Ted Allen Dishes on Local 'Chopped' Contestants, Ken Oringer's Squab Brains

Ted Allen

The Chopped host at the Nespresso store last night. (Photo by Leah Mennies)

Last night, Food Network personality (and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy alum) Ted Allen visited Boston to host a dinner at the Nespresso store on Newbury Street, where he serves as brand ambassador. Before tucking into coffee-themed fare, we sat down with the Chopped host—a self-proclaimed “nature geek” who spent the day strolling through the Boston Common—to discuss past local contestants on his show and Ken Oringer’s magic touch when it comes to squab brains.

As the host on Chopped, Allen sees countless chefs—and lots of terrible food—pass through the studio, but says that chefs Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Coppa) and Steven Brand (UpStairs on the Square), who went head-to-head on an episode that aired this past spring, were two of the most memorable chefs to ever appear on the show. “The day that we shot the battle with Jamie Bissonnette and Steven Brand lives on as one of the most badass competitions we had. It was awesome. I fell in love with both of them,” Allen says. “I have been texting with Jamie since I got here, trying to get over to Coppa.”

While he doesn’t have a lot of time to dine out (he leaves town today), Allen says he’d also like to visit Ken Oringer at Clio, whose food he sampled as a judge on Iron Chef America (Oringer defeated Iron Chef Cat Cora in a coffee-themed battle). “It was fantastic,” he says. “One of the elements on one of his plates was a squab brain served on the half-skull. And it was good. I was a little freaked, as most would, but I knew it was Iron Chef and I had to eat it.” Spoken like a true pro.

For more online food coverage, follow us on Twitter at @ChowderBoston.