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

Tomatoes....You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey

Mary Vaughn shows Chef Vivian the old-timey way to can tomatoes. Vivian prepares for a Southern Foodways Alliance luncheon at the restaurant where food enthusiasts from around the country are coming to study BBQ, and Vivian plans to serve them the "ultimate tomato sandwich."

  • 2020-01-21T08:30:00-08:00
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  • 2020-01-23T08:30:00-08:00
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Pickle Perfect

Vivian visits her friend Nancy for a surprisingly comforting combination of homemade pickles, chicken salad and chocolate cake. Ben and Vivian audition a new chef to offer Ben some relief and much-needed time to focus on his art.

  • 2020-01-27T03:00:00-08:00
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The World Is Your Oyster

Vivian goes to Cedar Island to explore the new culture of farm-raised oysters in the Southeast. She and Ben share plans of opening an oyster bar across the street from Chef & the Farmer in hopes it will be a place that adds character and variety to the tiny town's "dining scene." Vivian and her dad orchestrate their family's first-ever oyster roast and are blown away by how much everyone enjoys it.

  • 2020-01-28T08:30:00-08:00
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  • 2020-01-30T08:30:00-08:00
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Prickly Business

Vivian's mentor, Scott Barton, stops by the restaurant and shares the African roots of okra. Vivian learns that picking okra is a prickly business and gets a crash course in food styling during a photo session for her upcoming cookbook.

  • 2020-02-03T03:00:00-08:00
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Muscadine Time

Ben, Vivian and the twins pick muscadine grapes at a small local vineyard while learning the history of this native grape. Vivian visits Mike and Gator, her grape suppliers, and makes homemade wine. Back at the restaurant, Vivian makes a pizza with mulled muscadines, and Ben tests this new creation during their first stressful pizza night in the wine shop.

  • 2020-02-04T08:30:00-08:00
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  • 2020-02-06T08:30:00-08:00
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If You Can't Beet Em....

Matt from Crooked Fence Produce shows Vivian how to make "the best pickled beets she ever ate." Vivian incorporates beets into an unconventional chocolate cake in honor of Ms. Mary's 89th birthday. There's no telling how Ms. Lillie will respond.

  • 2020-02-10T03:00:00-08:00
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A Road Trip for Rice

Vivian travels to Columbia, South Carolina, to meet with Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills and learns about Carolina heirloom rice growing in fields on the Savannah River. Glenn explains Anson Mills' efforts to save heirloom grains and discusses the importance of ingredient biodiversity. Glenn's passion inspires Vivian to host a "rice dinner" at Chef & the Farmer, where each course centers around this grain. Scarlett, Vivian's mom, schools her daughter on how to make the chicken and rice she grew up eating.

  • 2020-02-11T08:30:00-08:00
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  • 2020-02-13T08:30:00-08:00
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A Casserole Says Plenty

The Boiler Room welcomes a new manager, much to Ben's delight. A family reunion brings out long-lost relatives, the warmth of fellowship and an impressive spread of home-cooked casseroles.

  • 2020-02-17T03:00:00-08:00
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A Peanut Pastime

Vivian visits neighbor Marty Harper's peanut farm just before and during harvest. Vivian's dad introduces Ben and Vivian to the old school break snack, a pack of salted peanuts dumped into a Pepsi in a glass bottle. At the restaurant, Vivian translates the snack into Pepsi glazed pork belly with country ham braised peanuts. Vivian reinvents the popular Southern snack, boiled peanuts, for the local farmers' market.

  • 2020-02-18T08:30:00-08:00
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  • 2020-02-20T08:30:00-08:00
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