Good Eats was a cooking show unlike any one that’s come before or since, and it made a culinary superstar out of its creator, writer, and host, Alton Brown. This smart and quirky Food Network staple aired for a whopping 249 episodes between 1999 and 2011, and in each episode Brown tackled one dish, ingredient, process, or kitchen tool, from yogurt to macaroni and cheese, from beef jerky to marshmallows, from Dutch ovens to food preservation, and presented it in a way that the average home cook could understand and appreciate. But even if you’ve seen every episode and can thank Brown for your understanding of why meat needs to rest before it’s sliced or why exactly cast iron needs to be seasoned, we bet there are some things you didn’t know about this seminal show, which can now be watched in syndication nightly on Cooking Channel.
It Had Three Main Inspirations
Brown’s initial idea for the show combined three inspiration pillars: Julia Child, Mr. Wizard, and Monty Python.
The Pilots Were Shot on Film
Very few cooking shows were shot on film as opposed to tape, and a clip of the show on film company Kodak’s website was the first thing to catch Food Network’s eye. The two pilot episodes were filmed in the kitchen of producer Sarah Burmeister, who removed the backs of her ovens and refrigerator to create the show’s signature effect.
It Premiered as Part of a Network “Re-Launch”
Food Network was going through a transition from the old guard to the new in 1999, and Good Eats premiered alongside Iron Chef and the network debuts of Ming Tsai, Tyler Florence, and Bobby Flay.
It Was the First Cooking Show to Utilize ‘Dutch Angles’
Can you think of any other cooking show in which the camera is occasionally tilted to one side, so everything in the frame is crooked? That’s a camera shot called a Dutch angle, and neither can we.
Only One Episode Was Filmed in Brown’s Home kitchen
The only episode filmed in Brown’s actual kitchen was the first episode of season nine, “Give Peas a Chance,” which was coincidentally the first episode filmed in high-definition. Seasons one through four were filmed in Burmeister’s kitchen, season five was filmed in the kitchen of line producer Dana Popoff and Director of Photography Marion Laney, and seasons seven through 14 were filmed on a soundstage.
The Theme Music Was Inspired by the Soundtrack to ‘Get Shorty’
You can find the movie’s title sequence here; the resemblance is definitely noticeable. New music was composed for each episode by Patrick Belden, an old acquaintance of Brown’s.
Several of Brown’s Family Members Appeared on the Show
Brown’s mother had a walk-on role, his daughter appeared in several episodes, and his grandmother co-hosted the biscuit episode. Brown’s wife, DeAnna, never appeared in an episode.
Brown’s Chiropractor Played a Prominent Role
The actress cast to play kitchen equipment specialist “W” also happened to be a licensed chiropractor, so Brown took advantage of that fact.
You Might Watch the Dungeon Master in Another Show
The “dungeon master” character was played by Lucky Yates, who currently voices Dr. Krieger on FX’s Archer.
Each Episode Was Completely Scripted
While it might appear as if some dialogue was delivered off the cuff, in fact each episode was completely scripted, Brown told Larry King. Each episode required up to 600 pages of research, and was shot in movie format, with one camera, one take at a time.