The Southern Hot List

January 2016
By: Garden and Gun Magazine

The Kitchen Magicians
Seven enterprising chefs who are following their passions at their innovative new restaurants

Willa Jean, in New Orleans, brings to mind Grandma’s kitchen—taken over by a pair of the country’s finest pastry chefs. Lisa White and Kelly Fields, who lent her own grandmother’s name to the restaurant, pay tribute to generations past with biscuits, skillet cornbread, and sandwiches heaped with fried chicken and griddled meat loaf. Joseph Lenn won a James Beard Award for his work at the ultraluxe Blackberry Farm resort in Walland, Tennessee. Named for his great-uncle, the forthcoming J. C. Holdway will bring his confit guinea hen with dumplings and other tradition-inspired dishes to a more relaxed setting in Knoxville. “It’s a much smaller kitchen, which I like,” Lenn says. “I can keep my eye on everything.” Florence, South Carolina, native Elliott Moss grew up on catfish stew, gravy-like hash, chicken bog, and whole-hog barbecue.