Eater: Here Are New Orleans' James Beard Award Semifinalists for 2019

By: Clair Lorell, Eater

The James Beard Foundation has announced its awards semifinalists for what is considered the greatest distinction in the restaurant industry, and New Orleans is well-represented. This is the “long list;” the “short list” of finalists will be announced March 27 and the winners will named in Chicago on May 6.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant and serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the last five years.

Kelly Fields of Willa Jean is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. She was a nominee in 2017 and 2018. Read more….

New Orleans’ French Quarter is a Year-Round Mardi Gras for LGBT Tourists

By: Mark Thompson, MetroSource

The LGBTQ community is invited to party In a city where tradition triumphs over tragedy and every meal is cause for celebration…Equally tempting for breakfast is Willa Jean in the city’s Central Business District, where James Beard-nominated chef Kelly Fields channels her grandmother Willa Jean’s spunky spirit with recipes that celebrate Southern hospitality. The morning menu features a complete section devoted solely to biscuits — for which Grandma Willa Jean deserves a hallelujah chorus. …Read More….

Frobes: A Chef's Guide to Eating and Drinking Your Way Through Paris

By: Melissa Kravitz, Forbes

"When I need a dose of pure inspiration, not just in food, but in life, Paris is my go-to," says chef Kelly Fields. The chef and partner of New Orleans' Willa Jean and four-time James Beard Award nominee recently returned from an impromptu (and delicious) culinary trip to Paris, where she sought out inspiration for her Louisiana bakery and restaurant, plus, an upcoming cookbook.

"This particular trip was a last-minute decision because I realized that I needed to pick my head up for a breath of fresh air." Having not spent  time in Paris since shifting from pastry chef to restaurant owner and entrepreneur, Fields looked forward to, "returning to familiar things with new eyes, new perspectives and a bit more maturity was an interesting experience to learn how my train of thought has shifted." She was also interested in seeing firsthand if and how the changing labor laws were impacting what Parisian dining looks like today. Read More….

Travel + Leisure: The Very Best Breakfast Spots in the US

By: Amy Shulman, Travel + Leisure

….After all, there’s nothing quite like breakfast: people around the world echo the sentiment that it’s the most important meal of the day. But there’s more to breakfast than just its eminence. It’s reminiscent of the good ole days, ones replete with leisurely mornings and those spent dashing off to school, of skinned knees and mini marshmallows floating in hot chocolate. And, of course, it’s worth mentioning that breakfast simply tastes good.

At Willa Jean, you’re here for the biscuits. Chef Kelly Fields expertly laminates the dough with thick sheets of butter, crafting flaky biscuits often likened to croissants. These tremendous square biscuits might be flecked with pimento cheese and crackly boudin (this is Louisiana after all), or showered with sausage gravy. Order at least one for the table (although you’ll undoubtedly ask for seconds), then dive into a bowl of shrimp and grits or braised short rib flush with caramelized pearl onions and crispy garlic. On your way out, stop at the counter to load up on squat banana bread loaves, sticky buns and chocolate chip cookies. Read More….

Taste of The South: 12 Cookies to Try

September 2018 issue, print
By: Georgia Clarke

Now you don't have to decide between the dough or a baked cookie, thanks to this Crescent City staple. Not only do their chocolate chip cookies come with a glass of vanilla-infused milk for dunking, they're accompanied by a beater of gooey cookie dough. 

Extra Crispy: This Sandwich is a Rainbow of LGBTQ+ Delight

By: Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy

Brunch, by most reckonings, is the gayest meal. It's just a thing, and Kelly Fields—who we selected as our 2017 Breakfast Chef of the Year—has set out to make the rainbow blaze even brighter with the addition of the LGBTQ+ Tartine to the menu at her New Orleans restaurant, Willa Jean.

If you're kerfuffled by the acronym in the context of an open-faced sandwich, Fields broke the ingredients down in a recent Instagram post: lettuce + whipped garlic + bacon + roasted tomatoes + puffed quinoa + other stuffs. This came with a buffet of hashtags including #queertoast #bltbutforus #tartines #toast #queer #equalityrules #queeraf #celebratewhoyouare. (Outside of the realm of foodstuffs, it stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning, and other identities and orientations that fall outside of the heterosexual and cisgender majority, but back to sandwiches!). Read more....