It’s no wonder Carla Hall’s contagious joy and exuberant personality capture audiences. She has a background in theater, modeling, and accounting—and had an unexpected quick rise to fame after two seasons competing on Bravo’s Top Chef, where she was touted as “fan favorite” at the end of her final season. The Nashville-born beauty is worth getting to know better, and today this beloved chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and cohost of ABC’s The Chew, is busier than ever with plenty of new projects on the horizon.
Carla is known for always choosing to “cook with love,” with most of her inspiration coming from her grandmothers’ kitchens. She enjoys “doctoring” tried-and-true Southern recipes to make them a little healthier but still chock-full of delicious flavor. Some recipes—desserts for instance—you just don’t mess with. Carla’s petite cookies, or “sweet bites,” spread the love one little mouthful at a time. You may soon find a dessert truck full of cookies setting up shop in the D.C. area (Carla’s hometown), and they’re available online.
Another exciting venture is the opening of her first restaurant—Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen—this fall in Brooklyn, New York. It will serve her famous favorites like hot chicken and greens (you may even be lucky enough to catch her in the kitchen). If you don’t plan to be in the neighborhood anytime soon, pick up Carla’s cookbooks: Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World, and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You—all with recipes inspired by the combination of her Southern upbringing, time spent in Paris (where she first fell in love with cooking), and professional training.
Perhaps her favorite roles, besides wife and stepmom, are cohosting The Chew alongside her colleagues and friends and devoting time to nonprofit organizations. We sat down with Carla to chat about what she’s been up to, what inspires her, and what’s coming. We also share some of her favorites. What a treat!