Vivian Howard Featured in New PBS Series: A Chef’s Life


Join Chef Vivian’s personal and culinary journey from the top restaurants in New York to her return to North Carolina’s Low Country as she explores the rich bounty of farm fresh cooking, family and community

Vivian Howard
Image: Vivian Howard – Photo by Rex Miller

A CHEF’S LIFE is a new half-hour character-driven documentary and cooking series that takes viewers inside the life of Chef Vivian Howard, who, with her husband Ben Knight, left the big city to open a fine dining restaurant in small-town Eastern North Carolina. Each episode follows Vivian out of the kitchen and into the cornfields, strawberry patches and hog farms as she hunts down the ingredients that inspire her seasonal menus. Using a chef’s modern sensibilities, Vivian explores Southern cuisine, past and present — one ingredient at a time. A celebration of true farm to table food, the 13-week series combines the action and drama of a high-pressure business with the joys and stresses of family life. A CHEF’S LIFE premieres on PBS stations beginning September 2013 (check local listings).

Vivian Howard originally made a name for herself in the Manhattan restaurant world and with her own gourmet delivery service. Acclaim and potential investors poured in, but it was the offer from her own parents that called to her the loudest. They would help her build a restaurant – but with one catch. She had to open it back home in Eastern North Carolina, a place to which she swore she would never return.

And so The Chef & the Farmer, located in Kinston, North Carolina, was born. Six years in, Vivian and her restaurant have won numerous accolades, including her selection as a James Beard semi-finalist, but the challenges continue. As the series opens, Vivian and Ben are juggling the restaurant, raising twins and anxiously building their own home – right next door to her parents.

Vivian Howard and Ben KnightMuch more dynamic and personal than a typical cooking show, A CHEF’S LIFE celebrates modern Southern cuisine, seasonality, farmers, and food artisans — all through the lens of a working restaurant.

A CHEF’S LIFE is produced by Markay Media in association with SCETV Presents. The series is directed and produced by Cynthia Hill with Rex Miller as co-producer and cinematographer. Derek Britt is the Executive Producer, and the series is edited by Tom Vickers. The opening title song, “Will You Return,” is written and performed by the Avett Brothers. Amy Shumaker is Executive-in-Charge for SCETV Presents.

About South Carolina ETV

South Carolina ETV has a strong history of bringing quality programming to national public television and radio. From critically-acclaimed series such as Firing Line and Piano Jazz with Marion McPartland to countless award-winning arts, performance, documentary and international specials, SCETV Presents is dedicated to producing and presenting fresh, innovative public media programming for national and international audiences. SCETV is the South Carolina public educational broadcasting network with 11 television and eight radio transmitters, and a multi-media educational system. By using television, radio and the web, SCETV’s mission is to enrich lives by educating, informing and connecting citizens, celebrating our culture and environment and instilling the joy of learning. More information is available at

About PBS

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