When Carla Hall sits down to chat, the conversation is always a memorable one. The vivacious, thoughtful chef that fills the television screen is the same real, welcoming woman who sits at the table. With Hall, her food is always delicious and memorable, but it is her dedication to fostering conversation on how food does and will make a difference in people’s lives that nourishing.
Hall has been a longtime partner of GenYouth. During a recent conversation with FoodSided, Hall spoke about her connection to the organization.
She said, “I was one of the founding board members and the reason why I partnered with them is because one of the tenants of my celebrity is to bring awareness to food insecurity, health, and wellness. The organization checked so many boxes and it is exciting to see how much they have grown. With the help of partners, we have made a difference.
“Going into the Taste of the NFL, we are looking at what we can do in Las Vegas. Every time there is a Taste of the NFL, GenYouth goes into a city to make a difference. They want to make a difference in as many schools as possible and we are on track to do just that.”
While the Taste of the NFL might be the special event that has food lovers craving to get that coveted ticketed, it is more than a food extravaganza. Even though the participating chefs hope to earn their own glory with the best dish, it is a celebration of how food brings people together. There can be some good natured rivalry, but it is all about supporting a worthy cause.
When asked about this year’s Taste of the NFL, Hall shared, “I’m really excited to be in Las Vegas. Everything is bigger in Vegas. I’m going to be doing ham and cheese croquettes and I’m making them triangular. I’m really excited to taste Mark Bucher’s chili, Lasheeda Perry’s sweets, and Andrew Zimmern’s dish.”
More importantly, it is the event itself that excites Hall. She said, “the wonderful thing about going to the Taste of the NFL is that we focus on local chefs. Those local chefs always bring something that is unique to the area. I’m excited to meet those local chefs that you don’t see outside of Vegas. There is a lot to be eaten.”
While it might be too late to book a plane to Las Vegas for the special event, Hall has some food suggestions to make that Big Game spread a winner with the gathered crowd. Her suggestions are versatile recipes that can work in any and all situations.
“I do bean dips. Hummus is generally made with chickpeas but you can make hummus with any beans that you have in your pantry. I make one with black eyed peas, tahini, and olive oil. It is a really easy recipe to make.”
“Some other dips are anything with sour cream. Throw in spinach, artichokes, and it is really easy. Or, use some roll-out dough to wrap around hot dogs or sausages”
“As a former caterer, I would recommend having your dips presented in little bowls, have your veggies and other items in bigger bowls so that you already have a back up in another bowl so that the tray does not end up looking messy. All you have to do is swap one out for another and it looks good continuously. No one wants to have the tray looked picked over. When you’re grazing, everyone wants to feel like they’re having something fresh.”
For the party host who prefers to have a NFL team theme to the food spread, Quaker has everyone covered. The Quaker Playbook has a recipe for all the team. Even if people prefer to highlight their tried and true fandom instead of the two teams playing for the Lombardi trophy, Quaker has a dish that will get the crowd cheering.
Quaker is part of the at home food celebration as well as the Taste of the NFL and the NFL season. While Hall might refer to herself as the “unofficial Quaker Oats girl,” she is proud of the brand for supporting GenYouth.
During the Taste of the NFL event, Hall shared that the food brand is showing its support for the GenYouth and giving back to tackle food insecurity. “During the Taste of the NFL, Quaker will present a check for $250,000 to support their work. Even though we’re having fun and the event is all about fun, flavor, and taste, it is a way for Quaker and other organizations to give back and help support good work.”
After all the Las Vegas excitement quiets, Carla Hall has a new adventure that everyone can watch. Her new show, Chasing Flavor, is available to stream on MAX.
When asked about her new series, Hall is extremely enthustatic about this show and how it is different from other food television programs.
She said, “it is a show that focuses on the food and how it is connected to the culture and the people. We take a particular dish and choose a route.” While not necessarily a journey through history, it does a deeper dive into the whys and the connections that food offers.
Hall explained, “what this show is doing is giving credit to the cultures that had a hand in a dish that is beloved by Americans. I’m hoping that viewers take away the idea that you cannot love the dish and not love the people that are connected to it. Everything is connected and I’m wanting people to understand that concept.”
“Every time a culture goes into a particular place, it is like a butterfly effect. It is an exciting time to travel this journey.” Everyone is welcome to join the conversation on Chasing Flavors on MAX.
And, with the Big Game around the corner, the food conversation does not have to be limited to just the spread on the table and the commercials on the screen. Why not make a commitment to help an organization in the community that is tackling food insecurity. It might not come with confetti raining down in a trophy presentation, but it will be a moment that can make a lasting difference.