Chef, Best Selling Author and Television Personality
Carla first won over audiences when she competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars” and shared her philosophy to always cook with love. Since then she has co-hosted ABC’s Emmy award winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew”, she brightens the mornings of millions as a Culinary Contributor to “Good Morning America”, and in 2020 she will be featured as a judge on Crazy Delicious (Netflix) and on BakeAway Camp (Food Network) as well as numerous other shows and specials throughout the year.
Carla believes food connects us all, and she strives to communicate this through her work, her cooking, and in her daily interactions with others.
Born in Nashville, TN, Carla grew up surrounded by soul food. When the time came for her to select her career path, she first opted for a business route – she graduated from Howard University’s Business School and worked as an accountant for two years – before deciding to switch gears to work as a runway model. It was during that time, as she traveled (and ate) her way through Europe for a few years, that she truly realized her deep-rooted passion for food could be her career path. Today, she is a trained chef who has worked in several professional restaurant kitchens in and around the Washington, D.C. area and is an accomplished television personality and author.
Her latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, was published in 2018, landing on annual “Best Cookbook” lists across the country and receiving an NAACP Image Awards nomination. She has two previous cookbooks – Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You.
Carla is very active with a number of charities and not-for-profit organizations that reflect her passion for causes close to her heart. Such organizations include Helen Keller International, an organization that works to improve the lives of those with blindness, and to prevent the causes and consequences of blindness, poor health, and malnutrition and the Pajama Program, which works to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine to help all children thrive by providing cozy pajamas, inspiring storybooks, and critical resources for caregivers.
Carla lives in D.C. with her husband, Matthew Lyons.
Discovering Your Authentic Self
Carla Hall’s ever-evolving career, from accountant to runway model to celebrity chef, is proof positive that it’s never about the destination, but always about the journey. Recently hailed in the Washington Post as “the most visible black person in food”, Hall is using the popularity she gained as a “Top Chef” fan favorite and co-host of the Emmy Award-winning television show “The Chew”, along with her entrepreneurial experiences, to build a brand that is grounded in authenticity. Using her guiding principle, “Say ‘yes’, adventure follows, then growth”, Hall believes that following our instincts leads us to opportunities we might never have imagined. Audiences will tap into their own authentic selves as Hall shares both the triumphs — and missteps — that kept her on the path to being true to herself.
Food DNA: Finding My Roots Through Food
For Carla Hall, two time “Top Chef” finalist, discovering her DNA history was an important part of understanding family lineage that had previously been lost to slavery. An unexpected bonus was insight to her own food cravings and palate. The table is traditionally a place where people come together to share their similarities, and in America our diversity of food traditions also makes the table a place where we can celebrate our differences. Carla will share stories from her journey across the Southern states to learn the American food traditions shaped by the African Diaspora. These food stories allow Carla to illustrate that by understanding how African American contributions are bigger than what they were given credit for, African American students can begin to own these stories and create opportunities for themselves.
Scare Me: Growth and Transformation Through Facing Your Fears
Carla Hall does…..comedy? Okay, maybe the beloved host of “The Chew” is better known for her mouth-watering Southern cooking and warm personality, but performing stand-up is only the latest in a long line of fears she has faced, simply to challenge herself. Why? Because facing fears spurs growth and inspires transformation -- both things that have, ultimately, driven the success of this two-time “Top Chef” finalist who won over audiences to become Fan Favorite. Fear of failure threatened to keep Carla from achieving goals such as interviewing her childhood idol, Carol Burnett, or from serving the dish that won her the most praise as a “Top Chef” competitor. But the practice of repeatedly doing things that are scary has allowed her to stockpile an array of tools which she draws from during difficult times, stimulating personal growth and professional success. Audiences will witness Carla scare herself — live— with a comedy set and learn ways to map out their own fear-facing adventures.
Carla Hall captivated our attendees with her blend of humor, southern humility and charm and business savvy.
- | Les Dames d’Escoffier
Carla was absolutely fabulous!!! Our social media sites are truly on fire. Carla is just as warm and personable in person as she appears to be on television. The event would not have been as wonderful without her.
- | Mott Community College
She has an amazing personality and truly likes interacting with people. She was a perfect fit for this event – we couldn't have been happier.
- | Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce