Celebrity Chef Judson Todd Allen: ‘Fearless’ When It Comes To Food & His Career
Nothing happens by chance. Our lives are a series of steps carefully orchestrated by the universe and the One above. The steps we take are often not linear. Most of the time, we zig zag and find twists and turns to make the plot interesting. Judson Todd Allen, internationally renowned, celebrity chef and CEO of Healthy Infused Cuisine, LLC, knows all about these challenges that make the victory even sweeter. At one point Allen was severely obese and in desperate need of reinvention. Fortunately, he found a healthier solution to satisfy his extreme cravings, transforming his body and career in the process.
Allen is known as the “Architect of Flavor,” a moniker well deserved for the Chicago native with a knack for cooking delicious meals with health in mind. This brother has a resume out this world. Many of you probably know Chef Allen from his appearance on Season 8 of “Food Network Star.” This top chef also prepares cuisine for some pretty big names and organizations, including media mogul, Steve Harvey. As the personal chef to Steve Harvey, Allen provides him the flavorful cuisine he requires to stay healthy and energized.
In a recent conversation, Judson Todd Allen shared with BlackDoctor.org that there’s more to him than creating amazing food. He’s got the blueprint for creating a flavorful life. Allow him to re-introduce himself.
BlackDoctor.org (BDO): Chef Allen, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. It’s not every day you get a chance to talk with somebody who has their own hot sauce. I will be trying it soon hopefully. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Judson Allen (JA): A little bit of background about me, I’m from Chicago, born and raised. So I’m a Chicago boy at the core. I think Chicago has the best food, better than any other city.
I’m surrounded by food not only from a city perspective, but I had my grandparents who were amazing cooks. They were the biggest inspiration behind why I got into food and probably why I gained so much weight. They cooked so freaking good. Oh my gosh! And it wasn’t the healthiest. Let me slow down before I have flashbacks of the fried catfish and creamy grits (laughing)! My grandfather is from New Orleans so you know you can’t tell somebody from New Orleans nothing when it comes to cooking. He didn’t think, he knew undoubtedly that he was the best cook in the world. So you know, unfortunately, it comes with a lot of heavy cream, butter, sugar, salt and everything else that we don’t need to deliver the flavor, but love.
As I got older I was introduced to “eating in the streets.” I went from eating home cooked meals that were delicious, to my tastebuds now being hijacked by fast food, that were authenticated by the grease stains on the brown bag.
Food really had a strong hold on me to a point where I gained 70 pounds my freshman year of college. This addiction carried on with me all the way up into college. I graduated from University of Illinois with a food science and nutrition degree. I was over 350 pounds at graduation. WHAT THE HELL?
Who is this dude with a food science and nutrition degree clearly over 350 pounds?
It was at that moment when I decided to do something different. I decided to develop a healthier lifestyle approach for myself. I really started using flavor, spices and other ingredients to give me that nostalgia of the food I remembered as a child.
I literally kind of psyched out my tastebuds so to speak. Using spices, herbs, fresh ingredients, cutting out things and using alternatives. It just works ! And the cool thing about it was that it tasted good.
I was like okay, I can do this.
BDO: A lot of people want to change and sometimes just seeing the scale isn’t enough. What else made you want to reinvent yourself and try something new?
JA: I had to make a choice. Either I was going to continue along this path of getting bigger and bigger and let it end my life. Or change for the better and do the right thing. I just didn’t like how I physically looked and feared the health complications that came with the weight. I literally felt trapped in a body and desperately wanted to break free. I knew I wanted to go into a career where image is everything. Weight is a barrier that holds people back from careers, job opportunities, relationships and I didn’t want that to be me. So I had to make that change.