Several years ago in a down financial time for our family, we eighty-sixed cable and went to the basic antenna. Our pocketbook loved it, but the selection of channels was small. My daughter and I like to watch cooking shows, and we started to watch a show on PBS called “A Chef’s Life” by Vivian Howard. Now, I don’t think she has the following that a Food Network star would have yet, but I think this is just a matter of time. The show is shot in a documentary style with each episode focusing on one ingredient that is usually sourced close to where she lives and works in North Carolina.
Vivian Howard runs a restaurant with her husband Ben Knight called “The Chef and the Farmer”. They have an interesting backstory where they lived in the big city of New York before returning to Vivian’s family home in Deep Run, North Carolina. The show introduces you to her extended family, friends, vendors, restaurant employees, etc. with all the inherent drama of the humans involved. Rather than having a snobby view of these farmers, she sees them for the unsung heroes they often are providing us with the goods to live our daily lives.
The show is very relaxing to watch and frequently educational as well. But, the heart of the show is the human connections and that is what pulls you back for more. Vivian also just released a cookbook called “Deep Run Roots”. It is arranged like the show where a chapter is focused on one ingredient and follows her philosophy of using farm fresh ingredients wherever possible.
The music in the opening credits is by a group called the Avett Brothers. Their music is unique sounding, sort of an energetic kind of folk rock. One of their more popular songs is “Ain’t No Man”, but I love the beginning part of “A Chef’s Life” that uses part of their song “Will You Return”, from their album “Emotionalism”. (The part I love that is used in the show is about 1:40 into the song).
All three are well worth your time to check out. The show has won many awards, her cookbook is now a New York Times Bestseller, and the Avett Brothers are unique and fun to listen to for an upbeat change of mood.