Willa Jean's Kelly Fields makes the tartine she wants to see in the world
Brunch, by most reckonings, is the gayest meal. It's just a thing, and Kelly Fields—who we selected as our 2017 Breakfast Chef of the Year—has set out to make the rainbow blaze even brighter with the addition of the LGBTQ+ Tartine to the menu at her New Orleans restaurant, Willa Jean.
If you're kerfuffled by the acronym in the context of an open-faced sandwich, Fields broke the ingredients down in a recent Instagram post: lettuce + whipped garlic + bacon + roasted tomatoes + puffed quinoa + other stuffs. This came with a buffet of hashtags including #queertoast #bltbutforus #tartines #toast #queer #equalityrules #queeraf #celebratewhoyouare. (Outside of the realm of foodstuffs, it stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning, and other identities and orientations that fall outside of the heterosexual and cisgender majority, but back to sandwiches!)
Reached via text, Fields explained the genesis of the dish further, saying, "Basically, a few members of my FOH [front of house] staff challenged me to really come up with menu items that reflect who we are and our mission as a restaurant to create space." She continued, "The direct result of hiring such wickedly smart, radical, unapologetic feminists and allies. Their challenge felt like an abundant amount of pride for me personally; to see them so invested and loud about who we are in this world."
Fields didn't take on the colorful venture single-handedly, but rather, as is her wont, made the whole thing a collaboration with chef de cuisine Yolanda Torres. "This was an example of me bringing the idea to Yoyo and us collaborating back and forth and trying to flip our own BLT script. After all, everything at Willa Jean goes back to the bread and pastry," Fields said. "Bunch o' gays over here y’all."
The LGBTQ+ Tartine will make its debut on Willa Jean's daytime menu in the very near future. In the meantime, enjoy a gravy biscuit.