By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado — In case you were wondering who was cooking at the Peterson Health and Wellness Center June 22 it was TV chef Carla Hall and a group of kids and parents whipping up some amazing food.
Hall, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” visited Peterson Air Force Base to kick off her Summer United Services Organization tour of Colorado. She worked with 12 young people and their parents, who were drawn from a list of people who signed up for the chance to take part in the intimate setting of the class. She is continuing the tour by visiting Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy.
Hall participated in her first USO tour last year because she wanted to give something back to the military.
“I think it’s just a way to have a one-on-one exchange with the troops and their families,” Hall said. “It feels so good to actually give back to the people who keep us safe. I walked out the door last year saying, ‘I want to do it again.’”
The USO tour setting is certainly different from “The Chew” where Hall works alongside Daphne Oz, Clinton Kelly and celebrity chefs Michael Symon and Mario Batali. On TV, for example, she explained she will have five minutes at most to get her recipe across, while in a smaller class-type situation she can slow down and teach.
“I can give 10 tips compared to three on TV,” Hall said. She enjoys circulating amongst participants, getting a chance to work with them hands-on. “That’s what I love because people need different things and I can help fix that. You don’t get that on TV.”
She especially likes working with children because they are like a blank canvass. Hall loves to watch them learn, catching that moment when a light goes on and they “get it.” Hall was very interactive with both the children and their parents, providing tips and techniques and engaging them in various ways, even eliciting a promise from the kids they would not engage in a food fight, because she’d get involved.
Along with teaching them how to create a delicious and healthy meal of tarragon chicken and a salad with a vinaigrette dressing, Hall taught participants how to check temperature with their hand, watch for cross contamination, taste as they go, and to clean up after themselves.
“You can’t be that cook, the one who makes a mess and not wash up,” she instructed. But she was pleased with their progress, at one point telling them they were doing so good she didn’t know if she was teaching them anything.
A group from the Aragon Dining Facility assisted Hall by prepping all the food ahead of time. She gave a shout out to Tech Sgt. Marie Mindach-Putnam, 21st Force Support Squadron food service accountant, Senior Airman Alexandria Molony, 21st FSS baker and Airman 1st Class Leo Schultz, 21st FSS cook for their help. Also assisting was Carlos Wade, 21st FSS R.P. Lee Youth Center youth sports director.
A camera crew from “The Chew” is following Hall on the tour. She said each of the co-hosts share what they will do during the hiatus from filming. She told about her experience last year and that she was going to do it again. From there the production team decided to film Hall at the various stops and include them in an episode of the popular daytime show. The segment should air next fall.
At the end of the day as the participants sat down to eat the fruits of their labor, Hall was satisfied her mission was accomplished.
“A child who cooks is a parent’s best dream,” she said.