I Know How To Make Your Food Taste Like Chef Carla Hall Made It!

Hey Cuties,

You girl had a star-studded weekend. It involved food, charity, celebrities, networking, laughter food, wine, food, dope outfits and more networking. I will share it all this week. For this rainy Monday in the DC area, I decided to start out with the most amazing Chef I know and adore Chef Carla Hall and her Calaloo: Crab and Coconut Spinach Soup.

Chef Carla Hall cooking tips
Cooking Studio, Salamander Resort & Spa

Listen, I’m a good time and I love people who like to have a good time. Chef Carla is a freaking good time, she brings nonstop laughter.  On Saturday The Style Medic and I road-tripped to the gorgeous Salamander Resort & Spa owned by the amazing Sheila Johnson to attend the St. Jude Wine Country Garden Harvest. Put a pin in that and we will revisit this a bit more on Wednesday when I give the full recap.

The event is part of a national culinary series; it highlights local growers, wineries and celebrity chefs with a focus on the farm-to-table movement and St. Jude’s commitment to the nutrition and treatment of their patients.  We started out with a Cooking Demonstration with celebrity Chef, Carla Hall.

Chef Carla Hall The Chew Carla Hall Chef Carla Hall cooking tips
Chef Carla Hall

Carla’s Receipts:

Carla Hall is a co-host of ABC’s Emmy award-winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew,” seated alongside restaurateurs and “Iron Chef America” stars Mario Batali and Michael Symon, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly and health and wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz. Hall is best known as a competitor on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars”, where she won over audiences with her fun catch phrase, “Hootie Hoo” and her philosophy to always cook with love. Carla’s approach to cooking blends her classic French training and Southern upbringing for a twist on traditional favorites. She is committed to health and balance in everyday living.

Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen — the chef’s first restaurant —opened in June 2016.  A fast casual love letter to Nashville, the restaurant features iconic Nashville hot chicken and Southern sides, which are anchored by Hall’s family recipes and perfected with her personal touches.  Her cookbooks are “Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World” and “Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You”.  Hall is a true believer that, “If you’re not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is a reservation.”

Carla Hall’s Cooking Tips

Tip #1: “If you aren’t in a good mood the best thing to make for dinner is a reservation.” – Chef Carla

Tip #2: Taste your food before you serve it to people.

Tip #3: Salt = Compliments if you don’t use it “you ain’t gon get no compliments“.

Tip #4: Put salt in while cooking ONLY so it can dissolve into your ingredients.  If you do it after the salt is just sitting on top of your food.

Tip #5: When you are going to purée food, don’t worry about cutting presentation it won’t matter.

Tip #6: When you cook with vegetables you don’t need stock it will make its own while it cooks.

Tip #7: When cooking with bay leaves or habanero make sure you count them before you put them in the pan to cook. Once the meal is ready make sure you remove the same amount you put in.

Tip #8: DO NOT put lemon juice in your green soup; it will turn your soup brown.

Tip #9: Put a pretty garnish your soup before you serve it.

Tip #10: Enjoy!

Chef Carla Hall cooking tips
The Style Medic, Chef Carla & Mi

After Chef Carla gave us samples she came around and chatted with each of us.

Chef Carla Hall cooking tips
Chef Carla working the room

I told you she worked the room. The young lady on the far left is Betsy Davis, Mayor of Middleburg, Virginia.  Carla is chatting with Salman, we met him at the event and he even snapped a few photos for us.

Chef Carla Hall's Calaloo
It was delicious, garnished with coconut flakes, okra, and crab meat


  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet chile, slit open
  • 1 pound king crab legs, cut into individual legs
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock, homemade or store-bought unsalted broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pound baby spinach


  1. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, turning, until the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, crumble, and reserve.
  2. To the fat in the pan, add the pepper, onion, scallions, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is just translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the okra, thyme, and scotch bonnet chile. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is just tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the crab legs and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the crab legs, chile, and thyme to a dish; discard the chile and thyme. Stir the spinach into the skillet until it wilts, about 1 minute. Transfer to a blender and puree until finely chopped. Season to taste with salt, keeping in mind that both the bacon and crab are naturally salty. Top with the bacon and serve with the crab legs.

Carla Hall, The Chew

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  1. I love her!! I was able to do a quick interview with her during Oprah’s Live Your Best Life Tour in Atlanta and I donated to her new restaurant! I also have the Salamander Resort on my list to visit so can’t wait to hear about that.

    1. She is the best, what a dope opportunity. When I go to New York I have to check out her spot. Girl, it is what dreams are made of. I need to go for a weekend stay.

  2. I can’t cook like a chef, but I always want to make it happen! Carla has given some valuable tips. It is so inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. These are amazing tips. What a cool opportunity! I may have to get to NY asap and check out her place.

  4. Like the tip if your in a bad mood make a dinner reservation. Wonderful advice. Enjoyed reading all the tips and ideas. from a wonderful chief.

  5. I really like the tip about not putting lemon juice in your green soups. I had no idea return it brown. That is definitely a good point. That soup looks so good I need to try it.

  6. That spinach stew sounds so good. I have never even heard of Chef Carla, but she sounds like a great cook!

  7. I love Carla Hall and watch her everyday on the Chew! You are so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from her! I love her tips that you shared, especially the one of putting salt in your food while cooking 🙂 Very important!!

  8. I love the quote about dinner reservations. I agree, I don’t want to cook when I’m in a bad mood and sometimes you can taste it in my food.

  9. Oh how I would love to get lessons from Carla herself. What an amazing opportunity! Love these tips – especially the first one. Cooking comes straight from the heart.

  10. These are such good tips and she said it so well. I am a big fan and it’s so great that you were able to chat with her in person and eat her food!

  11. These are such awesome tips and it sounds like such a fun time! Also – no clue that lemon turned green soup brown!

  12. Thanks for sharing I tried the recipe you shared OMG it came out perfect. Deliciousness! I plan take a couple cooking classes soon.

  13. Love carla Hall, i watch her on yhe chew often. I really would like to experience her restaurant because seeibg her on other media plateforms she is really passionate about her souyherb roots.

  14. Carla Hall is definitely a good time!! I remember watching her during Top Chef and thinking ‘I feel like her know her’. She’s just one of those people who instantly makes you feel like you’re long lost friends. Love her tips especially the one about salt – I hate when I got to eat something and there’s just a hunk of salt on top. Yuck! Oh and “if you aren’t in a good mood…make reservations” YES!! Thanks for sharing and making me feel like I was right there with ya’ll!

  15. Cool, Mimi! She’s got some great cooking tips! I don’t taste my food as I cook. I know, I know, I really have to break that bad habit.

  16. Tip #7 bought me back to childhood picking out bayleaves & thinking plants fell in the pot. The worst one was biting into a cardamom pod & it messing up my whole experience!
    Im so going to make that soup minus the crab. Never thought of that flavour combination! thanks x

  17. Oh how I love those list of tips! I’ve never tried or heard that place but I would want to visit. Sounds like an amazing experience for you.

  18. These are all good tips. I didn’t know that about salt, I always put on after. That will change though and I’ll see about adding while I’m cooking from now on.

  19. Oh I love #6 – it’s so great to have your vegetables make its own stock! There’s nothing better or fresher! Love this! Such great tips.

  20. This looks amazing and the tips were GREAT! Some things we do out of habit (like adding salt on the food) but it’s good to have the reminder of what NOT to do.

  21. I heard she was really nice. I watch her on TV sometimes. Very cool you got to meet her and learn from her.

  22. You are using my Trademarked phrase, Always Cook With Love, without permission or credit. Cease and desist. Contact Jeff Williams Trademark Attorney 817.225.6561 with questions.

    Thank you,
    Kelli Coffee, Owner
    Always Cook With Love, LLC

    1. No, I didn’t I mentioned Carla’s book which is titled “Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You”. If you have an issue with the title of her book then you and your attorney can reach out to her. Thanks!

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