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Alton Brown explains what makes New England cuisine great

The Food Network star brings his live tour to town this fall.
Alton Brown.
Alton Brown is heading back to New England this fall. Photo by Alton Brown Live

Local foodies are in for a treat this fall as Alton Brown is coming to New England with his "Eat Your Science" live tour.

Expect to see a lot more than just a few cracked eggs when the Food Network star stops at Foxwoods on Oct. 27 and the Wang Theatre in Boston on Oct. 28. The culinary variety show will include everything from food demonstrations and live music to comedy and multimedia skits, all while giving fans a taste of the science behind cooking.

We caught up with Brown to chat about the tour and what makes the New England food scene so great.

How did you come up with the idea to mix food with music, comedy and all the other stuff in your show?

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Television variety shows. I was addicted. That was one of the major primetime forms of entertainment in the ‘70s when I was growing up. From the “Flip Wilson Show” to Sonny & Cher, all these shows that were skit comedy mixed in with musical acts, magic acts, whatever it was. A few years ago, I just got the idea to do a culinary variety show.

Fans will get a bit of a science lesson during your live tour too.

Everything in food has some kind of scientific foundation. The food demos in this show definitely highlight some of the scientific aspect of cuisine and how food works. Those are just story points for the show. It’s not a show about science, but it is certainly more laced with science than any of my other touring shows.

Which city’s food scene has surprised you the most on this tour?

I am constantly surprised. Every town in America now has something going on food-wise. Omaha, Nebraska, Des Moines, Iowa, Bakersfield, California – food has had such a renaissance in these secondary and tertiary cities in the United States. You think you have to go to New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, but no, there’s great food happening kind of everywhere now.

Occasionally you’ll roll into a town where people will say, “Well there’s Applebee’s and that’s about it.” And you’re like, “Well, it hasn’t happened here yet.” But that is certainly the exception now. My favorite restaurant in the United States, practically, is in Des Moines. It’s a pizza joint built on the bones of an old Chinese takeout place with a tiki bar built into it. Stuff just happens.

What makes New England cuisine so unique?

It’s two things that are equally balanced. No. 1, great ingredients, whether it’s produce or seafood. New England always has such high quality ingredients. The other thing is a deep respect for tradition, whether it’s coming from some kind of family heritage or community heritage. New England has always made sure that it’s food history and food traditions are respected and kept vital and authentic.

Even though there’s always a respect for tradition, there’s always innovation going on. All of that has to work together to keep a food scene fresh. But in the end, it’s hard to argue with maple syrup and lobster. It just is.

 
 
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