BLACK VOICES

Carla Hall, Top Chef Alum And Co-Host Of 'The Chew,' At Sunday Dinner

11/20/2011 08:38 am ET

Truth be told, we live for the weekends. Not only because it gives us the opportunity to wax poetic with our favorite foodie friends, but also because we can give their tried-and-true Sunday dinner recipes a try.

For Carla Hall, who spends her workweek in New York City, shooting episodes of ABC's "The Chew," weekends are especially sacred. Carla spends them with her husband Matthew in D.C., cooking up hearty meals like black pepper chicken curry, spicy meatloaf (alongside mashed potatoes with a well in the center to catch the gravy and peas) and her grandmother's five-flavor pound cake (a recipe she remembers giving away, during her restaurant days, to patrons who could guess the flavors in it).

As a two-time competitor on Bravo's "Top Chef," we know Carla Hall can take the heat. So we delved further into her Sunday routine with this quick-fire Q&A:

Coffee or tea?
"Tea."
Pancakes or eggs?
"Pancakes."
Newspaper -- online or old school?
"Old school, newspaper."
Brunch in or out?
"In."
Church or yoga?
"Yoga...these days."
Stroll in the park or errands at Target?
"Ooh...Tar-jay! Tar-jay first, because they open early, then the park. Ooh...that was hard. That was a trick question."
Football on TV or football in the yard with family or friends?
"TV and yard work."
"60 Minutes" or "Real Housewives of New Jersey"?
"60 Minutes."
Blackberry on or off?
"Off."
Every Sunday without fail, I ....
"Every Sunday without fail I watch a movie early in the morning."

Movies aren't the only thing that happen early at Carla's house. Dinner does, too, followed by late-evening snacks (usually ice cream, she says) and, on occasion, packing up leftovers from food her husband Matthew cooks to hold her over during the week.

It's no surprise that Carla's Sunday dinner routine is rooted deeply in family tradition. "With my cousins and our aunts, we all went to my grandmother's house, every Sunday," she says, a trip to Lebannon, Tennessee (Carla grew up in Nashville) that inevitably started out with everyone waiting around for grandma's cornbread to finish baking.

"Every Sunday I would say 'I wish we had a telephone,' because my grandmother [wouldn't] put the cornbread in the oven until we were actually there. [I'd say] 'We're 15 minutes away, can't we call her and tell her to put it in so that when we get there we can eat?'" she says. "That's a huge tradition in our family."

The wait, however, was undoubtedly worth it, and the resulting meals a driving force behind Carla's love for food and success she's had in the culinary arts, success she's willing to share with these favorite go-to recipes.

Check out more of Carla's recipes at thechew.com

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