Alton Brown, the Food Network’s charismatic, cleverly comedic, culinary commentator and author “flipped the switch” today to light the world famous tower lights in orange and yellow in recognition of the James Beard Foundation’s 25th Anniversary.

James Beard President, Susan Ungaro, was also on hand and discussed the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to nurturing America’s culinary heritage.

1 Alton Brown Lights Up The Empire State Building For James Beard Foundation

Credit: Empire State Building

The bright orange and yellow lights that will be seen beaming from the Empire State building hold a special significance to the James Beard Foundation. When James Beard resided in the beard house the walls were painted orange, which he used to claim was “like living in a bowl of tomato soup.” Yellow represents pineapple, a symbol of hospitality and a central theme in the Beard House adornment during the JBF’s early years. Guests are currently welcomed to the Beard House by a framed piece of the old pineapple wallpaper that now hangs in the vestibule.

Most will agree that Alton is talented, with his vast food knowledge and quick wit, original and entertaining. But, lest we think it comes easy, it doesn’t. According to Brown, the key to his success is that he studies all the time and is always learning about and honing his craft.

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– Deb Gordon (with additional editorial by E.J. Judge)

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