Alton Brown might make your nonna cry every time he puts pasta in cold water, but he’s still the most influential famous foodie on Twitter. The Good Eats creator was recently honored by social intelligence company Brandwatch, which analyzed 800 million tweets to pinpoint which profiles matter most.
Instead of solely relying on who has the most followers — that’s Justin Bieber and Katy Perry — techies analyzed retweets, mentions, replies, and other elements of audience engagement pertaining to 19 niche audiences including those who tweet about soccer, medical, and food topics.
Brown currently has 4.5 million followers on Twitter and can garner anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousand likes per tweet. The 55-year-old first gained popularity on the platform when he started posting quirky “analog tweets,” in 2012. To this day, instead of replying to messages directly on Twitter, Brown writes responses on Post-it notes, sticks them to his computer screen, snaps a photo, and uploads it to the web.
“I use Post-its for the same reason the Joker uses a knife. #MorePersonal,” the Cutthroat Kitchen host revealed.
Nine other famous people made the list for having the most influence on Twitter’s foodie group – two of which aren’t even professionals in the field. This includes Butter executive chef Alex Guarnaschelli, The Cook’s Cook editor-in-chief Denis Landis, Iron Chef America’s Bobby Flay, The Chew host Michael Symon, Masterchef’s Gordon Ramsay, Spanish Masterchef judge Jordi Cruz Mas, Maroon 5 front-man and The Voice judge Adam Levine, Ace of Cakes baker Duff Goldman, and actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who played Ritchie Valens in the 1987 hit film La Bamba.
Neither Levine nor Phillips has tweeted about food lately, but at-home and professional chefs, bakers, and eaters enjoy music and movies too, right?
As for Brown, his Twitter page is chock-full of food quips, tips, and tricks. One of our favorite tweets is this one, in which he shares the ultimate hack for juicing a watermelon in less than one minute.
Last year, the Georgia native also used Twitter to crowdsource information about where he might try chicken wings in Buffalo, New York, where the dish was born. Tons of people responded to the query, including Brown’s Iron Chef colleague Geoffrey Zakarian, who said, “The original anchor bar downtown.” Others suggested Gabriel’s Gate, Duff’s, Bar Bill, and more, but none of it impressed Brown much.
After his trip to the 716, the Food Network star appeared on an episode of Hot Ones to taste-test Buffalo wings. During the 25-minute segment, he made a controversial assertion about his trip. “Once a region believes it’s got the lock on something, the quality almost immediately starts to go downhill,” he stated. “I'm sorry. If you really want great Buffalo chicken wings, you don't go to frickin’ Buffalo."
Looks like the City of Angels is still in good standing, though. Last year, Brown traveled to different parts of the U.S. in search of the best local eats. On Instagram — along with a photo collage of a Rhubarb Aperol Spritzer, Feta Salad, and Jeweled Candy Rice from Kismet on Hollywood Boulevard — he wrote: “More evidence that LA is the top food town in America right now.”
He may be one of the most highly regarded names in modern food history, but Alton Brown wasn’t always showcasing his expertise in the kitchen. The Food Network star actually used to work behind the camera, and you’ll never guess whose music video he worked on.