This Georgia-bred food star debuted his newest TV show, Cutthroat Kitchen, on the Food Network this fall. And while we’re loving Alton’s new reality cooking show, he already has all our editors abuzz over his new bow tie collaboration made with dapper menswear line hook + Albert.
We chatted with Alton to get the dish on his culinary beginnings and what it takes to wear his signature accessory.
What was your favorite food as a child? “Without a question my grandmother’s biscuits. They eluded me for years. I finally sat down to watch her make them and noticed that because of her arthritis, she didn’t bend her fingers when she kneaded the dough. That was the detail I had missed.”
When did you learn to cook?
“I learned to cook in college to get girls. I noticed that if you offer to cook for a girl that would usually say no to a date, she’d say yes.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I wanted to be an astronaut like every other little boy. Then I wanted to be a rock star. But who didn’t?.”
What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
“I’m addicted to my panini press and cook everything in it. If you told me, ‘Alton, I want you to make me shrimp and grits.’ I’d grill the shrimp on it because I can cook it from both sides and the grooves in the press allows excess moisture and steam out. I can’t think of anything I don’t cook in it.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?
“Boiled peanuts. I can’t walk or drive by a boiled peanut stand without stopping. Even if I’m not hungry and don’t want to get out of my car, I will for boiled peanuts.”
What’s your go-to dish for the Holiday?
“Every year I prepare my five-bone standing rib roast that I massage with kosher salt and crushed black peppercorns, then slow roast.”
Tell us about the bow ties you made with hook + Albert.
“I pulled fabrics that reminded me of my favorite food and drinks. I have a tie called I’ll Take a Manhattan because a Manhattan is one of my favorite cocktails. The Salmon Hunter is one of my favorite bow ties with the salmon-colored plaid on one side and camouflage on the other.
Who is your style icon?
“Humphrey Bogart sparked my bow tie fascination. When I watched Casablanca, I wanted a white dinner jacket and black bow tie so I could be him.”
Does it take a certain personality to pull off a bow tie?
“It takes a particular attitude. In the South, that attitude is built into us. People tell me, ‘I don’t think I can wear a bow tie.’ You know how you wear a bow tie? You wear a bow tie.'”
Do you favor a bow on your beau?