Communal Table Podcast: Kelly Fields

The Willa Jean chef and newly-minted author talks about writing a cookbook, weathering storms, and accepting help.

Communal Table with Kat Kinsman featuring Chef Kelly Fields
Photo: Gabrielle Geiseln

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter so you never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 79: Kelly Fields

For years, people had been poking at Kelly Fields to write a cookbook, but she resisted. She'd been perfecting her craft as a pastry chef in some of New Orleans' most lauded restaurants, and expanded her scope into the savory realm at the wildly successful Willa Jean, winning a James Beard Award in the process. But she still doubted herself, wondering what worth her voice and expertise had in the world—especially since so many restaurant kitchens notoriously devalue the work of women. It's taken a lot of unlearning, but Fields is now making her own wellbeing and confidence a priority, and that includes the difficult work of letting other people take care of her when she needs it. The newly-minted co-author (with F&W alum Kate Heddings) of The Good Book of Southern Baking joined Food & Wine for a very generous conversation about vulnerability, healing, and really good biscuits.

Links and Resources

Buy the book: The Good Book of Southern Baking

Learn more about Kelly:

Visit / order: Willa Jean

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Previous episode: Chef-owner Erick Rivera of Addo talks about pivoting, selling plants, and planning ahead.

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