'Worst Cooks in America': Who is Carla Hall? Here's how leftover sandwiches launched her to culinary stardom

Carla Hall's crawfish gumbo was the stuff of dreams, but it was her leftover sandwiches that made her the chef we've known to love and adore


                            'Worst Cooks in America': Who is Carla Hall? Here's how leftover sandwiches launched her to culinary stardom
Carla Hall (Food Network)

The year-end is always a time full of festivities and more importantly, good food. The menu for the season is almost always pre-decided — super elaborate dinners and leftovers for lunch. It's the universal, unspoken rule. While we have nothing against leftovers — they can definitely be made into something interesting or in Carla Hall's case, they can change your life altogether.

Carla stared on Season 5 and later Season 8 of Bravo's 'Top Chef'. Her bubbly personality and stellar cooking skills made her a favorite among judges and fans almost instantly. Looking at her in action, you'd think Carla was meant to be a chef all her life. And while she's always been cooking, it definitely wasn't her first career choice.

Turns out, it was leftovers that actually stirred Carla towards her destined culinary path. As the chef and author gears up to take on the role of a judge on 'Worst Cooks in America', we review what makes her the best in the business.


She was initially an accountant

Carla was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She went to Howard University's Business School and graduated with a degree in accounting in 1986. She went on to become a certified public accountant. However, that didn't last for too long, as Carla quit her job within just two years. She later went on the become a model (a far cry from an accountant).

She worked as a model for several years and graced the runways of Paris, Milan and even London. But it seems like she still hadn't found her true calling yet, seeing that she quite that career path and was seriously considering a career in the culinary arts.


It was leftovers that changed Carla's life

Carla eventually moved back to the US. On one particular occasion, she brought over some leftover sandwiches to a friend's office. They were an instant hit, seeing that her friend's coworkers asked for her to come again. It was this interaction that encouraged her to start her lunch delivery service, which she called Lunch Bunch.

Ever since, there has been no looking back. Having earned her Culinary Training Certificate from L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda Maryland, Carla went on to work at a range of hotels, working her way to the top.

She's a business owner and an author now. Carla's catering company, Alchemy by Carla Hall, is still functional today. She started the service back in 2001, although back then, it was known as Alchemy Caterers. She has also authored three books: 'Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You', 'Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration' and 'Carla's Comfort Food: Favourite Dishes from Around the World'.

She won everyone over with her skills on 'Top Chef'

Although she did not win her season, Carla was definitely a frontrunner, earning praise for her amazing skills and cheerful personality. Her crawfish gumbo particularly won the judges over. She went on to win challenges and even made it to the final round, where she lost out to Hosea Rosenberg. It came as a surprise that she didn't win as she was a fan-favorite that season, but Carla went on to redeem herself soon enough when she returned for the all-star Season 8.

While she came in fifth the second time around, she did manage to bag the fan-favorite title, beating Fabian Viviani, who happened to win that title during her season. She was a co-host on ABC's food-centric show 'Chew', back in 2011. She was also a judge on 'Crazy Delicious', a Netflix production, alongside Heston Blumenthal and Niklas Ekstedt.


Her philosophy is simple — cook with love

Carla's cooking has always been about putting love into her cooking — she believes that it shows when you do. She's always spoken about how your attitude while cooking affects the food you prepare.

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