Her favorite ingredient is love, but Carla Hall understands when preparing dinner can turn a home cook homicidal. It often happens when a recipe betrays you — or you betray it with a simple misreading. Maybe you added a half tablespoon of cayenne when the recipe called for a half teaspoon?
Whatever the case, with her upcoming daytime TV show, “The Chew,” Hall wants to help cooks when they become unhinged in the kitchen. She plans to host a recurring segment on the ABC program in which she provides tips for reviving a dish when it starts to die. You could call it one of Hall’s pet peeves: Classic cooking shows act like “nobody messes up” in the kitchen, she says.
“I think that’s why people feel intimidated” by cooking, she adds.
As a former caterer — she quit the business before filming “Top Chef All-Stars” last year — Hall knows that kitchen mistakes can translate into waste. “You can’t afford to throw something away,” she says, “because that’s your profit. So you have to fix it.”
In these economic times, the same thing holds true for the home cook: You can’t afford to throw food away. So Hall will be The Fixer for “The Chew.” That won’t be her official title, of course, but hey, we like wiseguy (wisegal?) ring to it.
Taping hasn’t even begun for the daytime program, which will debut in September, but Hall is already drooling over the possibilities of talking about food five days a week on network TV.
“It’s going to be refreshing and educational and informative and fun,” she promises. And timely, she adds. From rising food prices to the obesity epidemic to genetically modified crops, “food is in the forefront of our minds,” she says.
Aside from the five hosts — which also include chefs Mario Batali and Michael Symon, “lifestyle expert” Clinton Kelly and healthy living advocate Daphne Oz — there will be correspondents from the field. Hall imagines these reporters offering segments from, say, a barbecue cook-off in Kansas City.
Once shooting starts, Hall will live in New York City four days a week, returning home only for the weekends. How does her husband, Matthew Lyons, feel about this arrangement? “He’s excited for me,” she says. “He’s being very supportive.”
Despite her busy schedule, Hall says she plans to expand her Alchemy by Carla Hall offerings beyond the sweet and savory bite-size cookies. Sometime in the near future, fans of her cooking can expect a roll out of new products, including soups and sauces.