Food Network

Chef Virginia Willis is the author of Bon Appétit, Y'all and Basic to Brilliant, Y'all, Okra: A Savor the South Cookbook, and Grits by Short Stack Editions. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans love her knack for giving classic French cooking a down-home feel and reimagining Southern recipes en Français.

She writes the popular comfort food blog called Down-Home Comfort that celebrates comfort food cooking for Food Network and the Cooking Channel. 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. She is a contributing editor for Southern Living and her articles have appeared nationally including Food52 and CNN as well as 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, and quoted in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

She 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. Recipe development clients include Georgia Pecan Commission, Roland Foods, Uncle Ben's Rice, Sodexo, Preserving Place, and Whole Foods Market. Her recipe for Sweet Onion Confit won Best of Georgia in 2014. Video content and media training services clients include CharBroil Grills, Roland Foods, The Lisa Ekus Group, and the Ritz Carlton.

She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Chef's Collaborative, Les Dames d'Escoffier, Georgia Organics, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. 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. She participates in Chef's Move to Schools and is also part of the No Kid Hungry Blogger Program for Share our Strength.

Sustainable Seafood: Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Tacos

mamas pound cake October is National Seafood Month. Join in the celebration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium & Seafood Watch. Chefs nationwide will be highlighting tacos on their menu and sharing the story of their sustainable seafood ingredients with their customers — and you can, too!

As a member of the Blue Ribbon Task for Seafood Watch, I’ve developed a simple and tasty Southern-inspired Catfish and Collard Green Slaw Taco. And, with a nod to my next cookbook, Lighten Up, Y’all, I’m broiling the fish instead of frying it. The catfish is cut into strips and topped with a pungent combination of lime juice and Serrano peppers.

I grew up eating catfish. My grandparent’s lived about a mile from the Savannah River, one of Georgia’s longest and largest rivers and defines most of the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina.Wild catfish that live in rivers, lakes and ponds are bottom-dwellers, and the flesh picks up a distinctively earthy flavor. I don’t mind the characteristic taste. However, American farm-raised catfish are fed a diet of high-protein pellets made from soybean meal, corn, and rice that give the flesh a consistent, sweet, mild flavor.
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