Go Away With … Ted Allen




By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
April 23 , 2013

Born in Ohio and raised in Indiana, Ted Allen — the host of “Chopped All-Stars,” currently in its third season on the Food Network — remembers his parents dressing him up in smart pants and a blazer, before boarding a flight to visit his grandparents in Orlando. “This was during a time when everyone dressed up to fly,” says Allen, 47. “I remember getting to go into the cockpit on an Eastern Airlines flight, which was very exciting for me as a little kid. I’ve always loved going to visit different places.” Allen resides in New York City. Fans may follow him on Twitter.

Q. What are your favorite kinds of trips?

A. The way I like to travel is with my big group of friends, who’ve been taking vacations together since the ’90s. It all started with a wedding. Some friends had a destination wedding on an island off the coast of Maine. Because there was only one hotel to stay in and we were all 26 years old and poor, the bride and groom rented a huge house for us. They called it a cottage. I would call it a mansion. We had such a great time cooking and eating together that we began to rent big villas in different places. About 15 of us rented a house in Umbria (in Italy) that worked out to about $275 per person for the entire week. It was amazing! The beds were saggy, but it didn’t matter.

Q. What kind of trips do you dislike?

A. I hate cruises. I went on a very nice cruise, but it still seemed superficial and fake. They take you to tourist traps to buy the stuff they want you to.

Q. Which region would you recommend for awesome food?

A. Aix-en-Provence in the summertime. The farmers’ market was in full swing and they had the most beautiful fruit and vegetables and olives that you’ve ever seen. They had seven different kinds of strawberries. I’ve never seen anything like that before. We ate at places where they made tableside tuna tartare.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. We took a lot of car trips when I was really little. This wasn’t my first trip, but I remember we went to Disney World before it actually opened. I was five. We went to see a presentation of what it would look like. They had a giant model of the park set up on a 25-foot-long table. We went back after it opened.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. (Allen’s partner) Barry and I have friends who have weekend houses and we tend to just exploit them by visiting them in the Hamptons. When it gets super steamy in New York City, we like to go to the Catskills. It’s just a couple hours north, but it’s so much cooler ‘cause you’re up in the hills. We go with friends and stay at a former stable that’s cute as heck. It’s a one-bedroom cottage with a deck and the view is amazing.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. An iPad is always with me, because it’s amazing for travel. When I’m working, they’ll put me in first class, but I still like to watch movies on my iPad rather than the airplane screen ‘cause the iPad has such high-quality streaming. Barry always makes fun of me, because I always travel with a roller bag, even for a weekend in the country. The wheels just make it easier. I bring noise-canceling headphones, a couple of granola bars, in case we’re stuck on the tarmac, and about 12 different cables that will let me plug my computer into whatever receptacle I’ll need. I also always bring a little pharmacy with me, especially for overseas trips. I bring Ambien, aspirin, decongestant and some hand wipes.

Q. Do you eat airplane food?

A. I really like to bring my own food on planes. I used to stop at Au Bon Pain and get these little cheese trays for about $10. I’m not sure if they still offer it, but it was perfect. You’d get three kinds of cheese, some crackers, olives and almonds. It was just the perfect thing to tide you over without having to eat an airline’s horrible pasta. And when I travel on my own dime, I usually choose seats where food isn’t even available. So, it’s really smart to make a sandwich with high-quality deli meat and go to town when you’re hungry. Everyone on the plane will be jealous of you.

Q. What are some of your favorite cities?

A. Besides the obvious of London, Paris and Rome? I love Positano (in Italy) in the off season. I also love Tokyo, especially the fish market, which is vast and terrifying and really cool. I had so much fun in Rio de Janeiro. The only bad thing is that it’s not a nighttime walking city. It’s not really safe to do that, but the beaches and food are incredible. Brazilians also are the most gorgeous people anywhere. There’s great food there, too.


© 2013 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (11)

  1. Diana says:

    I love Ted Allen!!

  2. Ted Allen says:
  3. Howie Southworth says:

    terrific interview, Ted. We’ll have to get you on one of these China trips one day. BTW, good things are happening with Sauced, more later on today!

  4. Leanne Savitske Miller says:

    Did not know you were from Indiana! Can’t call you a “Hoosier” since you are a “Boilermaker”, but as a die-hard “Hoosier” I will remain a fan of you nonetheless

  5. Beth Baker Armstrong says:

    As a fan, I love reading this kind of thing, thanks for posting!

  6. Liza Pavelich says:

    I initially read this as “Go Away, Ted Allen” and was about to get really pissed!

  7. Ted Allen says:

    Ha! For a second I thought you were saying I’m overexposed, which is, arguably, kinda true.

  8. Liza Pavelich says:

    In a good way! I was just remarking to my boyfriend during last night’s Chopped DVR marathon that I’m still so excited by all your continued success. Magazines or TV: I’m still a devoted groupie!

  9. Candi Roberts says:

    Great interview! You summed up my view on cruises perfectly…and now I’ve got Aix-en-Provence on my list next time I’m in France. (And you should add Chamonix in the summer to yours!)

  10. Sandy Rosemont McKinney says:

    Dude! I was born in Ohio and raised in Indiana, too.

  11. Eve Moon says:

    I’m with ya on the traveling pharmacy. I carry a few sample size things for many different possible ailments even if I just go somewhere overnight. People laugh and then invariably end up asking for a Tylenol or band-aid.

Join the Discussion

Psssst! Your E-mail address will not be published.

Name *

E-mail *