Carla Hall invites everyone to rethink how they cook with Quaker Oats, interview

Judge Carla Hall, portrait, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 10.
Judge Carla Hall, portrait, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 10. /

While that bowl of Quaker Oats might be an iconic breakfast food, sweet flavors do not have to be the only option. During a recent conversation with Carla Hall, savory oatmeal is an option that more people should be willing to explore.

Anyone who has had the privilege to sit down with Carla Hall appreciates that her vivacious, thoughtful approach to life can make any day brighter. While many people might remember her time on Top Chef or The Chew, she continues to be a presence on Food Network shows. Beyond being a welcoming presence on screen, the talented chef understands that food is a bridge that connects people. Through her collaboration with Quaker Oats and partnership with GenYouth, that sentiment is clear.

As part of the Quaker Oats Pregrain program and its support of GenYouth, Hall spoke with FoodSided. A longtime partner with GenYouth, Hall believes that this campaign will not only help combat food insecurity but also has people look differently at the bowl of oat. The Pregrain Tour and its NFL inspired recipes show that one ingredient can be used in an abundant number of ways.

For Hall, Quaker Oats has been a staple in her kitchen. Some Top Chef fans might remember the challenge where she made a savory oatmeal dish that impressed the judges. It was something that she enjoyed, and the food television moment allowed her to showcase the creativity that the ingredient offers.

While that challenge was one moment in time, that connection continues to this day. Hall shared that everyone knows she loves oatmeal, and she is always looking for ways to highlight it in a variety of ways. It can be as simple as adding vegetables and using a stock to other recipes. People can look at the box of oats in a whole new way. As she said, “I’m very passionate about sharing the versatility of certain ingredients and things that are nourishing and delicious.”

One example that Hall shared was the secret to her meatloaf. She mentioned, “I put all of my aromatics like my onions, carrots, and celery into the oatmeal with my milk, and then I add that to the meat. It makes it so incredibly moist.” As she mentioned, she can convert people to enjoy meatloaf, because they have not eaten her recipe.

While that idea is one concept, Hall shared that she enjoys a savory crumble. She mentioned the following, “a savory crumble can be a great topping for a soup. A little butter, some everything bagel season brings that crunch and texture which can make the soup even better.” It is a concept that can be used in a variety of options, from mac and cheese to a casserole.

Beyond the creative food ideas that Hall serves in her kitchen, this partnership is more than recipes and pushing home cooks’ willingness to use oats in various ways. Hall always looks for ways to bring culturally important topics to the table. Turning that vision board into a reality, Hall understands the relevance of campaign. As a long time supporter of GenYouth, she appreciates that raising awareness is another chapter in her willingness to get people to not only think but to act.

As people download the Quaker Oats digital cookbook, choose to take action in the community, or just find another way to enjoy a bowl of that iconic oatmeal, the decisions are positive ones. It might be the Pregrain Tour but it is a hearty conversation that will last far into the next year.

And, what is next for Carla Hall. Food television fans will see her in a new travelogue show that explores food, culture, and travel set to debut in February 2024.

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