Carla Hall has popped up in pop culture so much over the last decade that you might not remember exactly where you first saw her. Maybe it was one of her two turns on “Top Chef,” or maybe it was on the daytime talk show “The Chew,” which she co-hosted for eight years. It could be from a variety of other TV appearances, or one of her three cookbooks, or the restaurant she ran in Brooklyn. The point is, Carla Hall has done quite a few things – and she credits much of success to the lessons she learned through 4‑H.
For Hall, who attended St. Vincent De Paul— an all-black Catholic school — in Nashville, 4‑H provided a much-needed dose of self-esteem. An early foundational experience for her was winning a Blue Ribbon for her artistic entry in a 4‑H competition.
“I learned my art was blue ribbon-worthy, which gave me the confidence to go on. I was such a shy kid and it gave me the confidence to keep doing things,” Hall remembers. But the value of that experience was less about winning something, and more about realizing there was a world beyond her own small town. “The experience was about us supporting each other within the walls of our small school community and knowing that we were learning how to reach out to a larger community, to our state, to our country, and on into the world,” she said.