I like this article on Alton Brown, of Food Network’s Iron Chef and Good Eats. I share the same beliefs and hold my faith in the same importance as he does and it’s nice to see someone speak so clearly and honestly.
I know you are a born-again Christian, though I don’t know if that is a term you use.
Yeah, “born-again” is kind of an odd term because that’s like saying a see-through window. But yes, I am a Christian.
How does your faith and religion play into your professional life?
I hope everything. One of the things I pray for on a daily basis is that whatever God wants me to be doing, it’s reflected through my actions, how I deal with other people, the way I do my job. And I hope I do it in a way that pleases Him. Like today, I’m in an eleven-hour shoot-day where I’m the writer, the executive producer, the host, and the director. It’s a lot of stress. Tempers can flare. Words can be said. So there’s one whole level on a day-to-day basis of just trying to act the best one can.
As far as other decisions, my wife runs the company. We try not to make any big decisions about the direction of this company or my career without praying about it. We try to listen to what God says to us pretty hard and we say no to a lot of things because of that. We’re not rich and that’s because if we don’t get a clear feeling for what we ought to be doing, we don’t do it. We turn down endorsements. We say no to things. You know, none of this is mine. For some reason I am being trusted with it and I take the stewardship of it really, really seriously.
Do you find the Food Network world and culinary world is an awkward place to bring up your faith?
I’m not a spooky snake handler because I live in Georgia and I’m Christian, that I believe in the Bible, that I travel with the Bible, that I read the Bible everyday. I’m still me. I’m still a guy doing a job. I find, actually, that people ask me a lot about it. I don’t hit people over the head with the Bible. I don’t speak in tongues. But I will tell you yes, we live in an extremely materialistic society. Food people, I think, tend to be more spiritual, but it is very tough to be in media.
When I go to New York and I tell people I am going to church tomorrow, people take a couple of steps back from me. What I’ve learned to do is go ahead and take two steps forward. But yeah it’s tough, and there have been times when I’ve broken out in a sweat a little. I still feel a funny little tinge in my stomach when I’m out to dinner with my wife and daughter in New York. We’ll go to dinner and we’ll be sitting around the table and we’ll say Grace. You know what? People are going to stare at you. I used to feel really self-conscious. But I’ve gotten to a point where I think, nah, I’m not going to feel bad about that. I’m not going to apologize about that. But it is interesting. It’s never the food part of it, it’s the media part.