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 a Contributing Editor for Southern Living and her column “Cooking with Virginia” will debut this fall. 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

Barbecue Ribs: Five Great Recipes

chicken saladBarbecue ribs are one of the great recipes of summer. I cook them on the gas grill, the Big Green Egg, and I even roast them in the oven when it’s a rainy day. Barbecue ribs are always a big hit. First of all, being from Georgia, when I say Barbecue Ribs, I mean pork. And, when it comes to deciding what type of pork ribs to barbecue, there are essentially three choices – baby-back ribs, spareribs, and country-style ribs. Click here to read the rest of the this recent blog.

Peachy Keen: Chicken Salad

leeksA few weeks ago Julia Moskin wrote an article in the New York Times about chicken salad and Southern luncheons. I love chicken salad — as do many Southerners. It most often contains mayonnaise, which is not merely a condiment in the South. Mayonnaise is more like a food group for my people. However, I got the feeling while reading the article that some folks outside of the South have perhaps forgotten about just how great chicken salad can be, that there’s a slight retro vibe to chicken salad. Click here to read the rest of the this recent blog.

How to Make Biscuits: And MORE!

leeksWant to learn how to make biscuits? How about crispy fried chicken, tender whole grain cornbread, and chef-quality shrimp and grits? Of course, you do! I’ve recently partnered with to create an online video series called Southern Classics at Home. Subscribers will receive recipes, step-by-step instructions, and watch me as they learn how to make Biscuits, Crispy Fried Chicken, Whole Grain Stone Ground Cornbread, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, Classic Stone Ground Grits, Cheese Grits Casserole, Shrimp and Grits, Okra and Tomatoes, Mustard Greens with Smoked Turkey Neck, Low Country Boil, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Weeknight Pulled Pork Tenderloin, Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce, AND Classic Pulled Pork Shoulder! Phew! Click here to read the rest of this recent blog.