He’s known as the guy who talks about the science of food and cooking. He can tell you the chemical reactions that happen if you add salt too early or too late in preparing a dish, exactly why you should roast one cut of beef at 350 degrees and another at 375, and why microwaves are fine for some foods but horrible for others.
So it’s a little surprising to find out that Alton Brown, through much of his life, was completely uninterested in science.
“I was a horrible science student in high school and then in college,” Brown said in a phone interview. “I was that guy who never studied (science) and didn’t care if I got a D.”
Brown — who, by the way, pronounced his first name “ALL-ton,” not “Al-ton” — is the host of the immensely popular “Good Eats” on the Food Network. He’s perhaps the network’s most popular personality these days, and he regularly appears on other Food Network shows, including “Food Network Star,” “Iron Chef America” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.”
He also performs live shows and tours the country more often than most rock bands. He’ll be at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Thursday with a show he’s calling “Eat Your Science.”
It’s more of the same, only completely different. It’s new recipes, new songs and some large and potentially dangerous cooking demonstrations.
If you have seen his previous shows and enjoyed them, he said, you’ll enjoy this one too, maybe even more.
“It’s another of my culinary variety shows,” he said. “For cities that have had me before, I’d say that it’s more of the same, only completely different. It’s new recipes, new songs and some large and potentially dangerous cooking demonstrations.”
“Well, maybe if you’re in the front rows,” he said.
It’s one thing to scramble an egg. But to know what’s happening to an egg when you scramble it, that’s give you a lot of power.
Because of his dry comedic delivery, it’s kind of hard to tell whether he’s kidding. But some of the promotional photos from the tour show him wearing goggles and protective coveralls, as if he were working with radioactivity.
His passion for science developed after his passion for food, he said, and as an adult he went back and studied all that stuff he was supposed to learn in school.
By understanding the science of food and cooking, he said, cooks at all levels can change and improve recipes and techniques without simply relying on intuition, experience and trial and error.
“It’s one thing to scramble an egg,” he said. “But to know what’s happening to an egg when you scramble it, that gives you a lot of power.”
If you go
Who: Alton Brown, host of ‘Good Eats’ on Food Network
What: “Eat Your Science”
When: 8 p.m., April 20
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Information: 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org