“Thanksgiving is that unique American holiday when everybody in the country suddenly thinks they have to serve 27 courses to 87 people,” Ted Allen told us recently. “And that’s hard to do, especially the cleanup, but also the prep.” Get nine of his best tips for hosting a memorable turkey day feast.
Tag: Ted Allen
We all know Ted Allen as the stern host of Chopped, and now Chopped Junior, and as a veritable wealth of culinary knowledge. But there’s another side to the man. Did you know he likes gardening in his spare time or that he’s big into rock music? Find out more about the host behind the scenes and at home.
1. “Ironically, when you consider where I work, I’m very much a slow-food guy. … I don’t even want to cook food that’s fast. I like to watch flavor develop. I spend hours in the kitchen any chance I get.”
You’ve seen him host every single episode of Chopped and Chopped Junior, and he’s even flexed his cooking chops in a few After Hours appearances alongside the Chopped judges, but there’s a lot you don’t know about Ted Allen. Here’s your chance to get to know the man who unceremoniously sends competitors to the chopping block.
Before hosting Chopped, Ted Allen served as a regular judge on Iron Chef America. He’s won an Emmy Award for his work on Bravo’s Queer Eye as the food and wine specialist. As the host of Chopped, he’s won the James Beard Foundation Award for outstanding host. He’s written two cookbooks and has contributed to Esquire magazine (for which he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award), Bon Appétit and Food Network Magazine. But did you know there’s almost no food Ted won’t try, and that cheese is his absolute favorite? He’s also secretly wished he could be the lead singer of a rock band. Find out which one, and get more interesting tidbits about this multifaceted host with the most.
What makes Chopped such a successful competition show, one that, to this day, still excites fans and keeps unsuspecting chefs on their toes? According to host Ted Allen, a number of factors add up to make Chopped great television, but at the heart of it is an unyielding passion for food that’s on display every time a chef opens a basket of mystery ingredients. Whether you watch Chopped, Chopped Junior or the tournaments (Champions, All-Stars, Grill Masters or Teens), the format is the same: There are three rounds of mystery baskets, and each chef has only so much time to cook the ingredients. What changes are the chefs, who each bring their stories to the kitchen and cook with boundless energy and deep passion that emanates in their plates. That’s what makes Chopped one of the best food competition shows on TV.
FN dish caught up with the indomitable host to chat about what makes the show so special, what goes into preparing for an episode, what’s changed over the many seasons — because he’s been there since its inception — and what would happen if he suddenly had to compete. Hint: Ted characterizes his skills as the complete opposite of the competitors’ abilities. Find out what he had to say about the long-running series and more.
Fresh off the chopping block, Ted Allen joined the ranks of eviliciousness tonight when he stopped by for his first-ever turn as a Cutthroat Kitchen guest judge. The Chopped judge is used to watching chef competitors try their hands at downright oddball ingredients in their mystery baskets, but on Cutthroat Kitchen, he had no knowledge of chefs’ struggles with sabotages — until he experienced them for himself on the After-Show.
Alton Brown and Ted faced off in prepping — what else but — a chopped salad, which was the Round 1 dish of the day. And in true evilicious fashion, they could use only garden tools for their utensils. “Oh, no. Oh, no,” Ted said as he learned of the sabotage. He ultimately chose to work with the weed whacker in his mini battle with Alton, who was left to use a tiller to prep his salad. “Look at that. That’s gorgeous,” Ted proclaimed after successfully shredding lettuce with the weed whacker, though he found out later that the device “doesn’t work as well on the cucumber.” He admitted, “I don’t think I’m going to get an A+ in weed-whacker knife skills on that one.” Though Alton appeared to struggle a bit when it came time to chop a red pepper, he managed to serve a completed salad to a Bob, all while Ted was still working his way through ingredients.
When Kids Face the Chopping Block: Ted Allen on the Astonishing Maturity of Chopped Junior Competitorsby Joseph Erdos in Shows, October 11th, 2015
“I’m over-the-moon excited with how fun this series is,” said Ted Allen when we chatted on the set of the new kids’ competition show, Chopped Junior, premiering on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 8|7c. Ted hosts the series, in which 10- to 14 -year-olds compete in a very mature arena. The Chopped set may be decked out in primary colors, but the challenge is the same: Transform a set of basket ingredients into a cohesive dish that’s flavorful and well-presented. But these kids, unlike most, can do just that — they’re halfway to being adults when it comes to knowing food.
“These are kids who really love to cook, who have been inculcated with the values of chefs,” said Ted, adding that just like professional chefs, the kid competitors want to cook real, fresh, unprocessed foods. Give them a frozen pizza bite, Ted gave as an example, and they will “lecture you about the ingredients that are in processed foods.” These kids know their stuff, whether it’s how to use a unique ingredient like lemongrass or how to dice an onion like a pro. And Ted was floored by the kids’ mastery of tastes. “They know that if something’s too sweet, you have to balance it with something acidic, like lemon juice or lime juice or vinegar. They like vinegar. They like things that are bitter.” Is there anything that these kids are bad at?
There’s something unique about watching kids cook, witnessing their raw talent and passion for food. Once their spark is lit, there’s no putting it out, and it’s a joy to see. That’s exactly what fans can expect from Season 2 of Chopped Teen Tournament, premiering Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 10|9c. The kids taking on the five-part competition are extremely talented and “inspiring,” as Chopped host Ted Allen pointed out in a recent interview with FN Dish.
“The latest tournament is the best we’ve done yet, thanks to the kids,” said Ted of the budding chefs, calling them “the real stars of Chopped.”
For the second time in the show’s history, Chopped headed out of the studio and into the great outdoors for Grill Masters. The cast traded in their dress shoes and city blacks for boots and overalls — well, almost! Production moved the entire crew to Queens County Farm on the outskirts of New York City to tape the special grilling tournament, premiering July 14 at 10|9c. FN Dish caught up with host Ted Allen to chat about the challenges the location posed as well as the challenges the competitors will face.
“We’re a studio show, for the most part, and you forget how easy you have it shooting indoors,” says Ted, referring to the fact that Chopped tapes at Food Network headquarters in New York City, which is a whole lot comfier than roughing it in the Tucson desert like the cast and crew did for the previous Grill Masters season — just think sand everywhere. For Season 2 everything still had to happen outdoors, and even though a more convenient location was chosen, it didn’t mean it would be that much easier — there was still the chance of inclement weather, among other uncontrollable factors.
All-Star Academy is Food Network’s new show that brings out the best in home cooks in order to find the single most-talented cook in the nation. That person will walk away with the $50,000 grand prize. Led by one of four mentors, the home cooks have the chance to be molded into some fierce competition, and host Ted Allen has a bird’s-eye view of it all, from the action unfolding on set to the drama brewing behind the scenes. He recently caught up with FN Dish to reveal what viewers can except from the show, premiering on Sunday, March 1 at 9|8c.
Ted also dished on mentors Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon, revealing their strengths and weaknesses in competition.