Oh hey. What’s up? How’s your day going? Mine’s fine. Woke up, made coffee, took care of some kids, talked on the phone with one of my all-time favorite Top Chef contestants ever, made more coffee…
Yes, it is true. I got to “interview” Carla Hootie Hoo Hall this morning. Though I don’t think one technically “interviews” Carla as much just talks to Carla ’bout stuff and things because…I don’t know.* She’s awesome like that.
*And I am clearly a Serious Media Professional Who Did Not Just Giggle Straight Through a 20-Minute Phone Call Because EEEEEEEEE CARLA.
So Carla is coming back to our teevees, people. She’s co-hosting The Chew on ABC with Mario Batali, Michael Simon, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz. It’s a daytime talk show roundtable thingie about food and entertaining and health and ALSO FOOD. (Yes, the name is kind of a pun: It’s like The View. But about ALSO AGAIN FOOD.) It debuts September 26th at 1 pm.
Apparently a lot of people are VERY MAD at ABC for canceling their soap operas and then daring to ever air something different in that time slot ever again. Like pages and pages of screeching comment sections all over the Internet because raaaaggggggge. Objection noted, I guess? I have strict personal rule about no daytime television — as a work-from-home-mom type, it’s always seemed like a slippery slope into I-Got-Absolutely-Nothing-Accomplished-Today-Unwashed-Ville, so I curbed my soap habit (Days Of Our Lives, represent!) back in college. And I have never actually watched an entire episode of The View, because the Internet is very efficient at letting me know when one of the ladies said something dumb that morning.
But I will be TiVo-ing The Chew, because I love Carla. And Mario. And food. You guys know how I get about food. And Carla’s enthusiasm for the show is pretty damn infectious. Here, let me cough some of it on you. Hooray! You’re a zombie now.
I asked Carla what, in particular, she was most excited about (and how this show will try to stand out from all the food-centric programming on all the food-centric cable channels), and she talked about her love of teaching cooking classes…but not cooking classes that focus on how to make perfect food. “Stuff goes wrong in the kitchen,” she pointed out, so she’ll be showing ideas for improvising and course-correcting. “You gotta have a Plan B.”
(Here is where I rambled on about my many failed baking attempts, because while I like to think I’m pretty good on my feet in regards to cooking, I apparently have the reading comprehension of a slug when it comes to baking recipes. I get halfway into the process and suddenly realize I have to Google for a substitution or have no idea what “firm, yet doughy” means and end up with a disaster. Carla — who has a thriving mail-order cookie business [DC-area Whole Foods will be selling them soon, too] — listened politely to my baking dumbassity and said yes, they’ll do their best to show people like me what to do when things don’t go as planned, like cracked cakes and overcooked whatevers. PLEASE DO.)
The Chew will also try to help families get out of their mid-week meal rut with fast, healthy budget-friendly meals that aren’t dumbed-down for kids but also not, you know, ridiculous. And while the hosts CLEARLY love good food and butter and pasta, they will be roundtabling (shut up, it’s a verb) about the unavoidable issues like health and childhood obesity and hunger in America. And playing games with each other. Carla would like you to know that she is very, very excited about the games, because if you HADN’T NOTICED, she tends to do pretty well with the pressure of competition.
She mentioned people getting to know her “as a person” several times, so I had to ask: Even though she was almost universally embraced and loved by Top Chef fans (All-Stars Fan Favorite winner), was she saying that the infamous “reality show editing” kept us from really getting to know the real her?
No, nothing like that — there is probably no footage of Carla messing with people’s ovens or stealing pea puree, but she IS looking forward to people realizing that while being a chef if her JOB, it’s not everything. She’s, you know, a human being with a life who steps out of the kitchen occasionally.
Anyway! That’s my little contribution to the publicity cog, and I’m happy to oblige because Carla is lovely and a DC local and it was really excellently cool to get to chat with her. You go, Hootie, and score one for the nice people.