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Find Your Happy!

She was a CPA turned Paris runway model. Glamorous, right? But all this celebrity chef wanted was her grandma’s cooking.

By Carla Hall, Washington, D.C.

As appeared in

After two years, it was time to return to the States, even if all my soul-searching hadn’t turned up my dream job. At least I could show off my new skills in the kitchen.

One of the first things I did was cater my sister’s baby shower. The next day, I packed the leftovers in a picnic basket and carried them over to a friend’s office for lunch.

“This is Carla,” my friend announced. “She has a catering business.”

“What’s it called?” her boss asked.

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Before I could protest that cooking was just a hobby, I heard a voice: Find your happy! There it was, so close I could taste it. “It’s called...the...” I stammered, staring at the basket in my hand, “the Lunch Basket.”

That was the humble start to my cooking career. I did open a catering company and eventually enrolled in culinary school. Then I landed on Bravo’s Top Chef, where I impressed the judges with one very special recipe. You guessed it–chicken pot pie!

Granny was right. When I found my happy, I discovered something bigger planned for me, a life more delicious than I could ever have imagined.

Try Carla's recipe for the Tomato-Corn Chowder!

Download your FREE ebook, Paths to Happiness: 7 Real Life Stories of Personal Growth, Self-Improvement and Positive Change.

Carla's Comfort Food cover imageCarla Hall shares mouth-watering recipes in her new book, Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World.