A Chef’s Life (PBS)
A Chef’s Life disregards the usual recipes for television shows about restaurants and cooking. Neither over-seasoned nor overheated, it presents an honest, ongoing look at the ups and downs of a farm-to-fork restaurant in low country eastern North Carolina that is operated by chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight. It’s not without drama –- a nasty kitchen fire early in the series’ run nearly sinks their young enterprise –- but A Chef’s Life is mainly an affectionate, detailed survey of Southern cuisine both traditional and nouvelle, and the folks who provide the ingredients. Apart from its fresh takes on grits and greens, it serves up a nuanced, non-stereotypical portrait of the rural and small-town American South, something rarely seen on television. Howard introduces her viewers not only to the local farmers who know their tomatoes and pole beans (surprise, surprise) but to knowledgeable hunters, fishermen, hog farmers, whiskey and winemakers. For its refreshingly unsensational depiction of life and work in a modern restaurant –- with generous sides of Southern folkways and food lore –- A Chef’s Life receives a Peabody Award.
Executive Producers: Amy Shumaker, Derek Britt. Director/Producer: Cynthia Hill. Creative Consultants: Vivian Howard, Ben Knight. Co-Producers: Rex Miller, Malinda Maynor Lowery. Associate Producers: Un Kyong Ho, Jennifer Cromling. Writer: Vivian Howard. Director of Photography: Rex Miller. 2nd Camera: Josh Woll, Blaire Johnson. Editor: Tom Vickers. Graphics and Social Media: Margaret McNealy. Consulting Producer: Selena Lauterer.