Thursday, June 27, 2013

OK, y'all -- here's a Southern chef story to love

While the debate goes on about Paula Deen's dismal legacy, here's a chance to get excited about another kind of Southern food story.

"A Chef's Life," the PBS series about Vivian Howard and Ben Knight and their restaurant The Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, will debut in September. I was already looking forward to it. Here's the column I wrote last year after my colleague Andrea Weigl took me to visit the restaurant. 

This morning, there's a preview video up for the show. And after watching it, I'll admit it: I'm excited.

Get ready for a different, and loving, look at cooking and living in the South, and particularly in our state. 


Anonymous said...

Well it can only be a Southern chef show if the chef is really from the South. Is this person from North Carolina? If so, great. And dang, people quit picking on Paula Deen. Her legacy is not "dismal." Let's see a show of hands of all the people who have never said anything they regret. Hmm, I didn't think so. Enough already.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anonymous. As the video explains, Vivian returned to her hometown, Kinston, and opened a restaurant.

Jim Pierson said...

From their website:

"In 2004, Ben Knight and Vivian Howard were living on Manhattan’s upper upper west side, also known as Harlem, and operating a small catering operation out of their apartment. While the couple loved New York, a visit down to Vivian’s parent’s farm in Eastern North Carolina intrigued Ben, an artist and Chicago native."

Unless Vivian's parents bought a farm in Eastern NC and moved there from somewhere else, the implication is that Vivian (the Chef) is from N.C.

I look forward to watching the show, and I hope they give out some of the recipes. I know that folks have to protect their brand and intellectual property. But it bugs me a little when I watch a show I really enjoy, like David Chang's "The Mind of a Chef", see these incredible dishes, but they don't spell out a recipe.

It's an interesting idea to open a sorta upscale restaurant in a sparsely populated county that currently has an 11.5% unemployment rate. Nine times out of ten, a venture like that would fail. But it looks like they've made it work. They are definitely in the right place for lots of locally sourced food.

Joanne R. said...

...and the Avett's sing the intro! I'm a Charlotte native and I love my state, but Kinston hasn't been high on my list of places to visit. This may change my mind. I'm looking forward to watching, too! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Good catch on those Avett boys, Joanne. Given Joe Kwon's love of cooking, we shouldn't be surprised.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ regarding Paula's legacy ... this goes beyond the regret for use of the "N" word .... plantation style party?? Really??? This deposition was about sexual harassment in work place and her turning a blind eye --- well the public is not turning a blind eye

Kim said...

As a farmer, I'm really excited to see the show. For another wonderful restaurant in the middle of nowhere, go visit my friends Joanie & Sara's restaurant, Southern Exposure, in Faison, NC.