'Real Chefs' Never Do This, According To Alton Brown

Prior to his own explosive success on Food Network, the man behind "Good Eats" didn't enjoy watching cooking shows, and actually perceived them to be dull. Alton Brown told The Bitter Southerner that as someone who created TV commercials in the 1990s, food content at the time didn't fascinate him in the least, because it didn't teach him anything significant and failed to entertain him. He said, "...I didn't even learn a technique. To learn means to really understand. You never got those out of those shows."

Alton Brown decided to take a leap of faith and launched his own food show, "Good Eats," in 1999 and tried to offer entertainment, food, and science in a single package. The formula worked and "Good Eats" managed to find an audience that was willing to root for a show that challenged the status quo with its unconventional approach. As highlighted by Food Network's Maria Russo, Brown did not simply show his viewers how to nail a recipe or cook a nice homemade meal. He wanted to explore the details and help his viewers appreciate the science behind the ingredients that he used to make certain dishes.

The best chefs are humble

Alton Brown is a dude who does not try to sugar-coat life truths or hide his opinions. As such, he recently shared a hot take on Twitter, "#CulinaryTruth: real chefs always refer to themselves as 'cooks.'" Controversial as that sounds, the response was largely positive, with one self-identified "3rd generation foodservice" worker replying, "Never went to a 'culinary institute.' ... I've worked most stations in a kitchen. I'm a cook. I will never assume a title I don't attribute to myself."

Brown, who actually did attend New England Culinary Institute, still eschews any official culinary title. He told AV Club that the word "chef" is not really about cooking and is linked to a German word that literally means "head of the shop," which could be applicable to any field. Brown explained, "... I am the chef of my operation, but it's a production company. It's not a kitchen, even though we do have [a] kitchen. That's the closest thing to chef I am." Brown added that the culinary icons that he personally knows always refer to themselves as cooks and that those who insist on sticking to the title of a "chef" are usually not chefs. 

Brown also once answered Bon Appétit's question about "the biggest misconception about [him] as a cook," by saying  "It's the assumption that I'm a chef," which he said has never claimed to be "in any way, shape, or form."