Carla Hall's Greatest Food Mistake And The Lesson It Taught Her

The fear of failure is real and can be debilitating if we let it. But, let's face it. No matter how hard we try, we're all going to fail more than a handful of times throughout our lives. Chef and television personality Carla Hall relates and recalled a time when she didn't let such fears get in her way on Food & Wine's "The Communal Table" podcast.

During her time as sous chef at The Henley Park Hotel's restaurant in Washington D.C., Hall was working a wedding tea reception. Fresh out of culinary school, Hall was knocking it out of the park before everything came to a screeching halt as she miscalculated how much food was needed to feed the wedding party. As trays of food dwindled by the hands of the hungry guests, the young chef Hall felt a huge dose of defeat.

Hall probably garnered many takeaways that day. But, the number one thing she says she learned was that "no matter how much you're left in charge, it's always the team that gets the work done." She adds, "I learned to operate like there is no low man and there's no one in the corner office. Every single job is needed to keep the ship from upending."

Teamwork makes the dream work

Chef Hall's life lesson has to do with learning to accept a helping hand. It is, in fact, about teamwork.

You can probably imagine how much the budding culinary celebrity must have wanted to crawl under one of the tea party's tables. She tells Food & Wine that she felt as though she "had upended a ship that I was entrusted to steer." But, in spite of her embarrassment, she and her staff went from zero to 60 in a stressful mad dash to stretch resources. Even the busboys were running next door to a neighboring hotel to collect much-needed items to make "a lot of somethings out of nothing."

She says that despite the urge to throw in the towel she did, in fact, "keep the train on the tracks" by kicking herself (with her team's assistance) into high gear. From jumping in on the sandwich assembly line to stretching the desserts beyond their original intent, the young Hall gave it her all that day. But, without the entire team, she knows it would not have turned out the winning event that it was. 

No matter who you are or where you are in life, none of us are above accepting help from others. High tides rise all ships, after all.