I’m not a “foodie.” I DO like food. I like going to restaurants too. That’s pretty much where it ends though. I’ve never been one for cooking shows either, like Alton Brown’s Good Eats on the Food Network. I’m also skeptical of food “movements.” I like to approach these things the way my grandfather would’ve. He’d see farm-to-table and GMO activism as talking points rooted in common sense, nothing more. They’re sound practices and concepts sometimes done a disservice by trend riders.
That being said; maybe the Alton Brown brand is designed to appeal to an entirely different demo than mine. But I know good pod, and there was a lot of hype around Brown’s debut (The Alton Browncast) on the Nerdist network. I eagerly tackled episode one and episode two the other day, and a few things stood out to me.
Like most of Nerdist’s offerings this show has solid production value. Clean editing and good sound quality. But it’s only a few episodes in — and super wet behind the ears. So take my criticisms with a grain of salt.
Brown’s a talker. Lots of energy with this one. It can even be a bit jarring to those unfamiliar with his machine-gun pace.
I would skip the food news segment at the beginning of episode one if I were you. It’s just too fast and too preachy for me, but again, I don’t think I’m Brown’s intended audience. Plus, I don’t spend enough time thinking about trans fats or genetically-modified whosy whatsits to follow.
The show really picks up with the guest segments, though. He starts it off with Sandy Waddell, a cheese dot purveyor from Sparta Georgia, who I found to be charming. Her gentle commentary provided some much needed balance.
Bobby Flay was up next in episode two, and he was as expected — very Bobby Flay. The two Food Network all stars talked horses (Flay’s latest endeavor) and put the dining chatter on the back burner.
Then there was the listener call-in segment. Having worked the phones for a live radio program, I know what a logistical nightmare caller-generated content can be. These calls were presumably screened, and the best were hand-picked in post, but it still felt like filler. There were a few decent ones, but in my experience, they don’t work outside of terrestrial radio. Let’s leave “long time, first times” to the Zoo Crew. Podcasts work better without going to the phones.
Verdict: If you like Brown, you’ll like the podcast. But those of us unacquainted with this culinary superstar may find it a bit undercooked.