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

Don't Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 2

The excitement of the night before turns into heightened emotion and real nerves for Vivian as she faces one challenge after another in the prep kitchen before the SFA luncheon. Wondering at the sanity of this undertaking, she's glad to have Chef Jason Vincent to lend some street cred to the whole endeavor. Rice almost brings Vivian to her breaking point, but everyone pulls together for the big event and her parents join her on stage for an emotional and watershed moment.

  • 2020-10-04T08:00:00-07:00
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  • 2020-10-12T04:00:00-07:00
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Don't Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 1

Vivian, Ben and the entire Chef and the Farmer staff hustle to complete the preparations necessary for her luncheon at the Southern Foodways Alliance symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. At the center of her generation-spanning meal is the Tom Thumb, a pungent and rich sausage stuffed into a pig's appendix. As preparations get underway, the sheer math of the moment is astounding: four courses for 400 food writers and Southern food enthusiasts - 1,600 plates in the span of 90 minutes.

  • 2020-10-05T04:00:00-07:00
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Apples

As Vivian returns from her Mississippi trip, she confronts her long absence from the dinner service at Chef and the Farmer. She visits an heirloom apple tree collector, Creighton Leigh, the Johnny Appleseed of the southern apple, who grows 800 varieties in the rolling hills of North Carolina's Piedmont. Savory and sweet heirloom apples make an appearance on the menu. Vivian, Ben, Theo and Flo don boots and grab shovels to plant their own southern apple tree on their Deep Run property.

  • 2020-10-11T08:00:00-07:00
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  • 2020-10-19T04:00:00-07:00
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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.

  • 2020-10-18T08:00:00-07:00
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  • 2020-10-26T04:00:00-07:00
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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. "

  • 2020-10-25T08:00:00-07:00
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