Five days before an apparent heart attack took his life at age 36 on May 6, Chicago celebrity chef Judson Todd Allen (BS food sciences/human nutrition ’03) shared with us his favorite memories of his four years at the UI.
You may remember the self-described “architect of flavor” from TV — he was a Season 8 finalist on “The Next Food Network Star,” which led to a job as Steve Harvey’s personal chef.
You may have even ordered one of his creations at the West Loop restaurant Taste 222, where he was culinary lead, or followed his Spice Diet, which helped him lose 160 pounds — and keep it off for 14 years.
To those Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers who hadn’t kept in touch or followed his career, the chef was barely recognizable when they’d run into him years later.
But when they did catch up, they could reminisce for hours on end.
“Being a part of the oldest Black Greek Letter Organization and one of the most popular at the University of Illinois — the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Tau chapter — one of my favorite locations on campus was the ‘Alpha House,’” Chef Allen told us. “This was a gathering spot for the brotherhood and delivered some great parties.
"From dinners and chapter meetings to philanthropic activities and step down practices, our fraternity houses bring back so many memories.”