Alton Brown Won A Peabody Award, But No One Knows Where It Is

Alton Brown was a bit late to the food world. The creator and host of Food Network's "Good Eats" had his sights set on a filmmaking career when he left the University of Georgia in 1985 (via New Georgia Encyclopedia). And he made his goals happen by producing commercials and music videos, including R.E.M.'s 1992 "Losing My Religion" (via Interestingly, he says the latter opportunity was "pivotal" in launching his entry into television.

A fan of 1980s cooking shows — a pastime he picked up in college — Brown had one complaint: The presentation was boring. While he was studying filmmaking, he began to play around with boundary-pushing ways to add excitement to cooking shows. Back then, most of the top programs were straight-laced productions aired by PBS (via Taste of Home) with an occasional break-out personality like Frugal Gourmet's Jeff Smith bringing a bit of ad libbed schtick to the cooking lesson.

"I started thinking, 'What I'd like to do is create a cooking show that combines Julia Child with Monty Python with Mister Wizard.' I actually wrote that down on a piece of paper and set out to do it," Brown told in 2014. "I quit my job, quit my life — it was almost like witness relocation — and went to culinary school in Vermont."

He didn't know it then, but Brown had set course to earn a Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious television industry accolades (via The New York Times).

Alton Brown's Peabody Award is missing

With a degree from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont — and a 10-year career in video production — Brown revisited ideas to bring new energy to cooking shows. He and his first wife DeAnna Collins collaborated on pilot episodes of "Good Eats." They combined Brown's quirky humor with cooking instruction and a little bit of food chemistry — like the fried turkey clip featured during his Peabody Award presentation. The Food Network picked up the show, the first episode aired in July 1999 (via New Georgia Encyclopedia), and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2006, Brown was filming a miniseries, "Feasting on Asphalt," when he won the Peabody Award. While his colleagues attended the presentation ceremony, Brown submitted a video acceptance. For a minute, he shed his mad-scientist-turned-chef persona and noted he was "blown away" and acknowledged that, as a filmmaker first, he had long coveted the prestigious award. "It's extremely humbling to know that you're doing work that's thought of that highly," he said.

And then it went missing. Strangely, that coveted award was still sitting in the back of Brown's car in 2013 when it was stolen. So many questions: When did Brown actually get his hands on the 2006 award? Why was it still sitting in his car seven years later? While Brown acknowledges the award is missing, he hasn't commented on those lingering questions (via Food Network). The award may be gone, but Brown is still an award-winner.