Chef Vivian Howard with cast at supper.

"A Chef's Life" is a new food/reality series featuring Chef Vivian Howard. Vivian was making a name for herself in New York City, when her father, a hog farmer, offered to get her started in her own restaurant. The catch? It would be located in her home town, a place she swore she would never return: the Deep South. The series plunges audiences into the kitchen of the restaurant Chef and The Farmer, a highbrow restaurant located in Kinston, NC, one of the most impoverished communities in the U.S. When Vivian arrives home, she begs local farmers to grow fennel, lemongrass and Jerusalem artichokes --- none of which are native to the region. Soon, she realizes that the cooking techniques she learned in New York could be applied to her "grandmother's ingredients," the bounty grown by local farmers. Vivian's recipes are exquisitely assembled to bring out the best in the locally grown fresh ingredients. This is real "southern cooking," anyone can implement into their own lives. Six years in, Vivian has become a pillar in this small community, with the restaurant winning accolades across the country. As the series opens, she and her husband Ben are juggling the business and raising twins, when a devastating kitchen fire destroys the restaurant overnight. What happens next is a true testament to Southern grit.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

The Fish Episode, Y'all

Vivian presents a few of the many ways fish makes its appearance in southern cooking. She learns the rules of a good Eastern North Carolina fish stew: Make it a social event. Use whole hog bacon. Resist your urge to stir! And most important, start crackin' eggs and don't forget a side of white bread. Vivian goes to the source of all things seafood with a fishing trip with Ms. Lillie and Mary on beautiful Emerald Isle.

  • 2019-10-21T04:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Obviously, It's Pecans

It's November, y'all, and that means it's busy at Chef and the Farmer. Vivian is feeling the stress of running the restaurant after suspending her sous chef and preparing for her own Thanksgiving feast. She and Ms. Scarlett head to Ms. Scarlett's family farm where they source their pecans and have a run-in with Uncle Dwight's wild boar. On Thanksgiving, dozens of people assemble in Ben and Vivian's Deep Run home. The only thing missing is the Thanksgiving turkey. As Ben puts it, "Sometimes you eat the turkey. Sometimes the turkey eats you. "

  • 2019-10-28T04:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Turnips - The Roots

Rainy winters can yield some dull vegetable varieties, few more unglamorous than the turnip. Nevertheless, Vivian is determined to showcase this root vegetable. She features her winter rolls with pickled turnips at a charity dinner with James Beard Award-winner Ashley Christiansen and other notable chefs from the region. She frets over whether her roll is sexy enough to stand up to the opulent surroundings, amidst such distinguished company. Despite her misgivings, the roll is a head turner and Vivian manages to make some new friends.

  • 2019-11-04T03:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Turnips - The Greens

Late winter brings "run-up" turnip greens, which Vivian sees as central to her approach to Southern food, capturing both the spirit and the letter of what Chef and the Farmer is all about. Ms. Scarlett helps out by procuring greens from a local produce stand, washing them four times and discussing the how-to of buying and cooking good turnips to satisfy her "Southern people." Vivian downs a "cocktail for courage" as she awaits the arrival of Ben and Karen Barker, her culinary heroes. Her nerves are for naught - the Barkers are her big fans.

  • 2019-11-11T03:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD