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Meet Virginia Willis – Celebrity Chef of the Riverboat Luncheon Cruise

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Aretha Franklin with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen.

Virginia is the author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’allBon Appétit, Y’allBasic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and travelled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

She is the author of the popular column “Cooking with Virginia” for Southern Kitchen and Editor at Large for Southern Living. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her travelling exploits at www.virginiawillis.com.

Upcoming Savannah Food & Wine Fest Event: Riverboat Luncheon Cruise

The “Secrets of the Southern Table” Riverboat Luncheon Cruise is aptly named after Willis’ new cookbook making its debut this fall. All guests on-board receive a complimentary copy of her new cookbook. After the demonstration, Willis will be available for a meet & greet and book signing. 

A gourmet lunch buffet will be available featuring one of Willis’ most popular recipes. The gourmet buffet will also include traditional Southern favorites and a souvenir cup with unlimited tastings of wines, beers, and spirits from a variety of tasting stations located on several decks of the ship.

Published Works

  • Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South (HMH 2018);
  • Lighten Up, Y’all (Ten Speed Press 2015);
  • Basic to Brilliant, Y’all (Ten Speed Press 2012);
  • Okra: A Savor the South® Cookbook (UNC Press 2014);
  • Grits (Short Stack Editions 2013);
  • Bon Appétit, Y’all (Ten Speed Press 2008).

Awards

  • 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence for Lighten Up, Y’all:  Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome. (Ten Speed Press 2015)
  • 2016 International Association of Culinary Professionals Finalist Best American Cookbook for Lighten Up, Y’all:  Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome. (Ten Speed Press 2015)
  • 2013 International Association of Culinary Professionals Finalist Best Cooking School Teacher
  • 2009 International Association of Culinary Professionals Finalist Best American Cookbook for Bon Appétit, Y’all (Ten Speed Press 2008).
  • 2010 Georgia Center for the Book “25 Books All Georgians Should Read” for Bon Appétit, Y’all (Ten Speed Press 2008).

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