ally’s story

Boho Trendy. Cowboy boots. Headbands. Hippie chic. Travel. Adventure. Family. Friends.
 Dr. Alice D’Antoni Phillips

the world of ally

Her friends and family know her as Alice. And, she has an alter ego, Ally. Her trademark cuisine is most aptly described as ‘Bohemian Bold’-simple, yet sophisticated dishes – hippie chic. That means seasonal vegetables, traditional cuts of meats, seafood, fresh herbs, spices and seasonings, fashioned into unlikely combinations resulting in eclectic ‘new’ dishes with varied cultural and global influences.

ally's story

Ally came from humble beginnings, born and raised at  ‘the mouth of the hollers,’ which is the name for a narrow valley in West Virginia amid large mountains. Morning haze don’t burn off ’till 10 a.m. even under the summer sun, and dusk begins at about three in the afternoon on the shortest days of the year.

Ally’s father passed when she was only ten, leaving her Croatian mom with 4 kids to raise alone. With a limited education, Ally’s mom demonstrated the strength and perseverance that sometimes runs on love more than money for fuel – a resourceful, chic and Bohemian woman herself, Ally’s mom was her first inspiration as a cook.

Ally’s namesake is her paternal grandmother, Alice Emma, a little wiry woman, who was full of piss and vinegar! Growing up, Ally spent hours many days a week in grandma’s kitchen watching her cook. Afterwards, they’d head to the porch where she’d listen to stories about all the goings-on in Hollywood and get the highlights of Liz Taylor’s many marriages.  Marshall University is where Ally met her first husband Dan D’Antoni, an All-American basketball player and now MU’s head coach of the Thundering Herd.

After they married, Ally and Dan stayed at Marshall where he went on to become the assistant basketball coach and, in one of those moments that you know for certain someone is keeping an eye on you, made a decision they would never forget. Making what was a kind gesture, Danny relinquished his ticket on a flight to an away football game. Ally and Danny opted to babysit the team Doctor’s 6 kids so the Doc and his wife could feel more comfortable about going to the game with the team & leaving the little ones. The plane left on Friday, but crashed upon landing on its return Saturday, killing 37 players, five coaches, two trainers, the athletic director, 25 boosters and the flight crew of 5. In 2006, the tragedy was memorialized in the Hollywood film ‘We are Marshall.’

ally's story

Despite tragedy, life goes on the way it does, becoming busy, then hectic, then the kids started to arrive, 4 sons one after another in less than 5 years – the first when Ally was 28 the last when she was 32. As if that wasn’t enough, ever ambitious Ally continued to work full time, as well as earning her doctorate degree at the age of 29.

Then, after nearly two decades together, Danny and Ally decided to go their separate ways opening the door to the second half of her epic love story.

Ben and Ally met randomly at the airport when Ben asked Ally to watch his luggage while he parked his car. Ally was 42 when she met the man of her dreams. Proving susceptible to Ally’s charms, the spark was ignited, and they chatted all the way to their flight connection. Ben struggled to remember the name of an Andrew Lloyd Webber play he’d enjoyed in London, and they parted ways in exchanging business cards, with Ben still not able to grasp the name of the play.

Ally didn’t hear from him for weeks.  Then out of the blue, she received a post card that changed her life “The answer is: ‘Aspects of Love’ let’s break bread. Ben”  What followed next?
Imagine worldwide travels and adventures -backpacking in Eastern Europe, learning to ski, Harley road trips, wilderness camping, hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim and more. Ben & Ally were married in 1994 with her three boys taking turns walking her down the aisle.

Ally’s career began as an educator, supervising special education and the serving as a school psychologist. A renowned expert in learning disabilities and ADHD, she founded her own company serving children and adults in the Southeast, specializing in innovative programs designed to help them through her unique one-on-one methodology.

ally's story

In 2008 Ben and Ally relocated to Boston. Ally decided she wanted to do something different so she embarked on a career she’d dreamed of since she was a teenager–becoming an actor! At the ripe young age of 59, Ally set off on her next adventure. She took acting lessons and started auditioning, with the persistence that IS Ally, and the tenacity that is bred into kids from the hollers.

As luck would have it, Ally saw an audition for MasterChef Season 1, and she made it to the semi-finals before being sent home. Naturally, she re-auditioned for season 2 and after beating out over 38,000 hopefuls, made it to the top 100 to be invited to Los Angeles to face Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliott with the unflinching style that is Ally!

Since then, Ally’s been blazing the culinary home cook scene winning accolades for her innovative recipes in cooking contests like the prestigious Dole California Cook-Off, Gallo Family Vineyards, Fiji Water, World Food Championships, and many more. Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family TV recognized her as one of America’s ‘Best Home Cooks’. Ally’s cookbook is available on Amazon, Ally’s Kitchen ~ A Passport for Adventurous Palates. 

Ally has appeared on Food Network’s ‘Clash of the Grandmas’. In 2019, she was recognized by the Taste Awards as a finalist in the ‘Best Home Chef in a Series’ category. ‘The Lyre’, the national magazine of Alpha Chi Omega, selected Ally from sorority chapters nationwide as one of their ten 2019 ‘Real. Strong. Women.’ .

After a nationwide search, Ally was selected by GE Appliances as their ‘Great American Grandma’ She is now a brand ambassador and influencer for Dole Packaged Foods, True Aussie Beef and Lamb, and GE Appliances.

Ally’s digital magazine, Ally’s Boho Living, is available online.

ally's story.



  1. Ande Underwood

    Hi Ally,

    I heard your interview on Food Blog Radio, and I was blown away at all you’ve accomplished.
    I’m a husband and father of 5, and I do most of the cooking at our Alabama home. I am considering combining my love of food, photography, and writing into a blog. How do you decide what the first post should be?


    • Hi, Ande…thank you for taking time to listen to that interview on Food Blog Radio. Honestly, I’ve not done anything more than most folks do in a lot of decades of living. You’re the hero…father of five and the cook in the house! Wow~I’m super impressed b/c that’s no easy assignment. But, I’m sure it’s one that you passionately love. I think your first post should just be an honest open reflection of who you are and why you’re venturing into this blog world. Remember that it’s clogged with hundreds of thousands of folks. So distinguish yourself carefully to showcase why you’re different and how your world/experiences can be inspirational and motivational to others. I just know you’re gonna be awesome! Keep me posted, and I’m already a fan! Sending lots of great energies your way! ~ally

  2. Jack Sanders

    Just an old coalfields boy from Man who wanted to touch base and wish you and all of your family a Merry Christmas…….

    • Jack!!! This is the best message ever! Yeah, from one ol’ coalfield kid to another, Merry Christmas, my friend. What an idyllic growing up we had in those coalfields! Hugs! xoxo

  3. Hello Ally!

    My name is Marvin and I work as the Account Manager for the California Dry Bean Grower Association. We are looking for exciting new recipes to share from food bloggers that highlight the use of dry beans and I stumbled upon your page in my research. Looking at your bio and some of the comments people have left you I can see that you have such an inspiring story and a heartfelt soul.

    We love some of your recipes and would like to offer you an opportunity for cross-promotion. This is a free way to cross-promote your website by sharing a recipe that you have already posted with beans.

    You will be promoted on our website blog, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! We would love to have you as one of our monthly food bloggers and feature your Buttery Lima Bean & Sprinach or any other bean recipe you’d like to share.

    Look forward to hearing from you!


  4. I stumbled upon your page looking for a chuck roast recipe and decided to read all about you while waiting for it to marinate. You’re leading an incredible life and I am inspired by you. Thank you for sharing. You have a beautiful soul! 🙂
    (And I can’t wait to try this bourbon and brown sugar chuck roast)

    • Jillian!! You have made my day! Thank you, luv!! Life is such a beautiful gift, and now in my last chapter, it’s all about making it the most memorable! You’ll love this bourbon and brown sugar chuck roast. It’s really great!! xoo ~ally

  5. I just found you today, and am eager to try the Chicken Marsala Soup – the only recipe I have seen so far. I read your story on your site, and am so amazed, impressed, and inspired! I want to explore so much more on your site! Is there a way to subscribe for updates???

    • You are so very kind!! I’m so excited to have you with me!! There is a “Join the Tribe” to get newsletters (which are infrequent). I should have another option to get new posts to your inbox. Again, leaving your email. I’m exploring Tuscany now as I peck on my cell phone with one finger! So I should have many new recipes to come!! Welcome my luv!! ???

  6. My darling Ally what a life you’ve lived! I’m glad this blogging adventure got us to cross our paths. I enjoy your videos and food so much! Look forward to watching you spread your wings even more, and being inspired by you.

    • My dear amazing, Aida~YOU have made my day! Thank you for your special loving note. I love your story, too…your adventures, your creative spirit (w/your sister) and your warm soul/spirit. Inspiration is a two-way street, and you do the same for me. Keep sharing your amazing talents w/me and the world, luv! xoxo ~ally

  7. As fascinating as you are talented and beautiful. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

    • Oh, Karen! Thank you, and I’m suckin’ air behind YOU!! What a star you are!! So happy to be getting to know you better!! xo Ally

  8. Robin Fenwick

    Hi Ally, Just read your blog and COOL. I found your food on Pinterest and looked it up.
    Anyway, Karma being what it is I thought i should atleast ask.
    SO I’m working on two fundraisers both with Autism backgrounds. I have no idea if you could do or wanted to do anything but I really believe in Karma so I’ll ask.
    First my BBQ Fundraiser being held in Leominster, MA. on June 23, 13 To help raise money for a summer camp scholarship.
    Margrett, age 13, suffers from a rare genetic disorder: 17p 13.3, which is labeled under the Autism Spectrum. This affects Margrett in several ways, but symptoms of Chromosome 17 duplication include: impaired intelligence, developmental delay, reduced muscle tone, various facial anomalies, and short stature. Margrett is currently in 7th grade and she enjoys video games, reading, softball, crafts like sewing and many other things. She is super-excited about the chance to attend overnight camp. Margrett needs your help with our BBQ Competition to benefit Scholarships for Camp Starfish. We are asking for food donations, gifts baskets or gift cards, and prizes to raffle or auction. Your donation will help us achieve our goal.

    Next the big research project to help cure Rett Syndrome,
    Sabrina is a lovely girl who lives in Leominster Ma. We are having a Fundraising event to help support the research to cure Rett in her Honor. The event is a Pirate and Princess called ROAR. You can find more information on the non profit group that helps support different programs for Retts families.
    The event will be at the Elks in Leominster, MA on May 3, 13. We are hoping to find donations of food, gifts or sponsorship’s to help achieve our goal.

    If you would be interested in learning more about any of these fundraisers please email me or call at 978-706-1080
    Can’t wait to try out some of your recipes.

    • Hi, Robin! What a nice comment, and thank you for sharing all this about your fundraising. As a former special education teacher, I’m familiar w/both of these syndromes, and your work is meritorious. I’m currently closely involved with several other charitable organizations that occupies so much of my time and resources, so I’m going to have to take a rain check on your two. I’m sure that w/your focus and energy both of these events will be smashing successes! Wishing you all the best and thanks for visiting and sharing w/me your great inspiration! 🙂 Ally

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