My 14-year-old daughter absolutely loves the Food Network. She watches it almost exclusively and can you just about anything about any of the shows or people on the network. I will watch it with her every so often, but I don't like to cook and don't particularly care to watch others cook. So, when I first told her about the Texas Book Festival, she was not all that excited. When I told her several Food Network chefs would be there, she changed her mind. We checked the website everyday because we needed to reserve tickets to his event. I even donated to the festival so that we could have reserved seats! So, Sarah and another friend's daughter moved patiently through the lines with me all day in anticipation for the BIG EVENT...Alton Brown.
We had dinner, walked back to the hotel, got the car and headed to Whole Foods a few streets over. We left in plenty of time to get great seats! Problem #1--He was appearing at Central Market, not Whole Foods. I got directions from a precious teenager working at Whole Foods and headed to Central Market...35 blocks away. We were making good time and got to Lamar and 35th Street fairly quickly but do not see Central Market anywhere. My child is screaming, I am panicking and I wish at that moment that I could find my darn GPS! I call my oldest and dearest friend that lives in Austin and who's child is with me and explain the situation. She eventually gets us where we need to be...at 7:20...reserved tickets were being released at 7:15. I drop the girls at the door hoping they will get in and head to find a parking space. I get a call from said daughter complaining that there are no more seats and that the night was ruined! I park get inside, after walking past about 300 fans standing outside that won't be getting in and find the child. We ask where we can sit and several volunteers shrug their shoulders and move on. So, what do I do, march myself right up front and park it on the floor in front of the front row of seats. To my amazement, we were never asked to move!!
Alton came out shortly after we sat in cowboy boots, brown pants and a button down shirt. My first thought was,"He is much thinner than I imagined!". He did not have a format, he simply answered questions from the audience. I don't like this for two reasons: 1. People rarely know how to ask interesting questions, and 2. Authors tend to pick children. I was really hoping to learn more about the reason he decided to produce a show that is filled with science and history as well as food but instead I learned that he does not eat dessert, his favorite fruit is avocado, he does not disciminate between thick and thin crust pizza and if he were to pick a vegetable for a science experiment, it would be brussel sprouts. Interesting stuff, huh??
He did state that he produces, writes and edits his show...control freak I would say. He failed science in high school and blamed it on the teachers. He decided to do his show because there were no really good educational shows on Food Network and that he does not like it that Guy Fieri gets to do all the traveling shows. Ok, so what did I like about Alton Brown? He let parents with small children get in line to meet him and have their books autographed first and despite the fact that there were literally 500+ people both inside and waiting outside, he said that he would be there until the last person had their book signed. That goes a long way with me. Nothing irritates me more when an author comes and then says he will only sign 100 books or something like that.
My daughter and her friend thoroughly enjoyed the evening and we came home with four very expensive books with Alton's autograph and pictures to boot. Overall, it was an ok evening. Check out a few pictures below.