Chef Virginia Willis Prepares Authentic Southern Cuisine at UMass Amherst’s Berkshire Dining Commons

Virginia Willis
Virginia Willis

AMHERST, Mass. – As part of UMass Dining’s ongoing guest chef series, award-winning chef Virginia Willis will showcase her traditional, healthy Southern cuisine on Tuesday, Jan. 24 from 5-9 p.m. in the Berkshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A cooking demonstration will be held in the Berkshire Room at 6:30 p.m.

A nationally acclaimed food expert, cookbook author, teacher, TV personality and most recently, James Beard Foundation Award winner, Willis is known for giving classic French cooking a Southern feel, as well as reimagining standard Southern recipes with a French twist.

Tuesday night’s menu features an array of healthy down home comfort Southern cooking, using local ingredients. Menu highlights include honey ginger citrus soda smoky seafood étoufée, turkey meatloaf with mushroom gravy, mixed vegetable mash (potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips), broccoli mac and cheese among other delicious dishes. 

“We’re thrilled that Chef Willis can join us on campus once again. She’s very talented and creative—really full of energy—we’re happy our students will be able to experience her award-winning cuisine,” says Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst.

The event is open to the public for $14 per person. Entry for faculty, staff and students on a meal plan is one swipe.