Considering all his appearances on culinary TV shows, you might be surprised to know that Ted Allen isn’t actually a chef. But don’t be mistaken: The Chopped host still knows a helluva lot about food.
For starters, Ted was a restaurant critic at Chicago magazine before joining Esquire magazine in 1997 and writing about food and dining for the magazine for the next two decades. And then came one of his biggest claims to fame….
Ted was the O.G. foodie on ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.’
Ted became a household name in 2003 when he joined the “Fab Five” of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Bravo’s precursor to the Netflix reality series Queer Eye.
In fact, the James Beard Foundation Award winner is the one who got Queer Eye foodie Antoni Porowski a job on the Netflix reboot. They met at a cookbook signing in 2012, and Antoni worked as Ted’s personal assistant for three years. As of 2018, they lived across the street from one another in Brooklyn, Ted told Vanity Fair.
“He’s an excellent cook and taught me a lot,” Ted said of Antoni. “Food is his passion. … A lot of the stuff he does is what I call comfort-food bliss. … He’s a cook with a point of view, and I appreciate that.”
You won’t catch Ted competing on ‘Chopped.’
Ted opened up about his cooking chops in a 2016 Eater interview in which he mulled over the prospect of being a contestant on a food competition show.
“The thing is, I’m not a professional chef, so I’d be happy to compete against people who are kind of at my level, but it would have to be like, you know, home cooks,” he said. “The home cook edition of whatever.”
Ted also revealed that he doesn’t watch any of the other food competition shows — but only because he’s so “steeped in that life all the time” in his work. “People have asked all the time when I’m going to cook, when I am ever going to cook on Chopped,” he said. “I’m not going to.”
He doesn’t feel guilty about food.
In a 2016 Q&A with Food Network’s FN Dish, Ted said that he’s not a food snob but that he won't eat much of anything that’s not quality food. “The more time that goes by, if something isn’t good, if the cooking isn’t good, then I just take a few bites and I stop,” he said. “And if something is good, I’ll stuff my face. I don’t really eat a giant volume of food unless something’s really good.”
And guilty pleasures? This former Top Chef judge has none. “This may be one of my moral failings, but I don’t feel guilty about much,” he told the site. “I don’t have much time to worry about feeling guilty.
"I’m not a giant overeater. … I had a birthday recently that produced an enormous amount of cheese in my house, and for two days … I had nothing but cheese and crackers for lunch. So good. I don’t feel guilty about food. I don’t need to."