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Tuesday, July 29

Food Network Addict Interview: Ted Allen

Ted Allen rose to fame as the food and wine expert on the critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye—a truly groundbreaking show. I went out and bought a French Press the next day after seeing Ted demonstrate one in an early episode.

Ted is also a favorite on the popular food competition series Iron Chef America (Food Network) and Top Chef (Bravo), having increased his appearances on both shows in every season on both shows.

But Ted's new Food Network show, Food Detectives, puts Ted in the hosting chair on this non-competition based show that tests out the most puzzling food mysteries and explains the history behind interesting foods.

I spoke with Ted yesterday by phone. Being from Illinois and having spent a great deal of time stranded at Chicago's airports, it seemed fitting that Ted—also a onetime Chicago resident—was stuck in Chicago due to weather.


Food Network Addict: Part of doing this blog involves reading every article out there about everyone on Food Network, so I already know what your show is all about… so, I’m going to try and ask you some different questions that you haven’t heard a hundred times already.
Ted Allen: Okay

For one, did you know TedAllen.com goes to a babysitting website?
There’s a funny story about that. The man who owns TedAllen.com bought that website for his young son Teddy. Two year olds don’t need websites. When my book came out, the publisher accidentally put TedAllen.com in the book jacket, so I tried being nice and sending the site’s owner an email explaining the accident with the book and offering to buy the website. That didn’t work. Then, I sent him an autographed copy of my book. He still owns the .com. If you Google me, you can find my website (TedAllen.net).

For the less informed readers out there, can you tell me a little about your show Food Detectives?
I explore food myths and food legends to find out the truth behind them. My cast of “henchmen” from Popular Science--that we call the Food Techs--help me test them out. For example, to figure out what really cools your mouth off after eating spicy food, I’ll make my henchmen eat a bunch of hot habanero salsa and try a bunch of different things to see which one really cools their mouth down.

You've been in talks with Food Network for a few years about finding a show. How did this one come about?
I didn’t really want to do a cooking show, since there are already a number of great ones out there. I’d prefer to watch Barefoot Contessa than try and make a better one... and I probably wouldn't. I’ve wanted to do a show that had humor and involved pop culture.

I caught a bit of the show's sneak peek Sunday night. Were you able to watch?
Well, the good thing about being stranded in Chicago and having lived here is that I still have a lot of friends in the area, so we all got together and watched it. It was my first time seeing it in HD, which is always terrifying. My makeup artist is wonderful, though.

Any Chicago food myths you’ll be tackling?
I think the first thing you think of when you say "food" and "Chicago" is deep dish pizza. I suppose the myth would be is deep dish any good. I tend to prefer crispy crust.

A lot of us have been stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. What about the myth that it’s impossible to get a decent meal in an airport?
Wolfgang Puck actually has a number of restaurants in airports [including O'Hare]. It’s not like you’re sitting at Spago, but if he owns the place you know the food is going to be good.

There’s also an “interactive” element to Food Detectives in which viewers are able to upload videos with their own food questions and myths. Any of those get tested out yet?
We have shot several, actually. One was about whether celery actually has negative calories. Another guy wanted to know why his ice is always cloudy. It turns out, it’s incredibly hard to get crystal clear ice… and not worth it. [You have to use distilled water and boil it twice.]

Some of the myths you tackle can get kind of, umm, gross… for lack of a better word. Think you’d ever get your Queer Eye costars like Carson or Jai to eat garlic for days or gorge on beans just to experiment on them?
Carson was actually fine getting into gross situations, so probably.

You’re a very busy guy—doing this show plus episodes of Iron Chef and Top Chef, plus you do a lot of events for Robert Mondavi and food festivals around the nation and write for Esquire and other publications. How will you fit it all in if Food Detectives takes off?
I’ve wanted to find a show of my own for a while, so [Food Detectives] is what I'm focusing on now, as much as I love judging the other shows. We'll just have to see how the production schedules look when the time comes.

Unlike judging a reality show, I actually have to learn lines now... it’s a lot more work, but I'm enjoying it.

Food Detectives premieres tonight at 9pm ET on Food Network.


Thanks so much to Ted for talking to me, and to Lisa for setting it up! It was great talking to Ted again after our first meeting at the Versace Mansion back in February. Good times.

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At 7/29/2008 11:22 AM , Blogger Amanda said...

Great interview. He seems like a cool guy and I enjoyed the preview episode of ''Food Detectives''. Looking forward to the premiere tonight!!

At 7/29/2008 11:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This show is like "Good Eats" for idiots. It's way too dumbed-down. Ridiculous, childish, corny, and extremely disappointing.

At 7/29/2008 11:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice interview!

At 7/29/2008 12:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This show is like "Good Eats" for idiots. It's way too dumbed-down. Ridiculous, childish, corny, and extremely disappointing.

11:26 AM"

Once again, you're an idiot (and I say once again because you probably are an idiot) they are 2 totally different shows. FOOD DETECTIVES is about food myths/legends and proving them or debunking them (along the lines of Discovery's MYTH BUSTERS) and GOOD EATS is about cooking/food facts and knowledge. Get with the program.

At 7/29/2008 12:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, get with the program, idiot.

At 7/29/2008 12:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah idiot!

At 7/29/2008 12:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's more Ham on the Street, kind of. I think HOTS did the "what's the best way to cool down after a hot chili pepper" segment.

At 7/29/2008 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Eats did it before HOTS, and the "idiot" is right. Alton got shafted.

At 7/29/2008 1:12 PM , Anonymous Erik H. said...

First off, that person above it an IDIOT! Secondly, this show's title reminds me a bit too much of "The Hungry Dectective" (which I enjoyed). Maybe I'm just an idiot. I caught the premiere, though. Pretty good.

At 7/29/2008 1:15 PM , Anonymous John said...

Come on folks. Idiots are rarely right. Good Eats is on at the ever popular 8 o'clock hour (he bumped Emeril from that time slot) so Alton is not suffering at all-he's rockin' & rollin' along with his funkalicious show. Again, 2 TOTALLY different shows. Sheesh...

At 7/29/2008 1:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This show IS a Good Eats knock off! And don't call him/her an "idiot"! That's disrespectful! No wonder I don't post here more often! People say the rudest things to each other! Grow up!

At 7/29/2008 1:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

DUH! re: They are two totally different shows. "Good Eats" explains the science behind things, so does this show. Geesh people, calm the f down. And yes, this show is filmed like it's for children, clearly it must be reaching its target audience since the fools shouting "idiot" sound like bratty adolescents. If you can't see the similarities between the two shows, perhaps you should be careful about being so cavalier with the word "idiot".

This show could be so much better but no, it's a piece of crap because it speaks to people like they're dumb. It would go over remarkably well on PBS during their daytime lineup for kids aged 7 and under or if FN ever gets some kids cooking shows. Otherwise, it's too corny, dumbed-down and ridiculous to appeal to adults on a large scale. The fact the people had to break out with insults shows how immature they are and is no reflection of someone pointing out the obvious about the show being an "idiot".

Does anyone really think this show appeals to anyone on an intellectual level? Can you watch something that looks like it was written for a young child? It's far too simplistic and no, things need not be elevated to a "Lisa level" but it does need to speak to people on a bit of a higher level. A good majority of these "myths" have been done on other shows, some on FN, some not.

How does someone pointing out the shows simplicity and dummy-ease speak make them an "idiot"? Oh yeah, the comparison was above the heads of those responding. Well, there you have it. And this is why we are over-saturated with the Neely's, Sandra Lee, Rachael Ray, Guy FERRY (his REAL name) and soon, Aaron McCargo Jr.

At 7/29/2008 2:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my! I think the two people who posted idiot were just kidding! Sensitive much?

At 7/29/2008 3:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

they are retooling too many of the same shows on FN. I can live without this one as well as the rest.

Why do they keep paying people to travel around the country trying food??

How many shows are we going to get with people doing this?? Rachael, Giada, Deen boys, the annoying black couple now... gee, who else did I miss.....

Can you say Redundant????
FEH!! oh yeah and

At 7/29/2008 4:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yeah, get with the program, idiot."

"nce again, you're an idiot (and I say once again because you probably are an idiot)"

"Oh my! I think the two people who posted idiot were just kidding! Sensitive much?"

Riiiiight, I am being too sensitive.....PSSSH! I just read what these peeps write. They sound like jerks, so I called them out on it! Peace....

At 7/29/2008 4:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 7/29/2008 4:39 PM , Anonymous Alec Smart said...

WHAT ?? Guy Fieri is actually Guy FERRY ? NFW!

After his self renaming to Count Guy Fee'Eddy, I find this hard to believe.

I thought Tuschwipe did background checks on all FN personalities now ?

Oh well, maybe Tuschman can teach Guy to eat with his mouth closed. That would make me happy.

At 7/29/2008 7:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yes, this show is filmed like it's for children, clearly it must be reaching its target audience since the fools shouting "idiot" sound like bratty adolescents. If you can't see the similarities between the two shows, perhaps you should be careful about being so cavalier with the word "idiot".

I'll second that! Explains the Pee Wee Herman set too. Maybe Ted and Pee Wee... oh, nevermind!

At 7/29/2008 7:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should just call the show "Food Idiots". AMIRITE?

At 7/29/2008 7:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted and Pee Wee LOLOLOLOL

And yes, YOUARERIGHT..or wait, URRITE!

This show sucks the big one, sucks for this dude because I have a feeling his talents are being seriously undersold.

At 7/29/2008 8:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the skinny ( ha ha) on guy:

Guy Fieri (born Guy Ramsey Ferry, January 22, 1968) is a chef, TV personality, and winner of the second season of The Next Food Network Star.. He now co-owns Johnny Garlic's California Pasta Grill in Windsor and Santa Rosa, California, as well as Tex Wasabi's in Sacramento and Santa Rosa. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Managementfrom UNLV in 1990.

After winning the second season Food Network competition on April 23, 2006, Fieri was awarded a six-episode commitment for his own cooking show on Food Network. Guy's Big Bite premiered on June 25, 2006 and was renewed for a second season that began airing in early 2007. His second series, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, premiered in April, 2007 (a one-hour pilot for the series aired as a special in November 2006) and sees Fieri traveling the country visiting local eateries. His third series, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, co-hosted with Marc Summers, began airing on February 17, 2008. He appeared with Robert Irvine in Dinner: Impossible in 2007, and has appeared on Paula Deen's Paula's Party.

Fieri recently began promoting the "Ultimate Recipe Showdown" line of entrees at nationwide restaurant chain T.G.I. Fridays.

Fieri grew up in Ferndale, California. and is close friends with fellow second-season competitor Nathan Lyon, is the son of James (Jim) and Penelope (Penny) Ferry of Santa Rosa, California ­ and lives with his wife Lori and two sons in Santa Rosa.

Fieri's signature look combines below-the-knee shorts, suit jacket, arm sweat bands, and jewelry along with platinum blond, spiked hair with black Van Dyck beard, contrasting sunglass tan lines, and flip-flops. Fieri's signature phrase is "off the hook."

At 7/29/2008 10:16 PM , Blogger Karen said...

I was a little bit annoyed by the constant quick cuts and jumping from one thing to another in the first Food Detective show. However, I'm hoping it will improve. (Ann Burrell's show was 1000% better from the first episode to the second.) As someone else mentioned earlier, I'm really sick of the "travel around and eat" shows that dominate FN's evening lineup, so at least Food Detectives is something different.

It's not Good Eats, but how often does Alton have a new episode? Once a month or less? As much as I love Alton, I can only watch each episode so many times.

At 7/30/2008 1:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checked out Food Detective. Made it for about 37 seconds. Great for middle schoolers, annoying to anyone over 21. Please make it stop...

Alton just has better finesse & timing, I'll stick with the original.

At 7/30/2008 1:56 AM , Blogger Alejandro said...

I like Ted Allen, but, like a lot of you have said, it is a dumbed down "Good Eats" or not even that. It seems juvenile. I don't want to watch this show again.

At 7/30/2008 6:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched this for a few minutes. It is silly.

Who is coming up with these show ideas?

At 7/30/2008 8:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This show blows donkey balls.

At 7/30/2008 12:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put it on a 3:30pm - call it Uncle Ted's After School Snack Pack...what a load of garbage packaged in primary-colored cellophane.

Personally, I find TA to be a pseudo-expert, know-nothing, poser. From what I've read, the guy has a Psych degree from Purdue and got his start writing restaurant reviews for a community paper. I don't think that being the "food guy" on Queer Eye is really the pinnacle of the culinary world. I believe his knowledge of food, cooking, and the culinary arts go as far as the expert he's with at the time (and he is often with someone much more qualified than he in most shows that I've seen.) I trust his culinary judgement about as much as I trust Nipa's.

I think he's playing a part. For me, he has no authoritative perspective, insight, experience, or expertise other than he hangs with the right people who do know something about food and cooking, and he uses fashionable foodie lingo. Hell, at least Kelsey went to culinary school (I think I heard her mention that on NFNS.)

I would LOVE to see one of the Iron Chef or Top Chef contestants challenge his knowledge and expertise when he starts his (in my opinion) often pompous and snide criticisms. Sort of like "Oh yeah, Ted, well tell me, how many times have you made - or tasted, (fill in dish here) and tell me, how you would have done it better since you're such an expert and I am only the Executive Chef in one of the finest restaurants in the world...?"

Nope - this ridiculous show is just another in the recent FN lineup that I'll make it a point of missing......

At 7/30/2008 1:49 PM , Anonymous Andrew T. said...

Ted Allen is ten gallons of awesome in a five gallon hat.

At 7/30/2008 4:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted Allen isn't the expert he would like everyone to think he is.

That is what is fundamentally wrong with so many things. Self promoted heavily.

I think many of his criticisms on Top Chef and Iron Chef are unwarranted unless you are in Challenge: Taco Bell

At 7/30/2008 9:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i gotta say i agree with above criticisms of miss ted.....
in his case it may be a case of
its not who you know it's who you blow?
ha ha ....??
seriously tho, he ain't all that.....

At 8/05/2008 7:24 AM , Anonymous AddictedtotheAddict said...

Maybe I misunderstood Ted, but does he really think he can be better than the Barefoot Contessa?!?! I would love to see that cook off.

At 9/09/2008 9:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To say that this show sucks is like saying Ted Allen sucks.

Which is of course, the honest truth.

The show is like Bill Nye science queer. FN is so childish and gay in so many ways.

At 12/31/2008 5:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted Allen always sounds like he is yelling. He's not very good at being a host.


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