This 'Top Chef' Is the Toque of the Town
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.
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