Willa Jean’s Kelly Fields just landed her first cookbook deal, which means the James Beard finalist and chef will finally share the chocolate chip cookie recipe whose dough alone has been called the “most brilliant restaurant dessert.” (It only took the exacting chef about two years, baking the cookies almost every single day, before she felt she had the perfect recipe.)
Written with Food & Wine contributing editor Kate Heddings, the hardcover cookbook will contain more than 125 recipes, including Aunt Jean’s lemon chiffon pie. Fields also plans to write a personal narrative, honing in on her unique approach to Southern baking.
“I’ve been working in restaurant kitchens for over 20 years. Writing a book is a whole new challenge for me — one that I’m really excited for. I have an awesome partner in Kate Heddings, and I’m looking forward to diving into the writing process with her,” Fields told Eater New Orleans.
Fields grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and has cooked in New Orleans for 18 years. In 2015, she opened Willa Jean in New Orleans’ CBD, naming it for her “sassy and sarcastic” grandmother. Just a year later, she was named Eater New Orleans’ 2016 Chef of the Year.
She’s a finalist for this year’s James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Ten Speed Press at Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, will publish the new book, though a release date has not yet been set.
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