Chef's Life

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.

Wed, Feb 3 5:30 A.M. Pimp My Grits     NH EXPLORE

The restaurant gears up for a practice service when the new equipment and new menu will be tested in real time - but nothing is going as planned.

Sun, Feb 7 12:30 A.M. Cracklin' Kitchen     NH EXPLORE

Vivian goes about christening the restaurant's new "whole animal, no waste" program with two little pigs from Warren Brothers' farm.

Wed, Feb 10 5:30 A.M. Cracklin' Kitchen     NH EXPLORE

Vivian goes about christening the restaurant's new "whole animal, no waste" program with two little pigs from Warren Brothers' farm.

Sun, Feb 14 12:30 A.M. Tomatoes....You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey     NH EXPLORE

Mary Vaughn shows Chef Vivian the old-timey way to can tomatoes.

Sun, Feb 21 12:30 A.M. The World Is Your Oyster     NH EXPLORE

Vivian goes to Cedar Island to explore the new culture of farm-raised oysters in the Southeast.

Watch Chef's Life - Clips, Episodes & Previews

Chef's Life By Episode

  • Sweet Corn & Expensive Tea (#101)

    Chef Vivian and her husband, Ben, leave New York to open a restaurant in her small North Carolina hometown.

  • Strawberry Stay at Home (#102)

    Vivian and Ben rebuild their restaurant against the backdrop of the Southern harbinger of spring, the strawberry.

  • Pimp My Grits (#103)

    The restaurant gears up for a practice service when the new equipment and new menu will be tested in real time - but nothing is going as planned.

  • Cracklin' Kitchen (#104)

    Vivian goes about christening the restaurant's new "whole animal, no waste" program with two little pigs from Warren Brothers' farm.

  • Tomatoes....You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey (#105)

    Mary Vaughn shows Chef Vivian the old-timey way to can tomatoes.

  • The World Is Your Oyster (#106)

    Vivian goes to Cedar Island to explore the new culture of farm-raised oysters in the Southeast.

  • Muscadine Time (#107)

    Ben, Vivian and the twins pick muscadine grapes at a small local vineyard while learning the history of this native grape.

  • A Road Trip for Rice (#108)

    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.

  • A Peanut Pastime (#109)

    Vivian visits neighbor Marty Harper's peanut farm just before and during harvest.

  • Love Me Some Candied Yams! (#110)

    Vivian introduces viewers to Rob and Amy Hill, proprietors of one of the largest sweet potato farms in the country and two of the restaurant's best customers.

  • Collard Green Queen (#111)

    Vivian spends the morning with her neighbors, the Mills brothers, participating in their 100-year-old all-male family tradition of making collard kraut.

  • The Buttermilk Belt (#112)

    Vivian and Ben go to Maple View Dairy to pick up product for the restaurant.

  • Have Yourself Some Moonshine (#113)

    Vivian visits Broad Slab Distillery, where they talk about the art and soul of white lightning.

  • Blueberries and Boiling Over (#201)

    After a year recovering from a restaurant fire and re-opening Chef and the Farmer, Vivian and Ben open a burger/oyster bar called the Boiler Room.

  • Shrimp Sells (#202)

    Vivian and Ben head to the beach for their annual summer vacation with the Howard family.

  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T The Butterbean (#203)

    Burgers. Oysters. Beer. Vivian and Ben are on the cusp of opening their new restaurant, the Boiler Room, and they're facing a new challenge: how to make a veggie burger stand out.

  • Don't Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 1 (#204)

    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.

  • Don't Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 2 (#205)

    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.

  • Apples (#206)

    As Vivian returns from her Mississippi trip, she confronts her long absence from the dinner service at Chef and the Farmer.

  • The Fish Episode, Y'all (#207)

    Vivian presents a few of the many ways fish makes its appearance in southern cooking.

  • Obviously, It's Pecans (#208)

    It's November, y'all, and that means it's busy at Chef and the Farmer.

  • Turnips - The Roots (#209)

    Rainy winters can yield some dull vegetable varieties, few more unglamorous than the turnip.

  • Turnips - The Greens (#210)

    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.

  • Chicken Lickin (#211)

    As Vivian waits for spring's vegetables to appear, she pauses to appreciate chicken's endless capacity as an ingredient.

  • Ramp-Ing Up to Spring (#212)

    Vivian hunts for ramps - Appalachian wild leeks - with renowned bacon purveyor Alan Benton near his home in the Tennessee countryside.

  • Eggs A Dozen Ways (#213)

    Vivian finally makes good on a promise to cook for a friend's supper club, and she seizes the moment to experiment with an egg dish that she hopes will wow New York City's James Beard House crowd.

  • Eggs Two Dozen Ways (#214)

    A month of planning and preparation peaks as Vivian's invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House becomes a reality.

  • Stop, Squash and Roll (#301)

    With squash season in full effect, trouble with the twins, staffing issues at the Boiler Room and a new cookbook overloading her plate, Vivian seeks motherly advice from Mrs.

  • Pretty In Peach (#302)

    Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill's canned peaches and shares memories from her own childhood.

  • Gettin' Figgy with It (#303)

    Vivian is under the gun to pen an entire book chapter on figs in three days.

  • Pickle Perfect (#304)

    Vivian visits her friend Nancy for a surprisingly comforting combination of homemade pickles, chicken salad and chocolate cake.

  • Prickly Business (#305)

    Vivian's mentor, Scott Barton, stops by the restaurant and shares the African roots of okra.

  • If You Can't Beet Em.... (#306)

    Matt from Crooked Fence Produce shows Vivian how to make "the best pickled beets she ever ate.

  • A Casserole Says Plenty (#307)

    The Boiler Room welcomes a new manager, much to Ben's delight.

  • Honey, I'm Home! (#308)

    After a visit from "The Honey Man," Vivian turns up the heat on a dish of chicken livers drizzled with hot honey.

  • They Call 'em 'bagas (#309)

    Lillie shows Vivian three ways to bring out the bitter and the sweet in rutabagas.

  • Gone Clamming, Part I (#310)

    Travel with Vivian to Charleston's Wine and Food Festival, the South's premiere gathering of world-class chefs and food folk.

  • Gone Clamming, Part II (#311)

    Continue the visit to Charleston, especially the popular Waffle House Smackdown.

  • What's Your Beef? (#312)

    Find out how Vivian's whole-cow program, after some initial hiccups, finds its groove.

  • One Potato, New Potato (#313)

    Join Vivian to judge the Southern Sides competition at the BBQ Festival, and see her version of the BBQ plate, featuring a crispy potato salad.

  • Onions and Avetts (#401)

    Spring onions kick off the season as Vivian takes a break from penning her first cookbook to prepare dinner for beginner farmers.

  • My Watermelon Baby (#402)

    The heat is high and watermelons are ripe. After a summer away from the restaurant, Vivian returns to a staff of unfamiliar faces and works to build camaraderie.

  • Peas, Please (#403)

    As a visit from her editor accelerates book preparations, Vivian reckons with handing over the restaurant reins to John and Justise.

  • Stand By Your Cabbage (#404)

    Vivian's summer itinerary picks up with a 14-day photoshoot as she preps for a first-time trip to Feast Portland.

  • Cabbage's Last Stand (#405)

    Vivian can't resist the opportunity to romp around the city before firing up the BBQ cabbage at Feast Portland.

  • Rabbit (#406)

    Vivian attends the Carolina Meat Conference and demonstrates rabbit processing.

  • More Than One Way to Skin A Catfish (#407)

    An up-close-and-personal experience with farm-raised catfish offers Vivian an enlightened perspective on the industry.

  • All Sunchoked Up (#408)

    Flo and Theo's pre-school class visit the restaurant for a meal where table manners are the focus, but exceptionally slow service makes everyone antsy, especially Ben.

  • Heavenly Hocks (#409)

    A view behind-the-scenes reveals the hot and cold of curing ham.

  • Mayo - The Mother Sauce (#410)

    Vivian holds a mayo blind taste test and a surprise brand takes top prize.

  • Two-Mato (#501)

    As Chef & the Farmer turns 10, Vivian searches for ripe tomatoes to serve at the restaurant's birthday party.

  • Shake, Rattle, and Pole (Beans) (#502)

    Vivian struggles to scrounge up enough green beans to add to the menu at Chef & the Farmer, where a new chef is firmly in place.

  • Prolific Peppers (#503)

    Vivian preps peppers for a trip to Lambstock, where chefs, food and music converge.

  • A Food Truck and a Pear Tree (#504)

    Vivian's cookbook delivery sparks emotions as the reality of wheeling a food truck around the country sets in.

  • WANTED: Broccoli (#505)

    Follow Vivian as she heads to NYC, where her book launch means a full itinerary.

  • Bourbon Country (#506)

    A dinner in Vivian's honor ends as an American history lesson.

  • Persimmon Style (#507)

    Vivian takes the twins to pick persimmons and learns about the different varieties of the fruit.

  • Chasing Trout (#508)

    Vivian plans a respite from the road during the holidays, but is busy at home.

  • Liver Lover (#509)

    Vivian visits a restaurant known for fried liver and learns that not all livers are created equal, but all are equally good for you.

  • King Cornbread (#510)

    Vivian visits a Kinston institution that merges cornbread with another Southern signature to make "pig and a puppy," then crafts a version for a charity dinner.

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