Summer entertaining is in full swing, so what are some new creative ideas to help you throw your next get-together? On this episode of YurView’s Creative Living show, television personality, author and beloved Chef Carla Hall shares tips for your next gathering and some of her favorite summer dishes that are sure to please your guests.
Watch the video above as show host Jane Clauss interviews Chef, or you can read the interview transcription we’ve provided below (lightly edited for clarity).
Visiting Chef Series at Esquire
Jane Clauss, Host of Creative Living (00:55) – We are so happy to welcome television personality, author and one of America’s most loved chefs, Carla Hall, to the show. Hi, Carla, how’s your summer going?
Chef Carla Hall (01:06) – It is going really well. Right now, I’m at home in Washington DC.
JC (01:12) – And I know you do a lot of traveling. So you must be so happy to be at home. And I understand that you are part of the Visiting Chef Series at Esquire in Chicago. Tell us about that.
CH (01:26) – Ah, it has been so amazing. So I was in Chicago last week when we launched, and my menu is very much a part of who I am. The inspiration comes from my book, Carla Hall’s Soul Food Everyday and Celebration. And so it runs from I guess the 27th of June all the way to October 2nd. And I spent three full days just talking to people, touching tables and getting excited about them coming to eat my food.
JC (02:00) – Alright, so give us a little sneak peek of the dishes on the menu at Esquire.
CH (02:05) – Okay, so the mac and cheese. That’s a celebration dish. When you add a tail of lobster and claw meat, we have upped the celebration to the lobster mac and cheese with cornbread croutons. We have my hot chicken on the menu – hot chicken with biscuits and a coleslaw with some spicy pickles. But to start, because there’s never a party without deviled eggs, there are short cut deviled eggs, come on.
Chef’s Go-To Summer Dishes
JC (02:37) – Now my mouth is watering just listening to these delicious dishes on this menu. I can’t wait to try them all. And Carla, we know that this is peak summer entertaining time. What is your go-to dish for summer entertaining?
CH (02:53) – So my go-to dish…Ratatouille. You see tomatoes in the market. You see squash. You see eggplant. And I know it’s not southern, but it’s Southern in France somewhere. And I love it. And I love to do different hummus. I love doing different pesto. These are all the things that you can make, have them in the fridge.
(03:16) – When you’re entertaining, I put these things in little bowls. And I have roasted tomatoes. And I have like beans tossed with olive oil and herbs. And I put those on a platter with breads and chips and vegetables. So when you have gotten down to the little bits and bobs, you just switch out the bowl. The platter doesn’t look all messy. So it is perfect for entertaining.
Tips for Home Cooks
JC (03:41) – What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to entertaining in the summer?
CH (03:48) – I think everyone is enamored with the grill. Okay, I love the grill. But one of the things whenever I go to someone’s house and I’m like oh, do I smell the food yet? And I don’t smell the food because they want to throw the food on the grill when you get there. That is a prepare ahead thing. When I get to your house for dinner, I kind of want to smell the food. There’s a timing issue I think sometimes with home cooks.
(04:13) – So the things that you want to do last minute are like corn. If you want to do something like peaches or some kind of grilled Romaine, those are last minute things to do on the grill. Your meat. Your burgers, of course are sort of in the middle there. You don’t have to do those way in advance, but the chicken and everything that needs to be done in advance. And I think people should really think about their timing.
JC (04:35) – What is the must-make from your cookbook for summertime entertaining?
CH (04:41) – Oh my goodness. So there are lots of salads. All of the fresh, anything with tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, cantaloupe, all of those recipes were made in the season. So it is literally all of those summer vegetables, anything with corn, a succotash. It’s in there. And those are the things that I think I want you to make for the summer. They’re perfect.
JC (05:07) – Carla Hall, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us.
CH (05:10) – Thank you so much for having me.
JC (05:13) – All right. If you want more information, just head over to Carla’s website.
For more summer entertaining ideas, watch the full episode of Creative Living, including the latest outdoor design trends and ways to keep your outdoor space cool all summer long.