Alton Brown has never guested at Dragon Con.
The Marietta resident, guitarist, food show guru and aviation enthusiast hasn’t even been to Dragon Con as a fan since the 1990s (though he has guested at San Diego’s Comic-Con). But his puckish, visual humor (perfected as the creator of “Good Eats,” and the host of “Iron Chef” and “Cutthroat Kitchen”) are exactly perfect for the Dragon Con crowd.
That crowd is going to be excited.
Brown is bringing back his quirky “Good Eats,” which ran for 14 seasons on the Food Network and elsewhere before it ended in 2011. He plans to make the formal announcement during a Dragon Con panel Sunday, appearing with other members of his “Good Eats” cast.
In the meantime, he can’t resist dropping a few hints. He won’t say the name of the new show, but he’ll suggest it: “It’s not going to be called ‘Good Eats,’ though it might have the word ‘Eats’ in the title,” he says, cagily.
He also won’t say exactly how it will be distributed, though he makes the point that it will be through both conventional and digital means. “There’s a lot that I’m not telling,” he said. “I’m going to wait and tell it at Dragon Con.”
Brown, 55, spoke about his “rebooted” show, and about the grotesque scene that drew him into the Japanese version of “Iron Chef,” during a phone call from his Los Angeles studios.
“The Iron Chef”
“The first time I saw the ‘Iron Chef’ was in San Francisco. I’d heard of it, but I’d never seen it. It wasn’t airing on mainstream cable channels in San Francisco, but there was a Japanese cable network there. I’m going through the TV remote and I hit on this show right at the moment that they were nailing a live eel’s head to a cutting board. I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ I didn’t move for the next 40 minutes.” He would go on to host a wildly popular American version of the show.
Julia Child or the Galloping Gourmet?
“I preferred the Galloping Gourmet (Graham Kerr). The dude was having so much fun. I have never, for a single day on the job, had so much fun as he did.”
“Star Trek” or “Star Wars”?
“I’m ‘Star Trek,’ straight down the line. It has to do with personal history. I’ve lived in Georgia most of my life, but I was born in California, and my dad was an executive at NBC. I remember him bringing Gene Roddenberry home for dinner. … When I met William Shatner, my heart was beating fast. He’s a delightful guy.”
Will the Alton Brown Trio come to Dragon Con?
“We’re not going to be able to do that, because of the nature of the panel, the way they run those things. We were going to do a musical thing, a bit of a puppet show, but we can’t make that fit.”
Will the Alton Brown Trio be on the new “Good Eats”?
“I’m taking a page from David Lynch and his ‘Twin Peaks’ reboot, and I’m going to end every show with a song.”
Sort of like Gene Autry?
“I am a comic fan up to the point of being a fan of comic art, specifically Japanese comic art. … I’m interested in heroes, and how cultures, such as ours, perpetuate mythologies. We still use, if not comic books, then their narratives and their storytelling devices, only now in really, really expensive movies.”
Distribution of the new “Good Eats”
“The reason we stopped making that show after 14 years is that most everyone in the media industry knew big change was coming, in the way we make and consume media. My next television show was probably not going to be on television: The next show was going to be on a mobile device.”
(As the host of the self-proclaimed “geekiest food show ever,” Brown has always injected a healthy dose of the experimental method into his cooking.)
“People told me, ‘You’ve got to leave science to the scientists.’ … I got criticized by more than a couple of people: ‘You’re not a real scientist.’ Oh yeah? Define that for me. What is a scientist? Because I’d kind of like to be one.”
Where he saw the eclipse
“I was flying an airplane. I was smart enough to have another pilot with me. We changed controls while the other person donned their viewing glasses. It was something to see, at 10,000 feet.”
Dragon Con runs Friday through Monday, Sept. 1-4, at five downtown Atlanta hotels and the AmericasMart center, with some activities Thursday, Aug. 31. Four-day membership: $160 online until Aug. 29; then available for $140 beginning Aug. 31 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Three-day, two-day and single-day memberships $10-$120 depending on number of days and which days. Tickets available on a day-of basis at the Sheraton. Free for ages 6 and younger. Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 165 Courtland St. NE, Atlanta. For information, go to dragoncon.org.