A Chef's Life

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A Chef's Life
Created by Cynthia Hill, Vivian Howard
Starring Vivian Howard
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 28 (2 seasons)
Running time 28-30 minutes
Original channel PBS
Original release September 7, 2013 (2013-09-07) – present
External links
A Chef's Life Website

A Chef's Life is an American documentary-style cooking show and a created by Cynthia Hill (Markay Media) and Vivian Howard. The series is produced by Markay Media and is broadcast by PBS. The series premiered September 7, 2013.

A Chef's Life is predominately filmed at the Chef & The Farmer restaurant in Kinston, North Carolina. Vivian Howard is head chef and her husband, Ben Knight is general manager. They are also co-owners. Season 1 (2013) consisted of 13 half-hour episodes. Season 2 (2014) premiered in consists of 14 half-hour episodes and an hour-long holiday special. Season 3 premiered September 3, 2015.

Both Cynthia Hill and Vivian Howard grew up in Lenior County North Carolina, Hill in Pink Hill and Howard in Deep Run. Howard and Cynthia’s younger sister were friends growing up. Both Hill and Howard left their small, rural communities and returned again years later, Vivian to open Chef & the Farmer, and Cynthia to focus on southern storytelling. Said Hill, “My films are all based on something I can see from my own backyard, issues and subjects that are near and dear to me.”

The show won a Peabody Award on April 2, 2014 and a Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle/Culinary/Travel Program on April 26, 2015. The show was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2015 for Outstanding Single Camera Photography and was a 2014 James Beard broadcast award finalist.


A Chef's Life is produced by Markay Media in association with South Carolina ETV. The series is directed and produced by Cynthia Hill with Rex Miller as director of photography and co-producer. Vivian Howard is writer and producer. Tom Vickers is editor. Amy Shumaker is executive-in-charge for SCETV. The series is a project of the Southern Documentary Fund. The show's theme song, Will You Return? is written and performed by North Carolina's Avett Brothers and is from their 2007 album Emotionalism.

As of 2015, the show is broadcast in 96% of the United States and each episode has 2.5 million viewers.

Season 1 (2013)[edit]

The first season of A Chef's Life consists of 13 episodes.[1]

  • Episode 1: (2013-9-10) "Sweet Corn And Expensive Tea"
  • Episode 2: (2013-9-17) "Strawberry Stay At Home"
  • Episode 3: (2013-9-24) "Pimp My Grits"
  • Episode 4: (2013-10-01) "Cracklin' Kitchen"
  • Episode 5: (2013-10-08) "You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey"
  • Episode 6: (2013-10-15) "The World Is Your Oyster"
  • Episode 7: (2013-10-22) "Muscadine Time"
  • Episode 8: (2013-10-29) "A Road Trip For Rice"
  • Episode 9: (2013-11-05) "Peanut Pastime"
  • Episode 10: (2013-11-12) "Love Me Some Candied Yams!"
  • Episode 11: (2013-11-19) "Collard Green Queen"
  • Episode 12: (2013-11-26) "The Buttermilk Belt"
  • Episode 13: (2013-12-03) "Have Yourself Some Moonshine"

Season 2 (2014-2015)[edit]

The second season of "A Chef's Life consists of 14 episodes and one hour-long holiday special.[2][3]

  • Episode 1: (2014-10-05) "Blueberries and Boiling Over"
  • Episode 2: (2014-10-12) "Shrimp Sells"
  • Episode 3: (2014-10-19) "R-E-S-P-E-C-T the Butterbean"
  • Episode 4: (2014-10-26) "Don’t Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 1"
  • Episode 5: (2014-11-02) "Don’t Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 2"
  • Episode 6: (2014-11-02) "Apples"
  • Episode 7: (2014-11-09) "The Fish Episode, Y'all"
  • Episode 8: (2014-11-16) "Obviously, It’s Pecans"
  • Episode 9: (2014-11-23) "Turnips- The Roots"
  • Episode 10: (2014-11-30) "Turnips- The Greens"
  • Episode 11: (2014-12-07) "Chicken Lickin’"
  • Holiday Special: (2014-12-16) "Deck The Halls Y'all"[4]
  • Episode 12: (2015-1-11) "Ramp-ing up to Spring"
  • Episode 13: (2015-1-18) "Eggs, A Dozen Ways"
  • Episode 14: (2015-1-25) "Eggs, Two dozen Ways"


A Chef's Life has received many positive reviews. Jill Warren Lucas from Indy Week praised the show.[5] Corey Lowenstein of the News and Observer wrote, “Howard and Hill’s partnership works because both women intuitively understand the food landscape they are trying to portray.” It won a Peabody Award in 2013 "for its refreshingly unsensational depiction of life and work in a modern restaurant – with generous sides of Southern folkways and food lore."[6] "The whole point of “A Chef’s Life” is to showcase the people and traditions of Eastern North Carolina, not some version of them gussied up for TV." --WASHINGTON POST


External links[edit]