By: Molly Kztoak, Ledbury

In the morning I joined celebrated chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White for coffee at their restaurant, Willa Jean, New Orleans was just beginning to enter into the throes of bead-and-glitter Mardi Gras mayhem.

“It’s a party—every day is a party,” Fields laughed. “Sometimes you want to be at the party, sometimes you don’t.”

The duo are no stranger to the fact that Carnival season in the city is a marathon, not a sprint, and one that requires a certain kind of sugary stamina if you’re working in the kitchen. Kelly’s elegant desserts wowed out-of-towners and locals alike for years at John Besh’s Restaurant August, while Lisa’s magical king cakes (the traditional sweet of the season) at another Besh favorite, Domenica, have long been the stuff of magical Mardi Gras legend.