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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. 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.

Comfort Food: Grits Recipes

gritsI love grits. I wrote a book about grits. I am a Grits Missionary. Grits are ground corn, and like many porridges, the ultimate comfort food. The difference is the kind of grit. If the only grits you have ever had came out of a paper packet and were cooked in a microwave with a coffee cup of water, of course you don’t like grits! Heal thyself with a bowl of good grits, real grits, grits with soul. The key to finding comfort and salvation in a bowl of grits is simple: use whole grain grits that taste like corn; use plenty of liquid to ensure the grains cook until they are smooth; and lastly, slowly cook grits for a long period of time to entice the natural starch from the grains so that they are rich and creamy. I’m home in Evans, GA visiting my mother and sister this week. I also taped an episode with my friend Vera Stewart of her cooking show VeryVera that will air March 21 on NBC26. It just so happens that Mama is feeling a bit under the weather. It’s nothing terribly serious, but it’s still my mama and it’s still worrisome. Fast forward to the above mentioned bowl of comfort. My mama has a bowl of cheese and bacon grits every morning for breakfast, pretty much every single morning. This is where I found my love for grits. Click here to read the rest of this recent blog.