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This 'Top Chef' Is the Toque of the Town


Carla Hall (Courtesy Bravo)

Hootie-hoo! Carla Hall may have lost the "Top Chef" prize, but her time on the cooking-competition series was nothing but a win for her Silver Spring catering business.

"We're certainly really busy," she told us yesterday. "I'm very thankful for that; there are so many restaurants closing and businesses shrinking. ... I have to give all props to the show."

Hall, 44, shed a tear in the season finale of the Bravo series Wednesday night, saying she regretted not following her own path with that risky sous-vide New York strip steak with merlot sauce. (Too tough, said the judges.) "I will not make that mistake again," she said on camera.

But she was all smiles at a viewing party that night at the CulinAerie cooking school downtown, which she kicked off with a basics class on herb-roasted chicken and parsnip tarragon puree. About 100 friends and fans cheered her with calls of "hootie-hoo" -- the quirky call-and-response she and husband Matthew use to find each other in crowds. "It's kind of like having a funeral before you die," she told them, our colleague Bonnie Benwick reports. "I get to see how people feel about me and my food, and that makes me feel really good."

A striking 6 feet tall with a warm demeanor, Hall began as a dark-horse fan favorite who outperformed and outlasted more vaunted chefs, making it into the final three. Hosea Rosenberg, a chef from Boulder, Colo., ended up winning the $100,000 prize. Next up for Hall? Business as usual, just more ambitious: She wants to expand her kitchen so she can welcome diners for chef-table events -- and start a retail line of her sweet and savory cookies.

Yesterday, Carla Hall was online to dish about the competition. Read the discussion transcript.

By The Reliable Source  |  February 26, 2009; 8:16 AM ET
 
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Comments

We Love you Carla!!!!!!!

Posted by: kendra2 | February 26, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It was high-larious when the judges announced that Carla was out of the running and then immediately the viewer poll results popped up showing Carla as the favorite to win.

Posted by: mediajunky | February 26, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

You're the greatest, Carla! You competed with an open heart, and everyone watching could learn something from you. I will be keeping an eye out for your name - enjoying a meal you've prepared is on my bucket list!

Posted by: pwfomby | February 26, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Carla you are the best -- in every way! In addition to your exquisite taste and impeccable skills, thanks for setting a new example for soulful humility and graceful professionalism on Top Chef. I hope you win Fan Fave.

Posted by: efstewart | February 26, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Carla took Top Chef to another level, because instead of trying to endear viewers to her with sob stories about poor and sick relatives back in the old country, she used integrity, kindness, humor, an honest self assessment, and just plain fun. Everyone feels they could be in a room or a kitchen with Carla and love every moment of it. I'm sure she'd be a patient teacher and it's obvious she is a fine human being. Everyone should take a note from Carla's book of golden rules and interpersonal relationships. Fan favorite for sure...for this and for every season. FEAR (AND LOVE) THE TURTLE!!!!

Posted by: MamaC | February 26, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Carla, you were the only reason I didn't give up on Top Chef this season. You were a joy to watch and abviously a great chef!
Keep up the good work and good luck in the future.

Posted by: ohiogirl | February 26, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Strange indeed who the fans chose vs the "judges". I also think it would be interesting to see who would win if the judges did blind tasting, etc. I think most shows already have a list of who's going to be in their top.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 26, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

YOU WERE SO FUNNY!!! YOU JUST CRACKED ME UP. YOU ARE A GREAT CHEF. ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GUT INSTINCTS; JUST LIKE A TEST YOUR FIRST ANSWER IS PROBABLY RIGHT. YOU WERE A JOY TO WATCH. KEEP ON SMILIN AND MAKING GREAT FOOD! =)
FROM PHOENIX ARIZONA

Posted by: gojetrina | February 26, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Class
Act
Raising
Levels
Awesomely

Posted by: phreddd819 | February 27, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Carla, if you are readying, you made Top Chef very enjoyable. Thanks for comepeting with love! And please, please, please start that line of cookies! I don't live in D.C. so I would love to have a way to taste your food.

Posted by: Phenom | February 27, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say:
-if you are reading-

Posted by: Phenom | February 27, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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