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 hunted for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen; her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She specializes in chef-inspired recipes for home cooks.
She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. As one of the more well known female Southern chefs, Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Julie Chrisley, and Bill Clinton with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.
The word fruitcake immediately conjures images of boozy brown bricks studded with bizarre colored unidentifiable bits of fruit. I am not certain how fruitcake became