Star chef Carla Hall never dreamed of a life in the kitchen. As a child she aspired to be an actress. In college, Hall majored in accounting and then modeled in Europe, where she discovered her love for cooking. Fans of Bravo’s hot series, Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars, know her as a finalist on these shows. We caught up with her to find out who is the chef at home, the wines she cooks with, and the dishes in her perfect meal.
Q: You never started out wanting to spend your life in the kitchen, right?
A: I didn’t know my passion would be food, but I always loved going to grocery stores, shopping, and going to the markets. I think that’s where the passion for food started.
Q: Wine is such a huge part of cooking. What are your favorites to cook with?
A: It depends. I try to use wines from the same country as the food I’m cooking. I don’t choose high-end wines, but it needs to be something drinkable. Once the alcohol cooks out, I want the flavors of the wine to support the dish.
Q: Who cooks in the kitchen at home?
A: My husband. I cook when I’m on vacation or have a couple days off, but otherwise I am more than happy to let him have the reins.
Q: What’s your perfect meal?
A: Something homey that makes my eyes roll back in my head. It could be a perfectly cooked hamburger with great tomatoes, cheese, and a homemade pickle, or it could be dumplings. Usually, it’s simple, comforting food—definitely not a high-end meal.