Having mastered her craft for over two decades, accoladed Chef/ Owner Kelly Fields opened restaurant and bakery Willa Jean in 2015,
showcasing her robust pastry expertise and passion for Lowcountry-Southern cuisine. “With simple, nostalgic dishes that are served with intention and care, I like to think that we pay tribute to the South’s sense of belonging,” Fields explains. As...

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Having mastered her craft for over two decades, accoladed Chef/ Owner Kelly Fields opened restaurant and bakery Willa Jean in 2015,
showcasing her robust pastry expertise and passion for Lowcountry-Southern cuisine. “With simple, nostalgic dishes that are served with intention and care, I like to think that we pay tribute to the South’s sense of belonging,” Fields explains. As a leader in the city’s dining scene, she distinguishes the Central Business District restaurant with comforting soul food in a warm, approachable atmosphere.
Over the years, Fields and Willa Jean have garnered praise and recognition both locally and nationally and in 2019, Fields won the coveted title of Outstanding Pastry Chef at the James Beard Awards, having been a nominee and semifinalist in the category for four years prior.
In her instrumental role as owner, she simultaneously considers not only her guests experience, but also the success of her dedicated team, as she leads and executes day-to-day operations. And, she has plans to grow. Fields is currently eyeing expansion to new markets and the launch of nationwide shipping of best-selling bakery items, like the Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cornbread. She thoughtfully approaches each new business detail just as thoroughly as in the restaurant, from service to products to and hospitality, ensuring an unparalleled culinary experience.
Fields will release her first cookbook in the fall of 2020. The currently untitled project will be an approachable encyclopedia of modern Southern baking, while showcasing the grit and richness of Southern and New Orleans baking traditions.
In addition to her role at Willa Jean, Fields works hard to make an impact within the community by mentoring several emerging New Orleans chefs. In 2017, she launched the “Yes Ma’am” foundation to inspire, encourage, and mentor the next generation of women in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
In her spare time, Fields enjoys traveling, reading, photography, fishing, and sailing. Her dog Kinney is always by her side and she can be found documenting his adventures on his Instagram.

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