By peoplestaff225
Updated September 18, 2013 10:45 AM
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The Chew's and Top Chef's Carla Hall

We sat down with the chef and owner of the artisan cookie company Alchemy by Carla Hall to ask your questions about cookbooks, candy, cocktails and more!

You’re always eating such good food! Tell me, what’s the last great meal you ate? —Maya, Boston

“This summer, [my husband] Matthew and I visited Mario Batali and his family in North Port, MI, and we had a lunch made from the bounty of the farmers market: marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, grilled corn, radishes, spring onions, a variety of cheeses and grilled bread. It was so simple, yet so delicious. I remember thinking, ‘life doesn’t get any better than this.'”

I’m registering for my wedding, and I’m overwhelmed by all kitchen tool choices! What gadgets should I put on my list? —Elizabeth, San Diego

“I’m not a gadget girl, but I do love a good peeler and microplane. I want a gadget to have multiple purposes and, besides a knife, these two gadgets get a lot of play in my kitchen.”

I live for happy hours! What’s your go-to drink at a bar? —Jessica, Richmond, VA

“I don’t like the taste of alcohol, but I always want something interesting. I usually choose a fun cocktail and ask the bartender to make it a mocktail. The latest was a Kentucky Buck made with a cayenne simple syrup, lime, mulled strawberries and ginger ale instead of bourbon.”

I’ve cooked almost every recipe from your Cooking with Love book. I’m curious: What’s your favorite cookbook? —Danny, Jackson Hole, WY

“Shirley Corriher’s Cookwise. I love her approachable scientific answers to why something works—plus she’s a good ol’ Southern gal with a sweet tooth.”

I’m a sugar addict! What’s your favorite candy? —Ginnie, Portland, OR

“The Goo Goo Cluster, which reminds me of growing up in Nashville.”

Do you have a favorite restaurant? —Brian, Las Vegas

“One of my favorite restaurants is 8407 Kitchen and Bar in Silver Spring, MD. It’s one of my faves, because, one, this means I’m not traveling and I’m at home with Matthew. Two, we know the owners, so it’s like seeing family when we go. And, three, the food is approachable, seasonal and delicious.”

If tonight was your last night on Earth, what would you eat for your last meal? —Nina, Chicago

“First of all, I would want my last meal to last at least five hours, so that I could eat fond food memories and eat my weight in food. I would want to start with a simple and delicious cheeseburger with the perfectly toasted brioche bun, cheddar cheese, pickles, lettuce, raw onion, tomato, mustard and mayo—and a side of onion rings AND fries. Thyme lemonade to drink. For my next course I would want my Grandma Thelma’s fried chicken, creamed corn and my Granny’s country greens. For dessert I would want a triple lemon cake. Since it’s my last meal and wish, I would want to eat all of this and not feel sick.”

—Sonal Dutt

Got a ‘Burning Question’ for Carla Hall or another celebrity chef? Let us know and your question may appear in a future Great Ideas story!