After several careers spanning from airport ramper to inventory specialist to working at a nuclear power plant, Chef Lisa White finally found her calling with all things pastry and bread. After enrolling in the accelerated Baking and Pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Lisa decided spur of the moment to move to New Orleans. Upon arriving in the city, Chef White remembered hearing about a chef who had started kitchens in parking lots to feed the people after Katrina, and she decided that was the kind of chef she wanted to work for. That chef was John Besh. Soon after, Lisa earned a pastry cook position at his Restaurant August, then went on to help open and spearhead the pastry offerings at Domenica. From there, she expanded into many areas, from bread production and pastries, to house-made liqueurs and pickling and helped open Domenica’s spin off, Pizza Domenica. In 2015, Lisa and chef Kelly Fields joined forces to open Willa Jean, a full service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a pastry and barista counter. Lisa works closely with the John Besh Foundation in several ways: by mentoring recipients of the Chef’s Move! scholarship program, working with farmers who have received micro-loans under the Milk Money program. Lisa also serves as an Evacuteer, staying behind in states of emergency to assist in the event of a city-wide evacuation, and is also a board member on the Please Foundation, which provides scholarships for underprivileged elementary school children to attend higher performing private schools.

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