Growing up in the lowcountry of South Carolina, Kelly Fields inherited her love of farm fresh ingredients and began baking in some of Charleston’s best patisseries. In New Orleans, she took up baking for iconic New Orleans chef, Susan Spicer, and soon decided to push her knowledge to the next level. Upon graduation from Johnson & Wales, she returned to New Orleans and became the pastry chef of Restaurant August under the tutelage of Chef John Besh. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath would force Kelly to take up several years of travel. She settled in San Francisco, worked at some of the best restaurants in the area and joined the opening team of Martins West.
Back in New Orleans, she continues to develop relationships with local farmers in an effort to create a more sustainable pastry kitchen. She is a community leader and works closely with the John Besh Foundation as a mentor for Chefs Move! scholarship recipients and for at-risk youth seeking a profession in the hospitality industry. Kelly also helps recommend candidates that could benefit from culinary scholarships in the New Orleans community. In 2015, Chef Fields opened Willa Jean Bakery along with Pastry Chef Lisa White of Domenica and Pizza Domenica. She also maintains the position of Executive Pastry Chef of the Besh Restaurant Group.
Kelly’s work is frequently chronicled in nationwide publications including Bon Appetit, Saveur, Louisiana Cookin’ and more. Southern Living named her one of their “Southern Cooking Magicians” in February 2016.
In 2016, Kelly was nominated for a James Beard Award in the category of Best Pastry Chef in the country. She was also named one of the most influential people in the South by Garden & Gun and one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Dessert Professional Magazine.