Successful Illinois Son dies in his Prime: Chef Judson Todd Allen By Cassiette West-Williams

Food Network celebrity Chef Judson Todd Allen, 36, made his sudden transition on May 5th, according to his family and media reports. His unconfirmed cause of death was from a heart attack. This news was startling, after Allen had lost 160 pounds and kept his weight off for more than 14 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The shocking news stunned his fans and the international restaurant world, as reports of his death brought thousands of condolences from across the country.

Many fans appreciated Allen’s wit, determination to remain successful, despite the odds, his good looks, energy and his charm. Always smiling and featured in media outlets, Allen was recently promoting his 70 recipes, spiced and healthy cooking in his new book.

Many people were attracted to the kindhearted chef because he had a huge spirit of joy and humility with others. Chicago television anchors wrote public tributes to him, while radio hosts were in utter disbelief about his passing.

Allen was recently working as the head chef for Taste 222.  His catering company, Healthy Infused Cuisine, was sought after, as was his special hot sauce. Many of his ideas and creations originated from his New Orleans based grandparents, who influenced his cooking methods. Their legacy with spicing foods would later be reflected in Allen’s menus and book.

Allen accomplished much in such a short time span, including becoming a published author, popular television contestant and personal chef for talk show host Steve Harvey and Jamie Foxx.

Harvey commissioned Allen to prepare meals for him, as he sought to be in shape for the numerous television shows he has. Harvey lost 30 pounds while Allen served up healthy dishes for him to consume.

He was from the inner city, but completed several college degrees and kept studying and improving upon his craft. Allen graduated from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, where he was serving as a mentor for current students, said his former school counselor.

He also graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and DePaul University. He studied food science and human nutrition and was a member of the University of Illinois Black Chorus.  He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

What was so rewarding about Chef Allen’s success was that the Chicago raised son did well and returned to a local suburb, Oak Park, IL, where he reached out to help other aspiring chefs in the food industry. He reached the masses with his recently published book, The Spice Diet.” He was motivated to write the book after being overweight most of his teen and early adult years.

At the time of his death, Allen had been training for a fall marathon.

Information for this story was gathered from the Allen family, Chicago Tribune and ABC-TV.