Chef Judson Todd Allen, of Oak Park, suffered a likely heart attack and died suddenly on Saturday, May 5, at the age of 36. The Chicago culinary community is grieving the loss of the self-proclaimed “architect of flavor,” former Food Network Star competitor, author of The Spice Diet, and culinary-lead at Chicago’s Taste 222.
Last March, I had the opportunity to sit down with Judson at Taste 222 to discuss his new book. As we sipped iced tea, we chatted easily about his profound weight-loss journey and tireless work to dispel the myth that healthy eating is lifeless and bland.
With notable confidence, Judson shared how he’d transformed his life by focusing on food from a healthy perspective and using a wide variety of spices to bring bold flavor to his recipes.
His lifestyle change helped him to fully appreciate the value of fresh, high-quality ingredients and ultimately led him to shed and keep off 160 pounds. His health and well-being were his top priorities, but he also took pride in inspiring others to take control of their relationship with food. Judson, a passion driven-chef, clearly operated from a place of integrity.
Judson exuded positive energy and expressed sincere gratitude that Oak Park Eats had taken an interest in his book. I just looked back at the last email he sent me — a note peppered with enthusiastic exclamation points and joyful ALL CAPS compliments. Even his emails bubbled with personality.
The Oak Park Eats family extends our deepest sympathies to Chef Judson Todd Allen’s family, friends, and co-workers during this difficult time.