Watch A Chef's Life
- 5 Seasons
A Chef's Life is a multi-award-winning docuseries from PBS that chronicles the life and work of chef Vivian Howard at her restaurant, Chef and the Farmer, located in the small town of Kinston in eastern North Carolina. The show premiered in 2013 and concluded in 2018, spanning five seasons and a total of 53 episodes. At the heart of the show is Vivian Howard, a classically trained chef who returned to her roots in eastern North Carolina to open her own restaurant. Along with her husband and business partner, Ben Knight, she built Chef and the Farmer from the ground up, sourcing local ingredients and reimagining Southern cuisine for a new generation of eaters. Over the course of the series, we see Vivian balance the demands of running a successful restaurant with the joys and challenges of raising a young family. One of the most distinctive aspects of A Chef's Life is its immersive approach to storytelling. Each episode focuses on a single ingredient, dish, or concept and explores it in depth, weaving together history, culture, and personal narrative. For example, one episode might center on the humble sweet potato and its role in southern cuisine, while another delves into the art of pickling or the challenges of sourcing sustainable seafood. Throughout the series, we meet a cast of characters who form the fabric of Vivian's life and work. These include her mother, Scarlett, who teaches her daughter traditional Southern cooking techniques and shares family stories from the region's past. There's also Vivian's pastry chef, the irrepressible Flo, who whips up decadent desserts and provides comic relief in the kitchen. And then there are the farmers, fishermen, and other producers who supply Chef and the Farmer with the fresh, seasonal ingredients that form the backbone of Vivian's cooking. Another key aspect of A Chef's Life is its commitment to showcasing the complexities and contradictions of Southern identity. Vivian and her team challenge the stereotypes that often surround Southern food, exploring the ways in which it has been shaped by migration, trade, and cultural exchange. They also tackle difficult subjects such as race, class, and gender, highlighting the struggles and inequalities that persist in many Southern communities. Despite these weighty themes, A Chef's Life is ultimately a celebration of food, family, and community. Vivian and her team approach cooking with a sense of joy and curiosity, constantly experimenting with new flavors and techniques. They value the connections that food creates between people, whether it's a family coming together for a meal or a community rallying around a shared cause. And they see food as a way to pay tribute to the traditions and stories that have shaped Southern culture over generations. Overall, A Chef's Life is a rich and engaging series that offers a fresh perspective on Southern food and culture. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or simply curious about the people and places that make up this vibrant region of the United States, there's something here for everyone. Vivian Howard and her team have crafted a show that is both informative and entertaining, leaving viewers hungry for more.