Food Detectives host Ted Allen

Originally posted at Edible TV on August 19, 2008.

I guess it shows how much of a foodie geek I am that I waited with great anticipation for Food Network’s latest hit Food Detectives with Ted Allen. I was justly rewarded. Food Detectives is very entertaining and host Ted Allen is charming. He’s been a judge on every season of Top Chef (Bravo) and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” But Ted first hit the small screen on the much beloved Queer Eye for Straight Guy.

Today Allen is an award winning food writer and cookbook author, he is the spokesman for Robert Mondavi Private Selection, and now the host of a hit TV show. According to Allen the ratings for Food Detectives have been great. In fact, the show’s popularity is growing so much that actually had their best ratings the same night the world tuned in to watch Michael Phelps make Olympic history.

Recently, I got to speak with Ted. What I had planned to be a professional interview turned into two foodies sharing tips and stories of culinary adventure. Here’s the interview part:

What has the journey from “Queer Eye” to “Food Detectives” been like?

Things have worked out so well. Queer Eye was a hit and ran for a hundred episodes. I’ve been on every season of Top Chef and Iron Chef: America. I’ve been able to maintain a presence doing something I’m passionate about.

How did the idea of Food Detectives come to fruition?

There have been a few similar shows, the most notable being Alton Brown’s show Good Eats and there was the Secret Life of. But we felt that food lore wasn’t being done. On Good Eats, what Alton does so well is he teaches the science. Alton instructs, we explore. We test the science.

When you judge on Iron Chef and the theme ingredient is revealed do you try to figure out what you would make if you were the challenger?

Of course. Definitely. I don’t think I would think of any of the stuff Morimoto comes up with. And I’m blown away by Michael Symon. Barry (Barry Rice, Allen’s partner and an accomplished interior designer) and I have eaten at both of his restaurants in Cleveland and really enjoyed them. All of them are just amazing Mario, Cat, Bobby Flay.

Speaking of Flay, Ted offered this anecdote:

We used to live across the street from Bobby and his wife, Stephanie March. Barry had recently finished redoing our kitchen when we ran into Bobby and Stephanie on the street. They were getting ready to redo theirs so we invited them up to have a look. At one point Barry says, “You two should come over for dinner.”

I’m thinking, “there’s no way I’m cooking dinner for Bobby Flay.”

One last question, how does one become a judge on Iron Chef?

(Laughter) Get to know the guy who chooses them.

Photo courtesy of about.com.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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