Carla Hall

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Carla Hall
Carla Hall Oct 09.JPG
Carla Hall at the Riverdale Park Farmers Market, Riverdale Park, Maryland, October 2009
Born (1964-05-12) May 12, 1964 (age 54)
EducationL'Academie de Cuisine (Gaithersburg, Maryland),
Howard University
Spouse(s)Matthew Lyons (m. 2006)
Culinary career

Carla Hall (born May 12, 1964) is an American chef, television personality and former model.

She appeared in the fifth and eighth seasons of Top Chef, Bravo's cooking competition show. She was a cohost on The Chew, a one-hour talk show centered on food from all angles, which premiered on ABC in September 2011.

Early life and education[edit]

Hall was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Hall attended Father Ryan High School in 9th grade and graduated from Hillsboro High School.[1] She graduated from Howard University's Business School with a degree in accounting in 1986. She then worked at Price Waterhouse in Tampa, Florida, and became a Certified Public Accountant.[2] Hall hated her job and left after two years.[2]

Modeling career[edit]

In 1988, Hall shifted focus and spent several years working as a model on the runways of Paris, Milan and London. It was in the first of these three cities that she quickly fell in love with the art of food.[3]

Early chef career[edit]

Upon returning to the United States, Hall moved to Washington, D.C. When Hall brought some leftover sandwiches to her friend's office, and the friend's coworkers all wanted her to come again,[4] she decided to start a lunch delivery service called the Lunch Bunch.[4] After four years, she enrolled in L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland, graduating with a Culinary Career Training certificate. From here, she went on to serve an externship at the Henley Park Hotel, where she was then promoted to sous chef.[5] By 1999, Hall was the executive chef at the Garden Cafe in the State Plaza Hotel, a sister hotel.[6][7] She then served as executive chef of the Washington Club, a private social club.

Catering business[edit]

In 2001, Hall started her own catering company, Alchemy Caterers, based in Wheaton, Maryland.[3][8] Hall remains in charge of the company, which she renamed Alchemy by Carla Hall. Hall has written the cookbook Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You.[9]

Top Chef[edit]

Hall's big break came in 2008, when she was selected to be a contestant on the fifth season of Top Chef.[10] In the beginning, she was in the middle in most episodes, but was in the top for the Thanksgiving challenge. After Episode 10, she wowed the judges with her crawfish gumbo, going on to win Super Bowl XLIII tickets for this victory. After this, she won two more challenges and was in the top for several others. Most notably, she impressed Jacques Pépin, who said he could "die happy" after eating her fresh peas,[11] and Emeril Lagasse, who said he loved her gumbo.[12] However, in the final challenge in New Orleans, she and Stefan Richter ended as runners-up to champion Hosea Rosenberg.[13]

On the show, Hall gained popularity for her personality, although she did not win Fan Favorite in her season. She became known for her call-and-response catch phrase "Hootie Hoo!", a tradition she and her husband had whenever trying to locate one another in public. Hall also became known on Top Chef for her philosophy of "cooking with love", which she defined as putting one's own care and warmth into food. She believes that if one is happy and calm while cooking, then this will show in the food, making it much better, whereas if one feels otherwise, it will degrade their cuisine. For this reason, she says that, “If you’re not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is a reservation."[3]

Hall was part of the cast of Top Chef: All-Stars, the eighth season of the show, which consisted of participants from past seasons. She performed well in this season, which included demonstrating her chicken pot pie recipe on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Hall finished fifth overall in the competition, but was awarded "Fan Favorite" for the season by viewers of the show, which included beating out Fabio Viviani, who was voted Fan Favorite over Hall when they both appeared in Season 5.

The Chew[edit]

Since the first show that aired on September 26, 2011, Hall has been one of 5 cohosts on The Chew, a one-hour show on ABC centered on food from all angles.[14][15] The show replaced All My Children.


In 2014, Hall launched a Kickstarter campaign where she raised $264,703 that exceeded her $250,000 goal from 1550 backers for the opening of her restaurant. The restaurant, Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen, opened June 17, 2016, in Brooklyn, New York.[16] The restaurant closed permanently in August 2017.[17]

Media appearances[edit]

Hall appeared on the May 3, 2009, cover of the Washington Post Magazine, on a feature called "Fit for Fame", about still exercising while being famous.[8]

She portrayed a version of herself named "Spaghetti Scientist Carla Hall" in the BoJack Horseman episode "That Went Well". She also voiced Mpishi the harrier hawk in a season 2 episode of Disney Junior's The Lion Guard titled "Ono and the Egg".

On April 17, 2018, General Hospital tweeted Hall will appear on the ABC soap opera,[18] and Soap Opera Digest states it will be May 2018.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Hall lives in Washington, D.C.[8] She married Matthew Lyons in 2006.[8][20] She has a stepson Noah.[20]


  1. ^ Justus, Jennifer (November 26, 2008). "Chef du Jour: Carla Hall". The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee).
  2. ^ a b "Top Chef Contestant Dishes All". Tell Me More. National Public Radio. March 2, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "About Carla". With Love, Carla Hall. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Lorna (June 13, 2001). "Beyond the Brown Bag: Local Chefs and Their Favorite Summer Sandwiches". The Washington Post. p. F1.
  5. ^ Booker, Bobbi (September 23, 2012). "Chew' co-host calls cooking my world'". Philadelphia Tribune. p. 1B.
  6. ^ Weintraub, Judith (April 21, 1999). "The Books Behind The Cooks; Favorites the Experts Must Have on the Shelf". The Washington Post. p. F1.
  7. ^ TZibart, Eve (April 23, 1999). "Toques Off to Female Chefs". The Washington Post. p. N28.
  8. ^ a b c d Wildman, Sarah (May 3, 2009). "Fit For Fame: When everyone's eyes track your every move, staying in shape is anything but routine". Washington Post Magazine. The Washington Post. p. 16.
  9. ^ Hall, Carla. Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You. Atria Books. November 12, 2013. ISBN 978-1451662207.
  10. ^ "The Tall, Positive One Looks Familiar". The Washington Post. November 12, 2008. p. F4.
  11. ^ "'Top Chef' Finalist Carla Hall Cooks With Love" / National Public Radio, February 26, 2009
  12. ^ "Get Carla Hall a Central Lobster Burger!" "Best Bites Blog", February 24, 2009
  13. ^ Farney, Teresa (February 26, 2009). "Colorado chef wins reality show cookoff". McClatchy-Tribune Business News.
  14. ^ "The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink". Food and Wine. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Carman, Tim (September 21, 2011). "Carla Hall digs into daytime TV with 'The Chew'". The Washington Post. p. E1.
  16. ^ "Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen". Kickstarter. September 23, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  17. ^ Filloon, Whitney (October 16, 2017). "Carla Hall on Six Lessons Learned From Her Failed NYC Restaurant". Eater. Vox Media, Inc.
  18. ^ General Hospital [@GeneralHospital] (April 17, 2018). "... and another one, because we can't even. Just wait until you find out who @carlahall is playing. Stay tuned. #GH55" (Tweet). Retrieved April 18, 2018 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "The Chew's Carla Hall Guests On GH". Soap Opera Digest. United States: American Media, Inc. Odyssey Magazine Publishing Group Inc. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Hall, Carla (November 22, 2017). "How I Combine Southern and Midwestern Dishes for the Ultimate Christmas Dinner: And the Reason I Don't Worry About Washing Dishes Afterward". Country Living.

External links[edit]