Watch A Chef's Life

A Chef's Life is a reality television show that airs on PBS and follows the life and career of Chef Vivian Howard in her high-end restaurant in eastern North Carolina. The plot is set in the south as she runs the restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, with her husband, Ben, while also raising a set of newborn twins. The restaurant easily stands out among the other family-owned businesses in the small area since it first opened.

The television show offers a close look at the milestones and challenges that the couple endure together, still struggling to work together after six years since opening the restaurant.

The show also provides a first-hand look of Chef Howard visiting her neighbors and learning how to make homemade cuisine from old fashioned recipes that she begins to add to her menu. Everything from fried green tomatoes to bacon mayonnaise is made for classic Southern food items that tell a story in each episode.

As the show evolves, the series covers a fire that destroys Chef Howard's restaurant as the couple learn to rebuild their business from the ground up and attempt to survive the challenges that come along.

PBS
4 Seasons, 51 Episodes
September 10, 2013
Documentary & Biography, Food
7.8/10
Cast: Vivian Howard, Ben Knight
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A Chef's Life Full Episode Guide

  • Mayo -- The Mother Sauce

  • Vivian is honored at a New York dinner party; and brings with her quintessential Carolina cuisine, including pig tails, ham hocks and fatback. She also visits her publisher, who shares an ambitious itinerary with her.

  • Flo and Theo's pre-school class comes to the restaurant, but delayed service makes everyone anxious. In other events, Vivian looks to an old pal for help when a sunchoke dish doesn't turn out.

  • Vivian finds out about farm-raised catfish; and a staff member's final day at the restaurant arrives.

  • Vivian shows rabbit processing during a trip to the Carolina Meat Conference; and is saddened at the possibility of losing a cherished staff worker at the restaurant.

  • Vivian surveys Portland, Ore., before readying the BBQ cabbage for Feast Portland.

  • Vivian gets ready for her first journey to Feast Portland in Oregon; and Sam Jones and Miss Lillie exchange old-school cabbage recipes that impress what Vivian fixes for the festival.

  • As a visit from her editor accelerates book preparations, Vivian reckons with handing over the restaurant reins to John and Justise. A tutorial in "œbeatin"™ peas" delivered by a 92 year-old expert is an entertaining and therapeutic history lesson.

  • After a summer away, Vivian returns to the restaurant and a staff of new faces. She also asks a favor of an avid home chef: test her cookbook recipes.

  • Spring onion season is in high gear. Vivian takes a break from writing her first cookbook to prepare a benefit dinner at a training ground for beginning farmers. Even though The Avett Brothers make an appearance, the underdog onion steals the show, playing both star and support.

  • Find out how Vivian's whole-cow program, after some initial hiccups, finds its groove. Mrs. Scarlett makes a classic cubed steak, inciting an epic tantrum from Flo. Vivian heads to New York to meet her new editor as work on her cookbook continues.

  • Find out how Vivian's whole-cow program, after some initial hiccups, finds its groove. Mrs. Scarlett makes a classic cubed steak, inciting an epic tantrum from Flo. Vivian heads to New York to meet her new editor as work on her cookbook continues.

  • Continue the visit to Charleston, especially the popular Waffle House Smackdown. Frank Lee, Mayor of Charleston, invites Vivian to his home and schools her in the proper way to open a clam and reveals the secret to his aunt's decadent clam hash.

  • Travel with Vivian to Charleston's Wine and Food Festival, the South's premiere gathering of world-class chefs and food folk. A clamming trip with low-country legend Clammer Dave adds a bit of adventure.

  • Lillie shows Vivian three ways to bring out the bitter and the sweet in rutabagas. Vivian showers her team with gifts as they prepare a holiday menu. A hectic New Year's Eve at the restaurant ends in a toast and a smile, despite brewing tension.

  • Vivian turns up the heat on a dish that features chicken livers drizzled with hot honey.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Vivian learns some new things while visting her friend, Nancy.

  • Vivian is under the gun to pen an entire book chapter on figs in three days. The stress inspires a fig and honey bourbon slushie tasting and a fig preserves session. After much debate, Vivian and Ben decide to charge for bread at the restaurant.

  • Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill's canned peaches and shares memories from her own childhood. Vivian sweats through a Thanksgiving-in-July photo shoot while a major mix-up leaves the restaurant team scrambling.

  • 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. Scarlett and her sister Johnna over a Southern classic: squash and onions.

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