Chef Virginia Willis on set of Alex vs America

Watch Virginia compete on the Season Premier of Alex vs America

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Chef Virginia Willis on set of Alex vs America

Chef Virginia Willis faces off in one of the fiercest culinary competitions on TV when she takes on fellow James-Beard Award-winning chefs on the season premiere of the hit primetime series Alex vs. America, Sunday, April 16 on Food Network!

Competition is nothing new for Virginia who has competed on Chopped and served as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, but she readily admits the invitation to compete against two other powerhouse Beard-award winners was intriguing and a little daunting as well.

Virginia Willis with Beard Award

James Beard Foundation

“When I agreed to participate, I knew I would be going head-to-head with some of the best chefs in America,” said Virginia. Virginia says she was particularly honored to be chosen to appear on the Alex vs America episode featuring James Beard Award winners because that recognition is one of the highlights of her career. (Look at that smile!)

Virginia, who received a James Beard Foundation Award for her cookbook, “Lighten Up, Y’all” is a French-trained chef who has cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants and managed kitchens for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and others.

Chefs Jonathan Sawyer, Virginia Willis, and Nate Appleman on the set of Alex vs America

Best New Chef

In addition to superchef Alex Guarnaschelli, she will be competing against award-winning powerhouse chefs Jonathan Sawyer and Nate Appleman. Sawyer is chef-owner at Adorn Bar and Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. He is a former Food and Wine Best New Chef and appears frequently on Food Network programs. Appleman is also a Food and Wine Best New Chef recipient as well as a Beard Foundation Rising Chef award-winner. He is a consultant, former restaurant owner, cookbook author, and Food Network regular.

Behind-the-scenes sneak peek before the Alex vs America kitchen heats up — and a “V for Virginia!” 

Food Network’s Hit Series

In Alex vs. America, acclaimed chef and Food Network icon Alex Guarnaschelli competes against three culinary superstars at the same time over two rounds. The competitors hail from across the United States but share the same mastery of a culinary genre, one that they have spent endless hours in their own kitchens perfecting and which will be tested in an effort to take down Alex.

At the start of each battle, host Eric Adjepong presents Alex and the competitors with the culinary theme for their dishes. In the first round, the competitors can work together to select ingredients and even decide how much time goes on the clock. Each dish undergoes a blind tasting from two judges well-versed in the episodic theme, with only the top three chefs advancing to the next round and the least successful challenger sent home – even if it is Alex. Judges Stephanie Izard and Kwame Onwauchi have the challenging task of naming a winner.

Virginia Willis Instagram QR Code

Follow Virginia Willis on Instagram!


Can-Do Attitude

“I wanted to challenge myself with this incredible opportunity that I was given to test myself!” says Virginia. “One thing I have said for a very long time is that you can be certain that you will fail if you don’t try.”

For more about Virginia’s can-do attitude (and quelling negative thoughts) check out her thoughtful piece about a 7-mile hike and climbing a mountain!

Find out if she wins it all on Alex vs America this weekend on Food Network! 

Bon Appetit, Y’all!

Virginia Willis


McCraney Communications

Melanie McCraney



Let’s cook something up! If you are interested in hosting me for a speaking engagement, event, cooking class, or a book signing, let me know! Send an email to and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

I am not a doctor, RD, health professional, or WW representative. I am simply sharing what works for me. My blog is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.

Note that this post may contain affiliate links and I may make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.

Please be nice. Unauthorized use and/or duplication is prohibited. All photos and content are copyright protected. If you wish to republish this recipe, please link back to this recipe on Thanks so much!


Virginia Willis cookbooks


Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Virginia Willis

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 Super Bowl commercial seen by over 160 million people. Virginia is a Beard award-winning cookbook author, chef, content creator, and motivational speaker. She has lost 65# and kept it off for more than 3 years. Because of her own health journey, she is a cheerleader for others seeking to make lifestyle changes to feel healthier and happier. Her experience inspired her to launch “Good and Good for You” a lifestyle brand rooted in culinary that shares health and wellness content through digital channels; public speaking; and print media. Fans love her approachable spirit and friendly down-to-earth style. For more information visit

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Patty Rech

    Rooting for you tooth and nail, VW!

  2. Anonymous

    So exciting! Glad you did this and can’t wait to watch you!

  3. Lori McLain

    We will be watching! Go Virginia !,,,

  4. Anonymous

    Good luck, Virginia! With your talent, you’re a shoe-in…
    Stephanie Smithmyer

Leave a Reply