Virginia Willis

Chef Virginia Willis is the author of Lighten Up, Y'all, Bon Appétit, Y'all and Basic to Brilliant, Y'all, Okra: A Savor the South Cookbook, and Grits by Short Stack Editions. Lighten Up, Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health category and was a finalist for Best American cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She is currently in development with WGBH for a series called Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South to air nationally on public television stations.

She is an Editor at Large for Southern Living and author of the magazine’s popular column “Cooking with Virginia.” The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." A popular Southern chef, her legion of fans love her knack for giving classic French cooking a down-home feel and reimagining Southern recipes en Français. Her eponymous food blog, tagged as a favorite blog by Saveur magazine, receives rave reviews for her recipes and stories celebrating her Southern heritage and classic French training. Her articles have appeared nationally including Southern Living, Food52, CNN, All Recipes, Country Living, Eating Well, Family Fun, and Fine Cooking. As a nationally recognized Southern food and beverage authority she has been featured in the Washington Post, and USA Today, Serious Eats, and Tasting Table and quoted in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Virginia is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree. She was the producer of Epicurious on the Discover Channel and Home Plate for Turner Studios. In front of the camera, Virginia has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, Paula Deen's Best Dishes, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in recipe development, content creation, culinary editorial services, culinary video production, spokesperson representation, and media training.

She is a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Georgia Organics, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. She participates in Chef's Move to Schools and is also part of the No Kid Hungry Blogger Program for Share our Strength. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force. As an Atlanta chef, she is proud to be on the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board as well as the Atlanta Community Farmer's Market Advisory Board.

On the Blog

Quick and Easy: Drop Biscuits

Kentucky Derby DaysThere’s been basket after basket of biscuits in my life of late. I shared my thoughts on “Love and Biscuits” with in celebration of Mother’s Day. Last weekend I made Country Ham Biscuits and offered them in a segment with folks at Fox & Friends, along with a Pimento Cheese recipe while at the Kentucky Derby. Then, over the past few days I have been asked multiple times about Drop Biscuits - so I figured it would be a good idea to share a recipe with you.

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How to Make: Chocolate Pots de Creme

chocolate pots de cremeEarlier this week I was trying to clean things up on the blog and accidentally sent out a post of photos without recipes titled “Deliciously Dull Dinners” that had been languishing in the draft folder for 6 years. Oops! Life is not perfect. I still can’t share the recipes for the random shots of Pork Chops and Brussels Sprouts, but I do have this delicious recipe for Chocolate Pots de Crème. Why did I include undeniably creamy and indulgent Chocolate Pots de Crème in a post titled “Deliciously Dull?”

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How to Cut: Butternut Squash

butternut squashToday I was chopping butternut squash for a recipe project for an international media brand. The assignment has been a little outside of my creative box and I’ve been thrilled how exciting it is to stretch beyond my comfort zone. That’s how we grow as professionals! While I was prepping the vegetables, we shot this video showcasing a really simple technique on how to cut hard winter squash like butternut, kabocha, and even slightly softer ones like acorn. It works with other hard winter vegetables like rutabaga and sweet potato, as well. The knife technique is all about working smarter and safer — not harder!

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