Carla Hall

Delicacies Chef’s Table: Sept 1 - Dec 31, 2018

Carla Hall is a co-host of ABC’s Emmy award winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew,”. Hall is best known as a competitor on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars”, where she won over audiences with her fun catch phrase, “Hootie Hoo” and her philosophy to always cook with love. Carla’s approach to cooking blends her classic French training and Southern upbringing for a twist on traditional favorites. She is committed to health and balance in everyday living. Her cookbooks are “Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World” and “Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You”. She is a true believer that, “If you’re not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is a reservation.”

The Door

The Door’s mission is to empower young people to reach their potential by providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment, including free meals to their members.


It's an ingredient that my family used for both celebration and every day meals, and a staple across most of my food memories. Fried chicken in particular reminds me of my Grandma Thelma.
Sterling silver chicken necklace
14K gold chicken pendant
Sterling silver/leather chicken “Delicacies” bracelet
Before they were so unceremoniously reduced to nuggets and wings, the chicken was considered a messenger of the gods, a link between Them and Us. The cock crows at dawn, that liminal hour when we come into consciousness again and was therefore seen as having knowledge of worlds unseen. The chicken’s crow signifies a clean start, a good morning call from heaven, and a way to dispel the dark, the day before, whatever haunts us. Wearing this charm can provide protection from the impinging past. The humble chicken is not a coward, but in fact absorbs and bears all fears. Consider that act of generosity the next time you casually snack on its parts dipped in honey mustard.

Carla Hall’s Nashville-style Hot Chicken
Serves: 8
Hot Brine
1/2 cup water
1 cup dill pickles
1 cup dill pickle juice
1 large habanero or 2 small
1/4 cup Kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
8 each chicken thighs -Skin-on and Bone-in OR Skinless and Boneless. See corresponding cook times
Hot Oil
2 cup canola oil
1 ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Flour Dredge
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Sea salt
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 quarts Oil, Canola or vegetable based oil
Prepared Pan: Cover a baking pan in crumpled paper towel to catch oil from fried chicken, or place wire rack over baking pan.
Cooking Method:

Brine the chicken:

  1. In a blender pulse pickles, habanero, salt, and sugar until combined; add pickle juice slowly until incorporated
  2. Add water; blend until smooth
  3. Place chicken in large storage container or 2 gallon food grade bag
  4. Pour brine over the chicken, ensure brine coats all of the chicken well
  5. Brine in the refrigerator for minimum of 4 hours, maximum of 8 hours


Prep Hot Oil:

  1. In a small heavy bottom, whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Place pot over medium heat, warm oil to about 165°F Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat. Transfer to a storage container for later use, oil will last one month in cold storage


Prepare Flour Dredge:

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag or paper bag, combine the flour with seasoning; mix well
  2. Remove chicken from brine; place on a wire rack set over a sheet pan; refrigerate chicken uncovered for one hour to air dry
  3. Remove chicken from refrigerator; dredge chicken in seasoned flour. Coat chicken evenly and shaking off excess flour. Place on sheet pan;
  4. return to refrigerator for 30 minutes
  5. Reserve seasoned flour for one more dredge before frying


Fry Chicken

  1. Heat oil in a medium heavy bottom cast iron skillet to 365°F, the oil’s ready when a little flour dropped in bubbles and sizzles steadily.
  2. While oil is heating – Remove chicken from refrigerator; dredge chicken in seasoned flour. Coat chicken evenly and shaking off excess flour; place on sheet pan. (This is second dredge)
  3. Carefully place the chicken in the oil, skin side down and away from you; cook in batches. Don’t crowd the pan and maintain oil at 365°F; continue cooking turning to evenly brown each piece until cooked through, about 12-14 minutes total. Note: Skinless, boneless chicken will take about 8-10 minutes to cook. Cook chicken to 160°F, safe internal temperature
  4. Drain chicken on prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken, replenishing and reheating the oil between batches.


Assemble Hot Chicken

  1. Dunk hot fried chicken in prepared hot oil.
  2. Remove and place on white bread. Excess oil will drip onto the bread – this is a Yummy! good thing. Serve immediately with dill pickles.

About Carla

Carla is best known as co-host on ABC’s Emmy award winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew.” She 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. 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 Hall 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.

On the literary front, Carla has combined her loves of food, people, and culture to write several cookbooks. Her latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, will be published on October 23rd.  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. She is also the Culinary Ambassador for Sweet Home Cafe at the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. where she works to bring attention to and connects the experience of moving through the museum with the stories and history that inspires the food in the cafe.

Carla lives in D.C. with her husband, Matthew Lyons.

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