A nearly three-hour show with intermission, autographed posters sold for $10 and original songs related to gastronomy. No, a secret “Weird Al” Yankovic concert did not take place Wednesday night at the Straz Center in Tampa.
Famous chef—um, cookAlton Brown – currently not doing TV, so he took his three-piece band (which now includes his wife Elizabeth Ingram), lab coats and outrageous accessories, on his third major tour of the States United This 59-year-old man’s leg possible farewell The “Beyond The Eats” tour kicked off at the Straz Center, which isn’t much of a surprise, given Brown’s longtime Georgia residency.
We don’t think Brown and Ingram either didn’t regret spending a few extra days in Tampa to prep for the show.
Brown entered the stage a little after 7:30 p.m. wearing an open suit and tie, with a 1961 Telecaster strapped around him. Brown had apparently written a theme song for the tour, centering on how he was told as a child that being a cook would bring shame on his family – and yet look what happened. “Thank you for coming back to live theater,” he acknowledged right after.
On “Good Eats,” Brown was the Bill Nye, the kitchen scientist: a family friend, donning a bow tie, semi-goofball, who knew how to work smarter, not harder. (i.e.: if you throw a kernel of popcorn in oil and heat it and it pops, that oil is hot enough to fry shit in it. You’re welcome .) But on stage, not only is he that, but he’s a man of many regrets, most of them food-related. Sitting in a swivel chair, he went through a veritable “rolodex of regrets” and picked out his favourites. There was the time he posted a Crock Pot lasagna that got 81 one-star reviews (one of which said it gave them the perfect opportunity to eat cereal for dinner.). There was also the time he mistakenly made s’mores for his family from his visiting aunt’s Ex-Lax chocolate he found.
Brown also spent a good half hour spouting useless information about the s’mores. “Scouts have never done anything but gouge their eyes out with BB guns and arrows. The Girl Scouts gave us s’mores! He rambled, before taking an awkward turn toward the s’more sandwich ingredient. Apparently, graham crackers, invented by Reverend Sylvester Graham, were designed to quell sexual urges. “So when you get home tonight…” Brown joked, “I don’t think there are graham crackers in The Villages.”
Another regret involved a previous show idea.
Before “Good Eats” arrived, Brown hosted “Eat This,” a game show focusing on questions and knowledge about food – from multiple-choice questions to “Price Is Right”-style interactive games, “They told me: “Food, competition… I just don’t see it! So, within seconds, Brown’s team pulled out host and competitor podiums for three fans who had excelled in quizzes on its website: a retiree, a third-grade teacher, and a paralegal who loves pastry shop.
“Pastry, black magic!” Brown joked. “Some are Hufflepuff, but most bakers are Slytherin!” In the end, the third-grade teacher won the game show, mostly because she got her grocery-based game out of the park, and received a signed tour schedule before the show’s intermission.
During the second act, photography was strictly forbidden, and I guess talking too much about it is too. Brown warned us early on that Act Two was “top secret,” so let’s just say it included wings, hot sauce, and an outrageous contraption that only Alton Brown would use.
You have to see the show for yourself to get the full scoop. He’s making appearances all over Florida next week, so there’s no excuse not to take a drive. Well, maybe there is, but that’s another show.