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Girlfriend of the Week: Chef Christan Willis

I had the pleasure of catching up with Chef Christan Willis. This here is what we call a true GIRLBOSS. She previously appeared on Food Network’s Cooks vs. Cons, was featured in On Top Magazine for “30 Under 30 Female Entrepreneurs”, and is listed as Jezebel’s 50 most beautiful Atlantans of 2016. She is now growing her personal-chef business specializing in meal plans and healthy lifestyle living. To top it all off she will be getting married this summer to a man that loves food just as much as she does.

What’s the one nourishment that never lets you down?

I would definitely have to say water. I obviously couldn’t live without it. Water keeps my skin clear and gives me energy to tackle the day. Water never lets me down.

How about the food that always lets you down? 

I love so many different kinds of foods and I’m open to trying new things, but can’t get with okra. It’s slimy, and I just don’t get it. I’ve given it many chances, cooked it different ways, but it still lets me down.

In the morning what do you think about first, food or fitness?

Food. I may be eating a pre-workout power food, but food comes first. I can’t function without food. Even if I’m in a hurry somewhere, I’m eating in the car on the way there.

How do you feel about men dominating the food and restaurant industry, although when it comes to cooking at home it’s considered a “woman’s job”? 

I think there are impressive qualities in seeing a male dominate the restaurant industry, such as the drive and willpower to perfect a craft that many home cooks inherit directly from their grandmothers and mothers. I also feel that being a business owner and private chef is not for everyone since there is a certain standard and professionalism you must have entering a client’s residence as well as personality to be able to meet a client’s needs. Overall, most chefs want to be recognized for being GREAT chefs, not for being a certain gender or race.

Are there any advantages of being a woman chef?

Yes, I do believe women have a bit of an advantage. I’ve worked in many restaurants and I have observed the difference. Women are able to listen and comprehend without having to ask multiple questions later. Women also are able to keep their stations cleaner than most men. Men have their advantages too, but I’m all about girl power in the kitchen.

We understand you are a bride-to-be! Did you and your fiancé meet over food? 

Yes, we did actually. I was in culinary school at the time and we met at Taste of Atlanta food festival. I approached his restaurant’s tent and I asked him if they needed assistance. He looked at me like I was crazy with this hungover look on his face. I tried pulling him out of his shell, but he still wasn’t feeling me. I finally asked if his restaurant was hiring, and he told me that they don’t hire women chefs. At that point my attitude changed completely. “This guy is sexist”, I thought. I was determined to show him and his resturant different. He told me I could come work without pay just to see how it was. I showed up to the restaurant, I rocked it out, and I got hired. Then I asked, my now fiance, if he wanted to grab a drink to celebrate, and here we are.

Do you two share a favorite dish or restaurant?

One thing I love about our relationship is that we love trying new things. We visit many spots together all over the world, but we don’t have a “favorite” spot. We like experiencing the best of the best. We also keep our eye on the food industry, and check out the up and coming chefs and most talked about restaurants.

What’s your most embarrassing cooking moment?

I’m such a perfectionist. I rarely ever cut or burn myself, but I do have this one story. I started working at my first fine dining restaurant, St. Cecilia’s in Atlanta, GA. There was a see through kitchen so cooking was like a live show. I was in charge of making the cornbread. Right before customers started pouring in I popped the bread in the oven. I turned around to check on it and all I saw was grey smoke. I pulled the bread out and it was black as coal. I had to hurry and make another batch before the first orders came through. I did this for a good week before I got the hang of it.

Wanna know more about Christan? Follow her on Instagram.

Perfect Sear 👌🏽 #fitladychef #atlcateringco #privatechef

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