Careers in Agriculture

Bountiful Careers in Agriculture

Chef Judson Todd Allen

“When Steve Harvey found out I was a food scientist, it blew his mind,” says chef Judson Todd Allen, the self-described “architect of flavor” who was recently a guest on Harvey’s show. Allen’s company, Healthy Infused Cuisine, specializes in personal, private, and event chef services. “Harvey said, ‘Some of us do that?’ It instantly gave me credibility. Then I was able to back up the title with knowledge. He looked at me differently–as an expert who could pull on the science behind food.”

Allen’s food science degree from the University of Illinois also gave him an edge when he auditioned for The Next Food Network Star. Celebrity chef Alton Brown, known for his enthusiasm in investigating the science behind food, chose Allen, the only contestant with a degree in food science, to join his team for the Season 8 competition. And though some might think of scientists as stuffy or aloof, Brown complimented Allen on his personable presentation style.

“When I went to college, I went into food science because I knew it would set me apart from my competitors. I knew I wasn’t going to be a traditional chef. My favorite courses were food sensory and analysis and food chemistry,” says Allen, who as a child dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur and television personality like Emeril Lagasse. “Those classes allowed me to really peel back the layers of food and flavor, understand their chemical breakdown, and–from a sensory perspective–train my palate to discern different flavors and their interactions.”

Allen’s goal is to use his food science background to transform the way people think about healthy food. He’s not the first to take on this task, but because of his personal struggle with weight (he’s lost more than 135 pounds) and eating unhealthily, he hopes to make this message palatable to others as well. Trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Allen has worked at the Ritz in Paris and the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, the gastronomic capital of the world. He means it when he says, “Healthy doesn’t have to be boring or bland.”

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