Carla: Honestly, I have an amazing team that makes me look good. The restaurant started out slow with so many delays, and now it feels like everything is happening at once.
What’s the best part about being on The Chew?
Carla: My friends, and not just the hosts but the entire crew is amazing. It feels like family the moment you walk in the doors. The viewers only see the co-hosts but there are 90 other people working behind the scenes to make the show work. It really takes a small village.
Do you spend time with your co-hosts off camera?
Carla: Yes. I’ve been to Mario’s home a couple of times. We’ll all make plans to get together during the holidays to have a game night.
What has been your most memorable dish on the show?
Carla: Chicken and dumplings—I loved that dish! It was delicious and comforting.
What’s the most challenging thing about being on television?
Carla: Trying to make a connection with the audience during a 5 minute segment was a challenge in the first 3 seasons for me.
How did you become more comfortable?
Carla: I went through media training and was taught how to be the best “ME” I could be. Television is so competitive and everyone wants ratings so they don’t want you to mess up, but I told them if you don’t put me up there to mess up, I won’t learn.
So, when did you find your groove?
Carla: In season 4. I remember the moment that I was totally comfortable. It felt good, natural and me. It all came around, even my food.
What type of food do you enjoy cooking most?
Carla: I can be very creative in the space of comfort food. Both of my grandmothers have been an inspiration.
In your opinion, what is the difference between southern and soul food?
Carla: Southern food is great, it just doesn’t have as much flavor and love. Soul food came from us. Southern food is the vanilla version of soul food.
What type of food will you serve at your restaurant?
Carla: I want to stay away from food shaming. Soul food is worthy and I want to bring the value back. I want to inspire people to be themselves, and that comes from culture.
Tell me the name and location of your new restaurant.
Carla: Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen. It will be at 115 Columbia Street on the waterfront near Red Hook in Brooklyn. I’m really excited. It opens the end of November.
Give me an idea of some of the menu items.
Carla: I’m originally from Nashville so there will be Nashville chicken. Mac and cheese with sharp Cheddar cheese, honey mustard, paprika, and a little bit of onions.
How old were you when you learned to cook?
Carla: I was in my mid 20’s. I loved making breakfast. I went to culinary school at 30.
What inspired you to go to culinary school?
Carla: I had a lunch delivery service for 5 years before I went to culinary school. I go along the path and have a work ethic while I go along. I don’t put any boundaries on what I want to do.
Tell me about your cookbooks.
Carla: I have Carla’s Comfort Foods and Cooking with Love. The next one will be a dessert cookbook.
What’s your favorite dessert?
Carla: I make a triple lemon cake. Lemon cake, lemon curd and lemon frosting—it’s so light.
Name something you can’t live without.
Carla: Lemons and a big purse. I always have stuff.
How much time do you spend in the grocery store?
Carla: I love grocery shopping and making grocery lists. I go early in the morning, and go down every isle even when I don’t have to.
Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
Carla: I cannot get in an unmade bed.
Thank you, Carla Hall ###