton Brown Live: “Eat Your Science” tour
Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
When: 7 p.m. April 21 (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)
Ticket information: Regular tickets range from $45.50 to $65.50. VIP tickets are available for $128 and include prime seat location and an exclusive merchandise item. Tickets are available at the Kirby Center box office, over the phone at 570-826-1100 and online at www.kirbycenter.org.