Ted Allen: TV’s Epicurean par Excellence

Many famous people from Carmel, Indiana decorate the list of Hoosiers in the news. Among them, no name is presently more immediately recognizable than that of Ted Allen, popular television host on the Food Network.

Though Allen was born in 1965 in Columbus Ohio, he was raised in Carmel, an upscale suburb just north of Indianapolis, in Central Indiana. He presently lives in New York.

Allen took his Purdue University degree in psychology in 1987, after which he worked in Lafayette, Indiana as a copy editor for the Journal & Courier. Subsequently, he got a Master of Arts degree in journalism from New York University, and then moved to Chicago to work as a reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers.

It was at that juncture that Ted Allen began what was to blossom into a full-fledged career in restaurant and food criticism, as a part of a Lerner Newspapers team called “The Famished Four.” He quickly moved on to freelance for Chicago magazine, where most often his subjects had to do with the world of culinary arts.

In 1997, Allen began a prolific period of contributions to Esquire, including co-writing “Things a Man Should Know,” a widely-read Esquire series. Though now a superstar on television’s Food Network, Allen continues to this day to contribute the occasional piece to the prestigious magazine, along with Bon Appetit and Epicurious.com.

Meet the “Fab Five,” including Ted Allen, from TV’s hit reality show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in this video from the Ellen DeGeneres Show.


Allen’s break in television came in 2003, when he was cast as the wine and food expert of Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning reality series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The next year, he co-authored a book called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab Five’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better and Living Better. The book became a New York Times Best Seller. Ted Allen’s cookbook, The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes, features all-natural, easy-to-make recipes.

Allen made frequent television appearances as a judge on Iron Chef America and top Chef, a reality show on the Bravo network. He also hosted a PBS documentary called Uncorked: Wine Made Simple. These days, Ted Allen is a megastar Emmy Award-winning host of The Food Network’s Food Detectives and Chopped, an immensely successful game-show and reality-style competition for chefs.

A lesser-known facet of Ted Allen’s life is his ongoing work as a spokesperson for Robert Mondavi Wines. He shares his knowledge and advice in that capacity on the erudite Robert Mondavi Discover Wine website.

In this video, Ted Allen talks about the strangest dishes he ever had to eat as a judge on Iron Chef America.


Just barely into middle-age, Ted Allen is only now hitting his stride. He will undoubtedly continue entertaining his many fans for decades to come.

See the official Ted Allen website
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