The Wonder Women of Food and Wine

Chef Kelly Fields

Willa Jean

New Orleans, LA

Growing up in the Low Country of South Carolina, it wasn’t long before Chef Kelly Fields discovered her passion for cooking, baking and the city of New Orleans. After graduating from Johnson & Wales in Charleston, she moved to New Orleans and began working as pastry chef at Restaurant August. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Fields left to travel the world before landing in San Francisco where she helped open Martins West.

After working as the executive pastry chef of BRG Hospitality, Kelly fulfilled her dream of opening a Southern-inspired restaurant and bakery, Willa Jean, in 2015. Willa Jean has received local and national recognition, such as Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine’s Bakery and Beyond award and making the list of Travel + Leisure’s favorite bakeries around the world.

Fields also earned significant praise in Bon Appétit, National Geographic, Saveur and Southern Living. In 2016, she won Eater New Orleans’ Chef of the Year and Readers’ Choice awards. She has also been named one of the most influential people in the South by Garden & Gun and one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Dessert Professional. She has been named a finalist or nominee for the Outstanding Pastry Chef James Beard Award each year from 2015 to 2019.

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