Questions of Taste: Ted Allen

Written by | Food, HIV

When we talk to people we love, we want to know what things they’re loving. This time, Ted Allen answers our Questions of Taste.

We spoke with Ted in April on the occasion of Dining Out for Life, an annual food lover’s HIV/AIDS fundraiser that that was held on April 30.

photo by Peter Ross

METROSOURCE: Where did your last great meal come from?

TED ALLEN: Actually, it was last night. Hudson Clearwater.

I love that place! Was their garden open?

The door was open, but it was a little cool to eat out there. It’s the first time I ate there. I went with my boss from the Food Network, Bob Tuschman, and we both had a lovely meal. They have a very cute staff, by the way, but the food was delicious and the room is charming.

What music artists do you have in rotation right now?

I’m really digging The New Pornographers these days. I just saw them a couple months ago at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I follow them on Twitter, and I tweeted about how excited I was to go to this show and got an answer from their drummer, who’s a fan of Chopped. It turns out that A.C. Newman, the lead singer of the group, is also a Chopped fan, and I got to go backstage. How cool is that?

I love it when celebrities fangirl over other celebrities.

Me too! Over the years, we’ve had various celebrities cook on Chopped who had turned out to be fans. We’ve had the race car driver Danica Patrick, Carnie Wilson. We just had the guitar player— Actually, I shouldn’t tell you that yet because it hasn’t aired.


I can’t! But we’ve had Greg Louganis, Johnny Weir. All of those people are fans of the show. You put something out there and you have no idea who could be watching.

What’s your drink?

Usually it’s something with gin. I really love Negronis — I like bitter flavors, and the Campari is a nice bitter orange.

That’s a hard one to make; it’s easy to screw it up.

True. And it’s an acquired taste. Some people think it tastes like cough syrup.

What are you reading these days?

I just read Michael Ruhlman’s book The Soul of a Chef. It came out in 2001, but I hadn’t read it before. I learned some interesting things about Michael Symon, Food Network chef and a chef in Cleveland.

I’m also reading Patti Smith’s book Just Kids. [She and Robert Mapplethorpe] lived in a building near my house, right by Pratt.

I thought they lived in the Village.

Eventually they did, but when they were really poor, they lived in a little brick row house close to Myrtle Avenue.

What else is on your radar right now that you want people to know about?

What’s really on my radar right now is the finale of All-Star Academy. It’s a new competition show I’m hosting that features Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, Michael Symon, and a bunch of home cooks (who do have some skill). The expert chefs are mentoring the home cooks on how to do competitive cooking.

It’s cool because you’ve seen the experts cook before; what you haven’t heard is how they strategize. When they try to make amateurs perform on their behalf, they have to spell out why they do something: why you cut a piece off a leg of lamb and make a marinade for it; why you pound something flat because it’s a tough cut. So you get a window into the strategy.

Last modified: January 18, 2018