“I Really Love Her As A Person”: The Chew’s Carla Hall Talks Paula Deen, First Date Meals, And Why Every Woman Should Know How To Cook

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July 23, 2013 ‐ By Clarke Gail Baines

Carla Hall Book

We had the chance to sit down with the lovely Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew and former Top Chef favorite, to talk about food, first dates, and reasons why even the most stubborn woman should learn how to cook (she recommends knowing how to at least make a good soup), whether it’s for a future family, her partner, or just herself. Hall, who has been promoting the Country Crock Star Contest that you can participate and win a $50 gift card weekly in by picking your favorite casserole, also talked about her friend Paula Deen, and why she thinks people need to forgive her and get back to cooking! Here are the details from our chat:

So what should a woman prepare that’s quick and easy for a first date? 

“The one thing you want to think about for a first date is that you don’t want to be locked in the kitchen. You can do some kind of risotto. Or you can do some type of casserole. But let’s say you put lobster in it or shrimp. It’s going to look fancier than it is. And I say that because you don’t want to be stuck to the stove. So often people want to wow somebody and all of a sudden you have company, and now you’re spending so much time in the kitchen that you’re afraid to leave it because your dish doesn’t lend itself to be cooked while you’re with your guest. Another thing that’s really good is tapioca fish, where you’re putting fish in a paper with some veggies. That’s really easy because that can be done ahead. You put your oil inside and some wine so when your guest gets there, 15 minutes out, you pop that in the oven. It’s really, really easy.”

Is it true that you just learned how to cook when you were modeling in Europe in your 20s?

“Just learning how to cook is an understatement. I did not know how to cook. I was in my early 20s, so when I was hanging out with these models, everybody would get together in the kitchen and I was listening to their stories and I was fascinated. Up to this point, I would go to dinner, have great food, Sunday suppers at my grandmother’s house, but I never stayed in the kitchen. I was fascinated so I started buying cookbooks.”

How important is it for women to know how to cook?

“I think it’s really important. I think we went through a phase. I was sort of at the beginning of that phase where I was very proud not to know how to cook. I was like, ‘I don’t cook. You think I’m a woman and that I should cook!? No I shouldn’t, and I don’t know how!’ And I think we were kind of proud of that. Then there was a phase where men were cooking. The script was flipped. And then men were cooking and they were finding themselves dating these women who didn’t know how to cook at all and they looked a little lacking in skills. I think now, it’s really important, not that you’re necessarily going to be doing it all the time. However, I do think it’s a shared chore.

If everybody is doing what they enjoy and without putting gender on those roles, you’ll be much happier.”

As someone who has been around Paula Deen, what do you think of the controversy surrounding her?

“Paula is really, really nice. And I really love her as a person. You may have seen my Tweet, ‘I love you and I support you.’ The one thing I’m going to say about that is, you know, forgiveness is power. I ask everybody, how powerful are you? And how do you treat somebody, especially somebody you don’t even know when thinking about forgiveness in that way?”

Very nice woman, and a very nice woman who makes a very mean cranberry soda recipe if I might add. What meal would you make for a first date?

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  • Tina

    Carla looks like Big Bird. yikes.

  • FromUR2UB

    If I had it to do over again, I’d marry a chef. Love men who can cook!!

  • cielodrive

    Gawd she’s ugly, and I realize she plays up the ugly as if it’s cool, but still, yikes.

  • xyzebra

    Cut the mess about forgiveness. Both Carla and Paula have a financial relationship with the Food Network. Good business makes good “friends.”

  • xyzebra

    Cut the crap about forgiveness. Both Carla and Paula have a financial relationship with the Food Network. Good business makes good “friends.”

    • D. Johnson

      For what it’s worth, Carla has nothing to do with the Food Network.

  • NSimonefan

    By saying that she is a friend of Paula Deen confirms my suspicions about her regarding my first impression of her: she is an Uncle Tom. She’s one of those light skinned Blacks who remove themselves from Black people.

  • autumnbreeze

    I love Carla!!!! The Chew is a great show…