Bon Appetit Reviews Willa Jean, All you can sweet from John Besh's longtime pastry chef

 

Kelly Fields makes us mad sometimes. The Besh Restaurant Group’s executive pastry chef has a nasty habit of taking life’s simple pleasures—say, a humble platter of cookies and milk—and ruining any other iteration of them for you. At this all-day café, Fields offers the results of her more than seven years of R&D: cookies that are crisp and caramelized around the edges, soft in the center, and studded with gooey pockets containing not one, not two, but three (very specific) varieties of Valrhona chocolate. The milk—cold and rich, infused with Tahitian vanilla bean—miraculously tastes as though one thousand cookies have already been dunked in it. And the kicker? The egg-beater whisk served alongside, onto which clings more raw cookie dough than any grandma, no matter how permissive, would ever let you sneak. Yeah: It’s like that. Everything that comes out of the ovens at Willa Jean—lovingly named after Fields’ grandmother—is pure gold, from the moist cornbread to the tender croissants dusted with everything-bagel seasoning. While it’s true that the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, our preferred meal here figures primarily of carbs and sugar. Look what you’ve done to us, Kelly.  PRO TIP: If you’re visiting NOLA from far afield, stop in for a bite and a box of sweets to go before catching your flight—a great gift, if you can keep from eating it all on the plane.   THE DETAILS: Open seven days a week starting at 7 a.m. The space is big, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have to wait, but if you do, it’ll be during weekend brunch.