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Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Shailene Woodley, and Aretha Franklin with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.
Virginia is the author of Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, as well as Okra and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree and has traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to snail farming in France. She 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.
She is an Editor-at-Large and author of the popular column “Cooking with Virginia” for Southern Living. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Her eponymous food blog, tagged as a favorite blog by Saveur magazine, offers recipes and stories from her culinary adventures. 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. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at www.virginiawillis.com.