EATER: Willa Jean’s Lauded Chef Kelly Fields Just Landed Her First Cookbook Deal

May 3, 2018
By: Stephanie Carter, Eater New Orleans 

Willa Jean’s Kelly Fields just landed her first cookbook deal, which means the James Beard finalist and chef will finally share the chocolate chip cookie recipe whose dough alone has been called the “most brilliant restaurant dessert.” (It only took the exacting chef about two years, baking the cookies almost every single day, before she felt she had the perfect recipe.)

Written with Food & Wine contributing editor Kate Heddings, the hardcover cookbook will contain more than 125 recipes, including Aunt Jean’s lemon chiffon pie. Fields also plans to write a personal narrative, honing in on her unique approach to Southern baking.

“I’ve been working in restaurant kitchens for over 20 years. Writing a book is a whole new challenge for me — one that I’m really excited for. I have an awesome partner in Kate Heddings, and I’m looking forward to diving into the writing process with her,” Fields told Eater New Orleans. Read more...

New Orleans Dining Guide 2018: Breakfast

April 25, 2018
By: Ian McNulty, The Advocate 

When chefs tackle bar food, we call it a gastropub. The way Kelly Fields has built up her downtown bakery and café, the term “gastrodiner” seems to fit. Fields, pastry chef for BRG Hospitality, made her name with exquisite desserts. Willa Jean, named for her grandmother, pairs modern design with a menu that can feel as cozy as a creaking back porch. It’s a spot for biscuits with fried chicken and sausage gravy in the morning, composed salads and avocado toast at lunch, a glass of rosé after the workday and a salt-speckled chocolate chip cookie to get you through it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Read more...

Food & Wine: 10 Chefs Who Make Their Restaurants Happier, Healthier Places to Work

March 15, 2018
By: Kat Kinsman, Food & Wine

Since the day Willa Jean opened its doors, it was the restaurant that I always wanted to work at. That means we have always had a work-life balance. For management, nobody works over 50-60 hours a week. The normal restaurant is 100 hours. We don't let that happen. We have a very competitive fitness program in the management team, where we all do boxing classes and Pilates together. I match all of my managers' gym fees. We check in with each other every damn day.

Walks are a really great way to connect with my people, and for them to connect with me. Or we'll sit at our outside seating, outside of it all. That's the key: get outside of it. Read more...

New Orleans women chefs and the fight for kitchen equality

October 16, 2017
By: Helen Freund, Gambit Weekly 

New Orleans Women Chefs and the Fight for Kitchen Equality 

 

In New Orleans, more and more women are leading kitchens or stepping into executive chef positions, and a younger generation of chefs is following in the footsteps of trailblazing chefs and restaurateurs like Susan Spicer (Bayona & Mondo), Leah Chase (Dooky Chase's Restaurant), JoAnn Clevenger (Upperline Restaurant) and Michelle McRaney (Mr. B's Bistro).

Read more...