By J.M. HIRSCH
NEW YORK -- Alton Brown's next cookbook may be more like "The Matrix" than Food Network.
That's because the host of the network's "Iron Chef America" says he's done with old-school publishing and wants to focus instead on innovative e-books.
"I want to go where nobody has gone before," Brown said Saturday during an interview at the New York City Wine and Food Festival. "I want to change the way we deal with information in the kitchen."
He says his just-released book, "Good Eats 3," will be his last traditional cookbook. Future books – each of which will have 25 recipes – will be immersive, highly interactive blends of text, photos and video.
And this isn't your average cooking demo video. Alton says the videos are being shot using a circle of 40 cameras that capture the action from all angles. Viewers then will be able to pan around the scene, stopping and watching it from any angle.
He likened the experience to the so-called stop-motion special effects used in the science-fiction movie "The Matrix," in which the action seemed to freeze while the camera angle rotated.
Brown hopes future innovations will include kitchen tools that connect wirelessly to tablet computers, allowing the recipes to automatically adapt to a user's ingredients or cooking conditions.
"We're trying to figure out how to reinvent information flow, to break out of recipes," he says. "Cooking is a linear process, but that doesn't mean the information has to be delivered in a linear way."