Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, and Aretha Franklin with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.

Virginia is the author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’allBon Appétit, Y’allBasic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; 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, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

She is the author of the popular column “Cooking with Virginia” for Southern Kitchen and Editor at Large for Southern Living. 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 traveling exploits at