May 08, 2004

Alton! Alton!

Went to go see Alton Brown talk/demo at a book signing today.

He was every bit as entertaining in person as he is on his show -- probably more so because he ad-libs more, and also had one or two risque comments, always a plus.

The demo was nominally about making gaspacho, but he really used it as an excuse to talk about knives, cutting, knife skills, safety, butcher blocks, and men's inability to measure things.

The crowd was pretty thick, but managable. Alton was very friendly, showing up about an hour ahead of time to get the lay of the land and ask the crowd where to get some coffee. We recommended Peet's, and he could be seen wandering about the mall trying to find the shop, until a very burly man in a skull t-shirt ran after him and pointed him in the exact direction.

He popped up a few minutes before the demo and answered the crowd's questions. And then got down to the demo. He's also currently the spokesperson for a small line of Japanese knives -- but didn't really push the issue. Of course, he does have two models coming out later this year with his picture on the blades and I'm sure they will be a major source of income for him.

The demo itself was very informative. My knife skills are pretty well along at this point, obviously, but it's always interesting to hear someone explain them from the get go. Alton strives to make the reasons behind the message clear, and this alone make his take worth listening to. Plus, he's a natural ham in front of people which makes the demo entertaining even if you aren't interested in learning something -- although I'll bet anyone would pick up at least some of the points.

In any case, if Alton is swinging through your area, it's well worth the effort to catch him live.

Posted by dowdy at May 8, 2004 02:59 PM