After two seasons of Top Chef, Carla Hall has a new gig. She is one of five co-hosts on ABC's new daytime talk show, The Chew.
Along with Michael Symon, Mario Batali, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz, she cooks, talks food and lifestyle and has a great time doing it. SheKnows caught up with Carla to talk about the show and get her tips on grilling like a pro.
The Chew co-hosts ask their guests a round of quick questions in a segment called Celebrity Egg Timer. We asked Carla to play a round with us.
Chef who inspires you most?
The last thing you cooked?
Fresh black-eyed peas and lima beans
An overrated ingredient?
Truffle oil or truffles
An underrated ingredient?
Dish to impress a first date?
Papillote because you can put everything in a piece of paper and enjoy your date.
Favorite comfort food meal?
Collard greens, macaroni and cheese and cornbread
You only need to watch a few minutes of Carla Hall's new talk show, The Chew, to see that she is having a blast with her co-hosts. "The fun starts in the dressing room. It's so much fun… It's like a family," she says. Carla and the other hosts talk about anything and everything, but the show is centered on food-related topics, something she knows well. Although she says that she felt like she struggled a bit when the show first aired, trying to balance a cooking demonstration while telling a personal story, all within minutes, Carla says that she now feels more comfortable and confident in her abilites. She says the other co-hosts know when it step in to help, and there is a lot of trust between them. Now, she's truly enjoying her new role.
It's been a few years since Carla Hall competed on Top Chef, but she has wonderful memories of her experiences. She fondly remembers the dancing and singing that went on after competition: "There were times in the Stew Room when I felt like everybody was so stressed that they started to let loose." One of her favorite moments came when she was being judged by celebrated chef Susur Lee. Even though she was in danger of going home, Carla recalls,"Susur Lee was on the judges panel and it was like a mini master class. He went down the line and the way he gave his critique, I felt like I didn't want to be any other place than right there."
Life has changed some for Carla since her last appearance on Top Chef. Her catering company morphed into a petite cookie business, Alchemy by Carla Hall, and she has a cookbook, Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You, being released in November.
For those of you wanting to tackle the grill but don't have a lot of experience, Carla says, "So often, people are afraid of grilling, especially if they haven't grilled before. But what I want to tell people is that if you think of your grill as an oven, it's a lot less intimidating." She goes on to say that just like with your oven, you sear your food on the hot side, then move it to the cool side to cook through. For fun-and-easy grilled summer desserts, Carla recommends skewering cherries and strawberries. Stone fruits are the obvious fruit to grill, she says, but the smaller fruit is delicious, too.
This summer, become a grill master with these other tips from Carla:
Now that you've learned how to grill like a pro, try this burger recipe that's huge on flavor but won't weigh you down. It's the perfect meal for a summer barbecue.
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