Ted Allen: “I think DOFL is an extraordinary fundraiser for HIV/AIDS.  We raise approximately $4 million in a single day with virtually no overhead thanks to the amazing generosity of the restaurant community.  I have a deep personal interest in food, so this event is a good fit for me.  There are miraculous therapies available these days for HIV/AIDS, but the reality is that it is still a devastating disease.”

 

Vital VOICE: Can you talk a little bit about how you identify as both a foodie and as a gay public figure, and how each of those plays a part in your career?

 

TA: “I’m very lucky to have had the chance to be in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  It was a life changing experience.  I don’t have to come out to anybody anymore- I can be myself.  Queer Eye also allowed me to hold a career around food.  I feel blessed to have a job that I truly love.  I get to spend all day talking about food with brilliant chefs!”

 

VV: How involved are you in the political and social issues that affect the LGBT community?

 

TA: “I’m extremely political.  I’ve never missed an election in my life.  I think it’s hard to be awake as an LGBT person and not have an opinion about politics.  But, I try to pick my battles.  My job is to be an entertainer and teach people about food and wine.  Basically, I simply try to be good at being gay and on TV, and I use that as my own simple, subtle activism.”

 

Ted Allen is going back to the studio in the end of April to begin shooting 39 more episodes of the popular Food Network show Chopped.  He’s working on his second cookbook, “Kitchen Adventure” – coming Spring 2012.

 

For more information about Dining Out For Life, visit www.diningoutforlife.com/stlouis.