Responding to a tweet on People Food’s Twitter page on Monday, Brown said, “If I want pineapple on my pizza, I’ll by God have it.” And in an interview with PEOPLE on Wednesday, the Iron Chef Gauntlet host elaborated his stance on the hot topic, which was mainly fueled by Iceland president Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson’s suggestion to put a ban on the flavor combo.
“I don’t want people saying what should or should not be on a pizza,” says Brown. “You put anything on a pizza you damn well feel like.”
It’s not so much that the Good Eats host—who to clarify, has no beef with Ramsay as a person (“I’ve never even met him,” he says)—likes fruit on his pizza, it’s just that he’s a little more open-minded. “I happen to be a classicist when it comes to pizza. I like very little stuff. I want some salty meat product, and a bunch of cheese, and maybe one green thing to throw in a little flavor twist like arugula or something,” he says. “But if somebody wants pineapple on their pizza, I don’t think anybody gets to be a Pizza Nazi. You can have whatever you want on it.”
That drama-free attitude was also a factor in his decision to be a part of the reboot of the beloved cooking competition show Iron Chef. Brown says he agreed to sign on after they decided to “move away from anything that smacks at reality television and make it a very aggressive food show, which it is.”
“There’s a lot of [food shows] that are about personalities and all those basic tropes of reality, which is people complaining about each other and blah blah blah blah,” he continued. “I’m really not interested in that.”
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What you can expect is an “extraordinarily food forward” show with intense competition—and no guaranteed winner. If the final cook can’t bring the heat against Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon, well, they’ll go home a loser.
“It’s kind of a risky call because Americans tend to like everything to end with a winner,” he says, “but that’s not the way reality works.”
Iron Chef Gauntlet premieres Sunday, April 16 at 9 p.m. on Food Network.