Q&A with Halloween Baking Championship Judge Carla Hall
On the new season of Halloween Baking Championship, expect to be blown away by some of the extremely creepy creations the bakers make, but even more than that, be ready for probably the scariest panel of judges you will ever see, and a host who's not afraid to deliver some deadly news to eliminated bakers. Judges Carla Hall, Damiano Carrara and Sandra Lee will be dishing out critiques, while Jeff Dunham will be sending home those bakers who don't meet the spooktacular criteria of the $25,000 competition show. Before you tune in for the premiere on Monday, October 3 at 9|8c, get to know each of them a little better.
Before becoming a chef, Carla was on the path to becoming an accountant, until traveling awakened her passion for cooking. She's appeared on Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars, and currently is a co-host on ABC's chat-and-chew daytime show, The Chew. She recently opened Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant in Nashville.
What do you usually give out to trick-or-treaters?
Do you have any funny Halloween stories you could share from your childhood?
CH: The time I got in trouble after hitting trick-or-treaters with water balloons. I was 13.
CH: I think it was Bootsy Collins on The Chew. It was so much fun because I stayed in character the entire time, and that was a lot of fun.
When it comes to Halloween treats, desserts and sweets, do you lean toward cute or creepy? Why?
CH: I like cute. I don’t like anything slimy or anything gross.
What's your favorite baking trick or tip in general?
CH: Think of ways to use candy in baking. You can use them in cupcakes or cookies or crumble, because you know that you are going to have these things left over.
If you had to bake a cake to impress a Halloween character (like Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.), who would it be and why?
CH: I would pick a witch, because maybe she would let me use her broom to fly somewhere warm.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever had to bake (like a towering croquembouche, or a multi-tiered wedding cake)? How did you get through it?
CH: The scariest thing I had to make was a wedding cake. It was so scary because I was afraid it would be disappointing to people on their most-important day. I got through it by concentrating, obsessing and working very hard. It was incredibly stressful.
CH: Think outside the box. Think of different sweeteners to use. Stay true to yourself.
What criteria are you looking for in a well-executed Halloween dessert?
CH: Something that delivers on flavor, texture, appearance, originality.