Vivian’s cookbook Deep Run Roots took home four IACP Cookbook awards in 2017, including Cookbook of the Year. Find out how she became a successful entrepreneur, restauranteur, writer, and TV personality, and how she manages the many roles she plays within the culinary world.
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Born in Deep Run, NC, to tobacco and hog farming parents, Vivian Howard learned early on to appreciate the ebb and flow of eating with the seasons. Still, it took 23 years and a start in the advertising business to convince her a career in food was feasible. After college, Vivian moved to New York for work, but found the city’s food and restaurant scene far more intriguing. A server position at Greenwich Village’s Voyage made it possible for her to begin training under the restaurant’s Chef, Scott Barton. She later went on to learn from creative, cutting edge chefs Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason at WD-50 and later, was a member of the opening team at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market.
In 2005 Vivian and her now husband Ben Knight decided to return to Vivian’s roots to open a farm-to-fork restaurant in the small town of Kinston, NC. They opened Chef & the Farmer in the summer of 2006 serving local, seasonal, creative cuisine. Over the past eight years, Chef Howard has developed strong relationships with local farmers making it possible to source over 70% of the restaurant’s foodstuffs from within 60 miles. Chef and the Farmer has become beloved by locals and a destination for diners all over the state.
Vivian also co-created and stars in the PSB series A Chef’s Life and is the first woman since Julia Child to win a Peabody Award for a cooking program. Her New York Times’ best-selling first cookbook Deep Run Roots won four IACP Cookbook Awards and is a finalist for a 2017 James Beard Cookbook Award. Follow Vivian on Twitter at @
Andrea Weigl (Moderator)
Andrea Weigl has been the food writer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina since 2007. She has won awards from the Society for Features Journalism, the Association of Food Journalists, and The Society of News Design. Her stories have been reprinted in such anthologies as Best Food Writing, Cornbread Nation, and 27 Views of Raleigh. Follow Andrea on Twitter at @
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