The Interview: Alton Brown

The Food Network host shares travel tips.

By Nell McShane Wulfhart

Sarah DeHeer/Baker’s Dozen Media
Sarah DeHeer/Baker’s Dozen Media

What kitchen item would you recommend people bring with them when staying at a timeshare resort?

As something of a coffee enthusiast, I always travel with a small electric kettle and an AeroPress for making coffee. And, of course, a supply of ground coffee because you just never know.

You travel a lot for work. What are your tips for seeking out good food in a new city?

Talk to locals and check the internet. People love to talk about food, so I always try to follow local food writers on Twitter before I head out. And Eater​.com is always a great source.

Do you have any advice for upgrading airplane food?

Yeah—don’t eat it. I suggest bringing your own or securing something in the airport to bring on board. It also helps to bring something you can share with the flight attendants (like cookies!). I will say that the food on many overseas long-haul flights has improved over the past few years, but I would rather bring a sandwich from home than risk it on a domestic flight.

You drove a motorcycle around in search of the country’s best road food for the show Feasting on Asphalt. What was your favorite?

The scene never made it into the show, but we stayed the night at a small motel in South Carolina. I can’t remember the name of the town, but the family who ran the place were from northern India. They invited us back to their apartment and made the most spectacular curry and offered it to us with the warmest hospitality I’ve ever experienced.

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about cooking?

Who you eat with is more important than what you cook. We tend to idolize food these days, especially on Instagram. We take photos before we even taste the food. I’m not sure all of us are actually tasting it anymore. And all too often, the real miracle of food—its ability to bring people together—is completely ignored.

Do you lie on the beach drinking mojitos on vacation, or are you out exploring and climbing mountains?

I explore while drinking mojitos. Is that wrong? I’m more than happy to sip mojitos on the beach, but in the end, if you want to get to know a place at all, you have to eat where the locals eat. And sometimes you just need to follow your nose…literally.

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  • Published: Fall 2019