Alton Brown delivers delicious performance

Magic+Space+Entertainment

If the idea of spending an evening watching a live cooking show while being serenaded by flatulating and burping sock puppets initially sounds unappealing, I understand. But once you hear it was hosted by celebrity chef Alton Brown, you may change your mind. Last Friday night, Brown brought his wildly popular “Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour” to the Capitol Theatre stage to the delight of everyone in attendance.

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For those who are unaware, Brown is the host and creator of the long-running television series “Good Eats,” which concluded its 14-year run on Food Network in February 2012. While he is known for his creativity in the kitchen, it’s Brown’s unique and quirky personality that made him an iconic celebrity chef. Brown’s live tour includes more than just culinary delights but comedy and music as well. Brown is a delightful mash-up of Wolfgang Puck, Weird Al Yankovic and Jerry Seinfeld, all rolled into one, which made for an evening that was as hilarious as it was aromatic.

Brown kicked off his show by showing off his rapping skills with a zany hip hop beat that skewered the cooking show business while at the same time poking fun at himself. From there he launched into a stand-up comedy routine that blended humor with tips and tricks he has learned over his years of being a high-profile chef. In one particularly funny bit, he shared the story of his early days as a struggling chef, slaving away in the morning hours making loaves of French bread, and forgetting one day to add salt, which is essential to the bread-making process. In an effort to hide his mistake by stowing away nearly 100 pounds of dough in a dumpster on a sweltering summer day, he inadvertently created a doughy monstrosity that rose out of the dumpster, to the delight of everyone in the audience, but not to his boss.

Brown showed incredible skill as a stand-up comedian with his dry yet endearing delivery. His engaging style is similar to Seinfeld as he makes incredibly funny social observations centered around cooking. For example, he doesn’t like the fact that society insists on calling chicken strips “chicken fingers” because, as he so astutely points out, chickens don’t have fingers.

As if showing off his excellent comedic timing wasn’t enough, Brown also channeled his inner Weird Al Yankovic and sang a song that details what happens when you eat a bad shrimp cocktail before embarking on a cross-country flight. But while the comedy and music stylings of Brown are more than enough to justify the cost of admission, the fact remains his fans flock to his show for his unique cooking demonstrations, and Brown does not disappoint. A few lucky members of the audience were selected to come on stage and assist Brown with his somewhat bombastic cooking displays, including one in which he somehow uses two fire extinguishers to create chocolate ice cream in less than a minute.

However, it’s the reimagining of his childhood fascination with an Easy Bake oven that takes the cake. Brown created a fully functioning Mega Bake oven that is a massive 12-foot long contraption using 54 stage-light bulbs running and heating up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown invited another volunteer on stage, and together they cooked two pizzas in his childhood creation in three and half minutes. Brown was at his comedic best as he bantered with his assistant, all while preparing a feast that sent a delicious aroma into the air. The audience was left salivating over both the pizza and Brown’s delightful performance.

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