Virginia Willis

Award-winning chef and cookbook author 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 hunted for truffles in France. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, has spoken at SXSW, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Jane Fonda, and Aretha Franklin with her cooking -- and it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.

Chef Virginia is one of the most respected voices on Southern food and culture. She is the author of the much-anticipated Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South premiering May 2018. Her other books include Lighten Up, Y'all; Bon Appétit, Y'all; Basic to Brilliant, Y'all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Healthy Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards.

She writes the popular food blog “Cooking with Virginia” on and is an Editor-at-Large for Southern Living. Virginia has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, A Chef’s Life, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, Paula Deen's Best Dishes, “In the Kitchen with David” on QVC, CNN International, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She divides her time between Atlanta, Georgia and New England. To learn more about Virginia, click here.

On the Blog

Weeknight Cooking: Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso

nachos Nachos are a go-to weeknight dinner in our home when the day has been a bit more crazy than usual. What’s not to like? Nachos are quick and easy – a few vegetables and perhaps a bit of protein tossed in a hot skillet, all topped with a bit of cheese, and you’re good to go. They’re positively craveable. The trouble is that nachos can tip into unhealthy territory pretty quick. What’s the trick into keeping them out of the junk food category?

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Holiday Entertaining Tips: Smoky Cheese Straws

smoky cheese straws Holiday Entertaining should be relaxed, comfortable, and enjoyable for both the hosts and the guests – and that comes with organization and planning ahead, from the guest list to the music to the menu — and everything in between. Not planning ahead and thinking things through makes for a stressed-out host and that’s no fun. Of course, one of the most important elements with holiday entertaining is the menu.

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Peanut Powder Chicken Wings for GameDay

peanut powder chicken wings Go Dawgs! I was in LA earlier this week shooting videos for my new line of meal kits with Chef’d. I had a great time and while I was waiting at the airport I learned that Georgia was ranked #1 in the College Football Playoffs poll. Woo-hoo! Now, being a Dawg fan can be tough. We brace for disappointment, but it seems Coach Smart is turning things around. However, instead of getting ahead of ourselves and thinking about playing Alabama in the SEC championship in December, I think we need to focus on the next game which is the South Carolina gamecocks. So, today, I am sharing with you a great gameday recipe for Peanut Powder Gamecock Chicken Wings.

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Chef’d – Southern Comfort Delivered

chef'd Last week I taught in Tampa and then spent a few days in Florida helping my dear friend Claire move into her new home and do some chores. (I fell in love with pressure washing!) It’s been pretty crazy lately — so it was good to step out of my box and do something different and it felt really good to help my friend. Work has been busy testing recipes for Nomiku and creating, writing, ....

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What’s in Season: Georgia Pecans

pecans I love pecans and it’s pecan season! I grew up in south Georgia, home to pecans, peaches, and peanuts. In south and middle Georgia there are pecan groves as far as the eye can see. The Willson family at Sunnyland Farms recently invited me down to check out their multi-generational farm and write a piece about them. Sunnyland Farms is a 1,760 acre farm in Albany, Georgia.

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