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Chef Carla Hall’s Top Healthy Cooking and Barbecue Tips

Carla has a whole lot of healthy eating knowledge, with a side of Southern charm!

The “official” season of barbecues may be over. But we say hogwash to that! Not only because saying “hogwash” is fun and makes us think of Harry Potter, which is, you know, pretty rad, but also because now that the temp is cooling down, being outside and cooking food is a super enjoyable way to spend the evening—and it’s still technically summer!

Because barbecues don’t always have the best rep for being healthy (more like cheesey and mayo-y, which wasn’t a word until now), we chatted with Carla Hall—the super charming and fun chef from Bravo’s Top Chef and ABC’s The Chew—for her top tips on how to have a delicious and healthy barbecue, no matter what time of year it is!

Interview with Top Chef’s Carla Hall

  • FBG: What are some fun and unique toppings for burgers?
  • CH: I like pickles, and with the plethora of summer veggies, you can pickle just about anything that would taste good on a burger. Being from the South, I might suggest a corn relish or pickled green beans. Flavored mustards are fun as well, such as raspberry mustard or ale mustard, maple mustard, and the list can go on and on.
  • FBG: When it comes to grilling, what are a couple of the common mistakes people make?
  • CH: Folks tend to keep the grill too hot, burning or charring the food before it’s done in the middle, and not closing the lid. If you have a hot side and a lower temperature side, you’re able to move the food from one side to the other with better results. When the food is on the lower-temp side, close the grill to help hold in the heat and cook the food through.
  • FBG: Do you find that it’s easier to eat healthier or not-so-healthy in the summer and why?
  • CH: Yes, because there’s a lot less oil and fat needed to cook on a grill. Also, any fat on meat or poultry proteins falls through the grill versus sitting in the pan with the meat.
  • FBG: Any tips for healthy eating during these hot months?
  • CH: Eat light. Enjoy raw or quickly cooked foods to maintain the nutrients in the food. Eat larger meals earlier in the day.
  • FBG: What has it been like going from the reality show Top Chef to hosting The Chew? How is it the same? Different?
  • CH: Being on Top Chef helped me get used to cameras being around, so I’m not as self-conscious about them. That being said, on Top Chef I may have had an hour or two to make a dish fabulous, but on The Chew, I’ve got five minutes to demo how to make a dish, tell a story about myself, while chatting with my co-hosts…all while making it look effortless and not rushed.

Up next tomorrow? A recipe for the The Carla Burger…you won’t want to miss it! Now tell us, what’s your favorite healthy burger topping? And any other Carla fans out there? She’s one of our favorite Top Chef contestants ever! —Jenn

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