Television brought Carla Hall into homes all across America, but it also brought her back home. And — eventually — to Brooklyn.
By the time she first appeared on Top Chef, Carla Hall was a do-it-all, do-everything caterer with the hard-earned chops to make it work. She’d started her own lunch delivery service in Washington, D.C., backed up her experience with a culinary school education and moved on to fine formal French restaurants and a social club in the nation’s capital.
“I basically was a chameleon,” said Hall. “You tell me what your wishes were, and if I didn’t know how to make it, I would learn how to make it.”
That kind of versatility made her well-suited for Top Chef’s competitions. But over the course of her experience there — she appeared a second time three seasons later on Top Chef: All Stars — she found herself drawn to back to the recipes of her native Nashville.
“I feel that it was on Top Chef that actually helped me find my heart and what I wanted to do,” said Hall. “I didn’t know that yet.
“I fell back with real comfort food. Something that would make me happy. And that was the food that I grew up on. I feel that was the beginning of where I am now.”
Hall won over viewers with her spirit, enthusiasm and Southern specialties, being named “Fan Favorite” following Top Chef: All Stars. Soon after, she began as one of five hosts of The Chew, airing daily on ABC.
So when it came time to put her own name on a new restaurant, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.
She chose Brooklyn’s Columbia Street Waterfront District to open Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen, drawn by the tight-knit community feel that was evident in the way the neighborhood banded together to rebound after Superstorm Sandy.
You can get her Nashville hot chicken on the bone, along with scrumptious sides — mac and cheese, cole slaw, potato salad and more — and desserts.
“I know it’s really trendy right now, but for me it’s not about a trend,” said Hall. “I am sharing Sunday supper with you and how I grew up in Nashville. So when you come here, people feel a sense of home. They feel a sense of comfort.”
Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen is located at 115 Columbia St. at the corner of Kane St.