We are excited to announce that Chef Bill Allen has been hired as the Manager of our brand new Culinary Institute. Chef Allen brings over 30 years of restaurant and teaching experience to the program and will work one-on-one with our students in both the Therapeutic and Social-Entrepreneurial Programs to instruct them in all aspects of running a restaurant.
In addition to his teaching, Chef Allen will oversee the Culinary Institute’s eventual launch as a locavore restaurant open to the public and run by LiHigh School students. He and the students will work closely with local farms and food purveyors to ensure healthy choices for students and customers. Bill is an active proponent of healthy nutrition for children and was a guest at the White House for the First Lady’s “No Kid Hungry” initiative.
Chef Allen grew up in an Italian family that revered wonderful food, and he spent 19 years honing his culinary skills in New York City, working in the acclaimed kitchen of Susan Sugarman. “She helped me discover the chef inside me,” he said. Later, he made a point to learn as much about food as possible and worked in kitchens that specialized in various techniques of global cuisine.
Taking a two-year sabbatical from restaurants, Chef Allen developed over 115 flavors for a New York City soft ice-cream company, where New York food critics dubbed him the “Custard King” and “Flavor Wizard.” Some of his most popular flavors included crème brûlée, tiramisu, apple pie, and honey lavender.
Weary of life in New York City, Chef Allen began a quest to discover regional cooking firsthand. He traveled through kitchens in Connecticut, Long Island, Vermont, and eventually Los Angeles, where he was hired as the Lead Chef for the PBS series, “New Jewish Cuisine.” He also cooked Louisiana-influenced cuisine in Hermosa Beach’s Café Boogaloo.
Missing the New England seasons, Chef Allen returned to his roots on the East Coast, but instead of going back to New York City, Chef Allen chose the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, where he took a job as Chef-Instructor at the New England Culinary Institute. Two years later, he opened the kitchen at “O,” an upscale restaurant in Burlington. During his time in Vermont, Chef Allen has worked for some of the highest-rated catering companies in the state, not to mention working for a stint on a private island in the Turks & Caicos Islands, which are just south of the Bahamas.
Despite the beauty of the Turks & Caicos, Chef Allen is happy to once again be working in Vermont. He lives in Pawlet with his partner, Heather, her three daughters, and his dog, Truffles.