#TeamBeautiful got the chance to chop it up with Chef Carla Hall–who you may know from “The Chew,” or as one of the amazingly talented contestants from “Top Chef,” or maybe you’ve been living under a rock and you don’t know her at all. Well, today is your lucky day, because you’re about to find out who this southern cookin’ momma is and get a chance to sample (read: read about) some of her best recipes. My mouth is watering already!
Carla started cooking when she was 23-years-old and two years later, she launched a lunch delivery business…by accident. Carla’s customers kept her cooking and away from the accounting job she hated. But it was Carla’s chicken pot pie from scratch that helped her realize a cooking career was what she needed. And now Carla has a blossoming career where her love of food meets the small screen. We’ve seen Carla warming our hearts and teasing our tummies daily on “The Chew,” after her loveable appearance on “Top Chef.” Now Carla’s ready for a new venture–opening her own restaurant in New York City: Carla’s Southern Kitchen.
Carla launched a Kickstarter campaign to gain the funds necessary for such a bold move. Carla’s Kickstarter allowed her to raise over $260,000, which is more than the $250,000 she requested. Her campaign was very unique. Carla wanted her fans to be a part of her venture as well. Carla has chosen to put the names of all supporters who donate over $25 on a founder’s wall that will live in every restaurant, to always remember those who have supported her and taken this journey with her. What a beautiful soul she is! Check out our chat with Carla where she reveals what’s so special about the fried chicken she’s going to be offering in her southern oasis in Gotham City, who makes her favorite fried chicken and what go-to dishes are the best to cook to lock in your man.
HelloBeautiful: Congrats on your new restaurant that’s sure to be opening soon! There’s a lot of southern fried chicken in NYC, what’s so special about your southern food in NYC?
Carla Hall: My chicken is specifically Nashville’s hot chicken with four different levels of heat to make it spicy. We make the traditional southern fried chicken, then we toss it in the hot oil or sweet heat (honey with chilies). We’ll also have a roasted chicken version of the “hot” chicken.
HB: What is your other favorite cuisine to cook?
CH: Indian food. i love how this cuisine uses spices.
HB: It’s date night…in…what do you recommend a lady cook for her man to make sure she’s got her man locked in?
CH: Something that she knows how to cook and that she feels good about. also something that she can prepare 90% ahead.
HB: What was the dish that won over your hubby?
CH: He actually won me over with a baked pasta dish and homemade gorgonzola focaccia.
HB: Who makes your fave fried chicken?
CH: There is a restaurant in Washington, DC called Boss Shepherds that makes a mean fried chicken. It’s the kind of chicken my grandma Thelma made when she was alive, and she wasn’t cooking for hundreds of people a day. It’s amazing that they can make fried chicken taste like it was cooked in a seasoned cast iron skillet at someone’s home.
HB: In the days where everyone is health conscious, what dish would you recommend making for dinner for the week?
CH: I would make a pot of beans or a big batch of quinoa or grains, then use them in different ways throughout the week, from salads to stews to putting a small portion of meat protein on top.
HB: What is your holiday go-to dish? What will you be cooking this holiday season?
CH: The cornbread dressing is a must…also the mac & cheese. I’m all about the sides at the holidays.
HB: What’s next for you?
CH: I would love to design a line of eyeglasses. This is me dreaming, since I know that I will have very little time working on “The Chew “and maintaining a new restaurant. This is when I ask my co-hosts Michael and Mario how to balance.
Check Out Carla’s Awesome Recipes: