For Carla Hall, It’s Been a Bumpy Climb to a ‘Top Chef’ Life

Carla Hall’s tarot card reading was running long. Astrology, numerology, psychics, the Chinese zodiac — she’s open to all manner of metaphysical messaging.

I slipped off my shoes in the foyer of her century-old house in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, D.C., out of respect for a recent million-dollar gut renovation. Then I went to wait in her airy kitchen, which happens to have the most expertly arranged, hand-labeled spice drawer I have ever encountered.

Ms. Hall finally bounded down the stairs with news from the reading. “Oh, my God,” she said. “It was so good. All stars point to ‘this is your year.’ ’’

Indeed, Ms. Hall seems to be everywhere. She’s selling $88 carrot cakes and nesting bowls decorated with okra flowers from her Sweet Heritage line on QVC. She made croquettes from Doritos at the Super Bowl’s Taste of the N.F.L. event. She is luminous in a recent People magazine spread marking her 60th birthday, which arrives in May. (She’s a Taurus.)

And of course, she’s on TV, the medium that made her a food star almost from the moment she was introduced to the world as “kooky Carla” in the fifth season of “Top Chef” in 2008. This year, she’ll judge Food Network baking championships, appear on “Beat Bobby Flay” and serve as a guest judge when “Top Chef” returns in March.

Ms. Hall shot to fame as contestant who meditated regularly and sang a lot on the fifth season of “Top Chef.”Credit…Giovanni Rufino/Bravo/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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