Virginia Willis On Top of the World! Rancho la Puerta


Georgia-born French-trained chef Virginia Willis has foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and executed the food styling for a Superbowl commercial seen by over 160 million people.

She is a chef instructor on Food Network Kitchen as well as a James Beard award-winning cookbook author. Her books include Fresh Start: Cooking with Virginia My Real Life Daily Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss; Secrets of the Southern TableLighten Up, Y’allBon Appétit, Y’allBasic to Brilliant, Y’allOkra, and Grits.

Beginning in 2019 Virginia lost 65 pounds and has kept if off for over 2 1/2 years. In 2022, her health journey has been documented in Eating Well magazine, as a cover story for Woman’s World, Allrecipes magazine, and AARP.

Virginia has embraced her new outlook on life and has become a cheerleader for those wanting to make their own life changes, “If a French-trained Southern chef can do it, you can, too!”

She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and FriendsMartha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Virginia has also been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating WellGarden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. 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. Learn more about Virginia and follow her good and good for you recipes and traveling exploits at

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