HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


PBS show "A Chef's Life"

I was wondering if many PBS stations picked this up across the country, because it has a very Southern, local perspective. I think it is fantastic and hope others might agree.

If you haven't seen it on your local station, you can see it here: http://video.pbs.org/program/chefs-life/

Have any of you caught this one?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Have not seen it.. looks intriguing and well done. PBS write up here... http://www.pbs.org/food/shows/a-chefs...

    1. Our PBS station carries this show. [Which is amazing, because they are a 'second-tier' PBS member.]

      It's a great show. Howard and Knight have had some major problems with The Chef and The Farmer, but watching them work through and even grow is interesting. And the food looks great. I also like that they reach out to and feature their purveyors almost every week.

      I hope that this show continues. And my sweetie laughs at me almost every week because we vacation in Eastern NC, and I describe the current ep to him - but have we ever been to the restaurant? Nooooo. Maybe next year.

      1. I like the show. Momentarily had it confused with another. Liked the whole hog episode.

        1. It's a great show and a great restaurant if you ever get the chance to visit.

          1. It's on in the Boston area. I don't recall if it was on the Boston, RI, or NH PBS station(s) our cable gets - maybe it's on all of them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: NE_Wombat

              It's on WGBH (ch. 2) Boston, on Saturday afternoon.

              Today was the first time I've seen it. I take it their restaurant had fire damage at some point. The sauces Vivian was creating looked excellent, as did the rest of the food, but her husband seemed overwhelmed. Not to mention two very young children and building a house rather than buying one means juggling MANY plates, so to speak. Wonder if the marriage will last.

            2. It's on PBS in Los Angeles

              1. I just started watching this show, and I love it. I know it's television, but it seems a more low-key and honest than your average reality show. The food looks great.

                The problem she has with staffing makes me fantasize about moving to North Carolina and working my way up in her kitchen as a dishwasher all the way to sous, even though I've never been to culinary school or worked a day in a kitchen in my life. I figure that would be an amazing opportunity for someone who would show up 100% of the time and work hard.

                1. We just returned from the restaurant and it is a great spot for wonderful food as is their second restaurant, The Boiler Room, an oyster bar/burger place, across the street from Chef & the Farmer. Program airs now in NYC, LA and Boston, but NC TV here in Carolina balked at picking it up. Maybe because they did not produce it? Anyway, for us in NC, the DVD is the answer.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: terrismith

                    I'm in Charlotte and my friends and I all watch it on PBS.

                    1. re: southernitalian

                      Looks like it has ended. Yet, folks at the bar at Chef & the Farmer said it was a struggle with UNCTV, for "political reasons." What does that mean? They were so busy, we did not have time to pursue...

                      1. re: terrismith

                        I think that UNCTV was given the first option to produce it but turned it down. It was then offered to South Carolina ETV who jumped at the chance to produce the show. UNCTV has shown it but not really supported the show, choosing instead to promote Flavor NC.

                    2. re: terrismith

                      It's on UNC-TV at 9:30 PM on Thursdays, although the season may have ended on 12/5.

                    3. PBS posted a Holiday Q&A with Vivian Howard, the chef who is featured. I think it gives a good sense of the show, for those who haven't watched.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: indyumd

                        I was rather tickled that she answered one of my questions for that Q&A.

                        1. re: indyumd

                          Thanks for posting that! I'll give the cheese ball a try. I got a chuckle out of the saltines, certainly not very 'chefy'.

                        2. I have a girl crush on Vivian. She seems very likeable in a realistic way. I love the show and I watch it in Montreal.

                          1. I watched the series on Boston PBS.
                            I loved everything about it. I wish PBS would put her all recipes from the show on their website.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: Terrie H.

                                Thanks!! That's great.
                                I'll be looking for that ridiculously yummy drippy tomato sandwich that landed her and the sandwich on a magazine cover.

                            1. It's on one of New York City's PBS stations, so not limited to the south. I enjoyed it.

                              1. The more episodes I see, the more I like it - and the more I like the chef, Vivian Howard, and the less I like her husband Ben. Are we seeing a marriage headed for the rocks, or already on them? But this series shows me more about the way a restaurant is run and the way its chef thinks than any other show I've seen, and I can't wait for the next episode.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: John Francis

                                  I THINK the final one has already run - here, anyway. It takes place in early January, including the staff holiday party which is held outdoors at their finally-finished home.

                                  From the very first episode, it's clear to me that the honeymoon is long over. I do have some empathy for Ben, a Northerner whose ego has to be somewhat emasculated by moving back into the bosom of his wife's large family. Even the new house is on the Howard family homestead, and it's bluntly stated that the Howards bankrolled the restaurant(s). He has dreams of being an artist that might or might not pan out if he had the chance to pursue them, but instead he is spending all his non-father time on the restaurants. Granted, he could have refused to leave NYC, and should have known what he was in for. Neither he nor Vivian seem to know their own limits. If I were a wagering woman, I'd bet my first-born child that by the time theirs are in kindergarten, their marriage will be in divorce court.

                                2. I thought it was pretty good, but DH says it depresses him. I think the only episode he saw was the one when the restaurant burned down.

                                  1. I really liked it. Its too bad that it won't be back.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: jchulley

                                        I attended a talk by Vivian Howard earlier in the week and seem to recall she said a second season is in the works.

                                      2. Finally watched this on my local PBS create station. Didn't care for it. Vivian is unlikable and the whole show really seems to be talking down to the area and customers.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                          In my area, A Chef's Life and the April Bloomfield season of The Mind of a Chef are both running currently. It's interesting to compare and contrast. As COOKS, both are very creative, and have a passion for unusual and quality ingredients, attempting to source as locally as possible, but as CHEFS, there's a distinct difference. April is a demanding but level-headed manager, and teaching her staff is not only an obligation but an interest.
                                          Vivian seems to manage mostly through scolding her employees. If she sees that they've omitted something, or done it incorrectly, she asks if they've done X, then without waiting for a response, she'll say something like, "I know you didn't because I can still see the Z." Her frustration is understandable, but treating workers like kindergartners does not make them more dedicated. How much of this difference is editing and how much is standard operating procedure is not for me to say.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            And yet it seems her workers stood by her, and her prickly husband, after the fire wiped out the restaurant. That seems pretty dedicated to me. Finally, the test of a manager's effectiveness is its effect, isn't it? And she's certainly not a tyrant in the restaurant's kitchen, just a determined perfectionist.

                                            The comparison with April Bloomfield, whom I haven't yet seen running the kitchen in either of her restaurants, doesn't take into account their very different situations. Bloomfield's restaurants are in Manhattan, a food metropolis with millions of potential customers and thousands of skilled and motivated kitchen and waitstaff workers to draw on, Hunter in a rural, thinly populated area with no history of fine dining restaurants or reservoir of potential workers. All they have in common is their profession and, of course, their gender.

                                            1. re: John Francis

                                              I don't know how Vivian tolerates her selfish, arrogant and narcissistic husband. His demeanor is clear with every episode: He is always chiding her about "how this or that makes him look bad" Another example was when they were about to open the restaurant after the fire and Vivian is concerned about overworking the employees. Ben's response was: (para) "I'll work them as hard as I want because they just had a 4 month vacation." That statement shows how much of a selfish bastard he is. It's like he's saying: "they were getting paid for doing nothing for 4 months and they got something over on me, so THEY owe me." He doens't take into consideration the lost tips and other perks they got from working. He's a big oaf who behaves like a 5 year old. I doubt their marriage will last.

                                          2. re: Firegoat

                                            I just saw my first episode (tomatoes) and enjoyed watching it.

                                            It's hard to tell how trained her staff is - so I cut her some slack on some of those things. It is hard if your staff isn't well trained already - you ask them to do things a certain way - they decide to do it differently or to cut corners to save some time - and then you're out all those ingredients because they didn't follow your directions. It can drive you crazy - and when you're starting out and the budgets are so tight you can't afford to put out bad food or waste those ingredients. It's a lot of pressure.

                                            I like how she (or the editors) let the purveyors that she visits tell their own stories. I'm sure she knows the answers to 90% of the questions she asks them but rather than explaining their business to them (like happens on so many other shows) she let's them speak for themselves. I like that aspect and feels like it gives them the respect they deserve.

                                          3. I watched a few episodes and absolutely hate it. Vivian is a witch who thinks she is better than the people around her. She made a comment how her father's friends won't go to her restaurant because there is no salad bar and his best friend can't get thousand island dressing. She then made a snarky comment how she would never serve a mayonnaise based dressing. I believe in the opening she said she never wanted to come back to her North Carolina town. I bet the towns people wish she hadn't either. Her food is not appetizing and who wants to pay money where the appetizer, main course etc is based on one food item. She and that narcissistic husband should have stayed in NY. I missed the episode with the fire. Did they ever find out what caused it?

                                            1. I liked the show but only caught two back-to-back episodes. (One was the aftermath of the fire.) I thought the chef was a little hard on her customers--making remarks about their uneducated palates. We do the same thing here on Chowhound, but it is nice and anonymous. The chef has a difficult job--convincing people to try foods that they have never had before and I think that it frustrates her at times.

                                              However, it is a small community and everyone seems to know her. The customers seem willing to give her a break and the staff obviously likes her.

                                              The challenge of plunking a restaurant with high-end food (but modest prices) in Carolina farm country is challenging and interesting. I hope that there will be more episodes.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: gfr1111

                                                "The challenge of plunking a restaurant with high-end food (but modest prices) in Carolina farm country is challenging and interesting. I hope that there will be more episodes."

                                                yeah - I'm going to have to watch again. There are a lot of negative comments about how the chef talks down about her customers - I didn't get that impression at all from the episode I watched.

                                                I think it is very challenging trying to do higher end food in remote areas. The people don't want and don't support the price points or the food.

                                                I'm currently spending 1/2 my time in a VERY remote area and people here want . . .essentially bar/comfort food. They don't want anything fancy - they talk poorly about restaurants that try to up the ante - and they are very reluctant to try anything different. That is factual. Of course there are a few individual exceptions - but if you're in a community of 7,000 people and 10% of those people are willing to do "fancy" - and only then maybe 2-3 times a year (because of preferences and price points) - that is a rough business model. I'm not sure why (from the one episode I've seen) that reality is seen as her being so negative . . . sometimes things are just how they are.

                                                1. re: thimes

                                                  In the intro to EVERY episode, she explains that she grew up in eastern NC and swore she'd never come back.
                                                  Even if she doesn't deride her customers' parochial palates in each show, the opener is a slap at the whole region. In the show where a group from Southern Foodways comes for a special lunch, in the preparatory pep talk to the staff, she says the group will be spending the afternoon in Hinston and "let's face it, lunch is going to be the highlight of the visit", or something very close if not verbatim. She often complains about how many people just want a ribeye steak, a potato, and sweet tea (and think $2 is too much for the tea).

                                                  A friend of mine commented that Vivian's ace in the hole is Southern charm. Just when she is on the verge of the viewer thinking she's being a total bitch, she puts on a smile and ingratiating folksiness, and wins over the people she's dealing with, plus the audience.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    How does she compare with Sean Brock in Charleston?


                                                    All I know about him comes from the 6 episodes on season 2 of The Mind of a Chef.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      I will definitely watch a few more episodes (I enjoyed the one) and listen for this more closely.

                                                      I do remember the intro that you're referencing - but honestly, I think most people who grew up in a small rural town and moved away to a big city say "I'm never coming back". So from my perspective that isn't a dig at all - but I can see why that would compound with other derogatory comments to create a different picture of that comment.

                                                      Just one more reason to "never say never", life has a way of twisting and turning. . . .

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        Is this a fresh intro for each episode, or a canned one?

                                                        Mark Dacascos doesn't do a backflip every ICA episode.

                                                    2. re: gfr1111

                                                      It's also worth keeping in mind that 'reality' show are heavily edited. Even when the original footage is unscripted, what we see has been selected with an eye toward drama. With a PBS show like this the editing might not be as heavy handed as on Bravo and A&E. But viewers tend to loose interest if there is too much of the everyday niceness that makes up most of our lives.

                                                    3. I wonder if Vivian's entries on this blog give a better picture


                                                      1. I am really enjoying the show. Nice blend of how to, reality TV without too much nonsense and a good bkgnd on the foods and techniques of a working restaurant.

                                                        I'm not too worried about Vivian's husband. She seems to be a great chef, she's pretty hot too <g>. The parents seem loaded and as other's have stated, the editing is probably such it's made to appear there's more conflict than there really is. I'd love to eat at her restaurant. I hope to see the rest of season 1 which I have set to tape and look foward to season 2.

                                                        1. I watch it in New Orleans and LOVE it. While I'm from the South, New Orleans foods very different than most other Southern cooking. Other than grits and fried chicken, we use more sauces, rouxs, seafood with lots more RICE than most Southerners.

                                                          1. This "chef" seems like the biggest asshole on two legs...what a terrible attitude...i'm supposed to care about her struggle to make it? No thanks, think i'll watch john besh instead

                                                            1. vivian's food looks good, but she seems totally cracked in every scene when she's in the restaurant kitchen. it seems her element is more cooking for fun, love, and sustenance in a family kitchen.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: euroclyde

                                                                Viv is a little high strung but she's the face of the series. I have a feeling her husband does allot of the real work. I HATE that way people from the South are stereotypical and monotonically portrayed on TV. We're not all the same! We don't all sound the same. My mother's family is second generation German and my dad, Cajun. My maternal grandparents spoke mostly German. My dad's parents spoke mostly French. I speak English, French and German. My diet reflects the cumulative histories of both sides of my family. Unlike most other parts of the country, most Southerners are STILL very close to their relations.

                                                                1. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                  a little high-strung? that's an understatement. she's the opposite (not complete opposite, however, because she's way less high-strung than every other chefs i've known) of the chefs i've worked work who were in charge of everything in their kitchen AND were trying to exert influence throughout the whole restaurant, including the front end. viv seems really unable to do anything other than cook. when she was mulling those grapes and couldn't correctly say "sachet," i really started wondering about her. who is this lady who cooked in nice restaurants in nyc who didn't know this word, but throws out words like "brunoise" while saying defining it something like, "a fancy word we use in the industry"? she just screamed when her new fryer was boiling over. nobody in the kitchen i worked would have just sat there watching; everyone, including women, would have been in there fixing that situation. why is she (and so many of her staff) cutting those huge heirloom tomatoes with that tiny, piece of crap paring knife? what's with her arrogance; e.g., her intent to really show those simpletons in her hometown that they've been eating grits wrong their whole lives and how to do them right by "pimping" them? but i think i've got her figured out now if the timeline i've seen is correct: she was 37 when they started filming the show and she'd been living in bfe north carolina for 9 years before they started the restaurant and filming. that means if she left home at 18 for nyc, she could have worked in nice restaurants for a maximum of about 10 years. it's entirely possible to learn a ton in this time, even to become a rock start chef (well beyond a great cook), vivian just doesn't portray all that.

                                                                  vivian looks like a great cook. i hope their restaurant is doing as well as the food looks good. i don't know why i really care so much to write all of the above, it's as mysterious as why i care so much about the show that i keep watching. oh well.

                                                                  1. re: euroclyde

                                                                    I don't have a food service background. I'm always amazed how people can work in that pressure cooker environment. I'm not sure it's good to dissect guilty pleasures like "reality TV". Sure it's VERY edited. I love the show as a Southerner because it's a honest depiction what I love about the South.

                                                                    I moved back to New Orleans from the North because I missed my family. I attended a Saints party at my parents last night. Two of my uncles were there, both my brothers, one cousin with lots of grandchildren. At the end of the day, it's about who loves you, who you can count on unconditionally. Sure, there's allot of things I don't enjoy about the South but this is where I belong.

                                                                    1. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                      i know your feelings for new orleans. my parents generation and beyond all live in hammond and my generation all live in the city. i am in washington, dc, but always love getting back for the food and soul.

                                                                      i think the show mentions it, but if not, i've heard/read/observed it myself: the south, one of the most fertile regions of the country, has spent most of recent history not eating its own produce. poverty, much the result of their learned (not inherited) history and the pride they defend their old, dogmatic ways of life that comes across as chosen ignorance, has guided southerners into massive consumers of packaged, preserved, unnatural foods. i hope they (and the whole country in general) gets back to eating locally.

                                                                      1. re: euroclyde

                                                                        I'm not hear to change the world or other's minds! I take people as they are with warts and all. I have relatives that I don't agree with politically. Why let that diminish the 90% that bind us as family. I'm not sure what it says about Americans that we all seem to want to confront each other as adversaries.

                                                                    2. re: euroclyde

                                                                      In one of Season 1's episodes, it was mentioned that in NYC, they were making soup IN THEIR HOME, and delivering it to some well-known restaurants. If memory serves, there was mention of cooling the pots in the bathtub. So, Vivian and Ben may or may not have had any experience working IN
                                                                      restaurants. I think the show's opening narration even says something like they worked "for" some of the city's best chefs, which covers them, truthwise, but is misleading to the average viewer. That's not to say she isn't a gifted cook - I believe she IS, but her pronunciation and her management skills leave something to be desired.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                        A quick google search reveals she did work in at least two NYC kitchens under acclaimed chefs, namely wd-50 (Wylie Dufresne) and Spice Market (Jean-Georges Vongerichten).

                                                                        I do not find her statement misleading.

                                                                  2. re: euroclyde

                                                                    Something to keep in mind is that the show is a PBS documentary series, not a carefully crafted reality show like you are going to see on other networks. While I'm sure the show is edited to show her somewhat favorably, its not designed to simply build Vivian's personal image and brand, the way most other cooking reality shows are. What you see is going to be far more realistic and honest than other shows. Even compared to something like Mind of a Chef on PBS, there is gonna be far less pre-crafted scenarios and events designed to simply enhance the image of the chef.

                                                                    1. re: indyumd

                                                                      Oh, I so beg to disagree. It IS all about her and about building her brand. I live in central NC (never eaten at the restaurant mostly due to distance issues) but Howard is all but treated as a goddess 'round here. She shows up at many events, charity and otherwise, is the featured speaker at many other events, and is considered a draw in foodie circles. Vivian - not Ben. And although the show's "About" page lists someone else as executive producer, I seem to recall seeing Howard's name on the screen in that role or a similarly important position. The show is not a public service advertisement on her part. It is about advertising her and her business. Not saying that's a bad thing. Of course she should earn money any legal way she wants. But this isn't a documentary.

                                                                      1. re: rockycat

                                                                        The parts I find most interesting are the visits to farmers and other suppliers. I could care less about the human drama. I like learning about food and food culture.

                                                                  3. In my opinion, Southerners are probably the most misunderstood ethic group in the country. Unlike most of this country, we're for better and sometimes worse, VERY connected to our past. Most of us are close to our parents and grandparents. The way we cook, talk and think is directly related to the cultural heritage each of us inherit. That said, we're NOT all the same. I'm from New Orleans. New Orleans is very Catholic (NOT SOUTHERN BAPTIST)and with a strong French influence in our names and diet. We all don't sound that same, eat the same, or think the same.

                                                                    1. On to Season 2 and recent chowhound comments regarding the show:
                                                                      Like any 'reality-based' program, you can take it or leave it. How realistic is it... IDK. The subjects/ingredients seem real enough, and I have borrowed a few ideas from the show.

                                                                      For one, living in the Northeast, you never, ever see green or actual boiled peanuts for sale, anywhere! Not many people around CT even know what they are, yet alone try and taste them. I can't even buy green peanuts, except online. One local Southern-inspired restaurant started serving BPs & called them Redneck Edammame (HA!). I might have been the only person buying them, because, they have since taken them off the menu.
                                                                      So, I will have to start boiling peanuts on my own, and Vivian's recipe is top of the list.

                                                                      That said, looking forward to Season 2!

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: MacaronsInSoNo

                                                                        Sorry darling (with a Southern affectation), that "BOILED PEANUT" thing is not part of my Southern experience! We don't eat boiled peanuts in New Orleans! I have had them in Mississippi and hated them. You should try a little Cajun seafood boil seasoning in your water! Our more traditionally "Southern" neighbors to the North (Mississippi), commonly use Louisiana's own, Zatarin's seafood boil to give their boiled peanuts a little BAM!

                                                                        1. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                          I'm glad you've found your peace back home in New Orleans. It is an interesting place in this world.

                                                                          But to think that your southern experience is emblematic of all southern experiences is slightly misguided. As is thinking the rest of the country is homogeneous with their relationships to history, ancestors, an their extended families.

                                                                          1. re: thimes

                                                                            I'm not downing other places. My experience, is my experience. I'm speaking about close family ties that you commonly see in the South but I've seen in Irish neighborhoods in Boston, Italian neighborhoods in New York. I'm really illustrating an "old world" perspective on family and community. My point is simple: No matter where you live or your background, life is all about relationships, not money or even haute cuisine.

                                                                          2. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                            Not sure why you think New Orleans cuisine (or Cajun or Creole or any other LA cuisine) is the same as what is generally referred to as "Southern" cooking. I happen to think that LA food is some of the best in the country, but it has very little to do with the way people have traditionally cooked in NC, SC, GA, MS, etc.

                                                                            I live in urban NC and we can buy green peanuts, in season, at the state farmers' market and the Asian groceries locally. We can even buy ready-boiled peanuts year-round on the grocery store shelves in cans. Granted, boiled peanuts can be an acquired taste for some - it took me a few tries - but just because something doesn't fall into your personal experience doesn't mean it isn't valid. Oh, and many of us from North Cackalacky already make our boiled peanuts with Cajun spice blends or even Korean gochujaru.

                                                                            Bless your heart.

                                                                            1. re: rockycat

                                                                              I seen boiled peanuts at a Chinese market. I don't know if they are similar to the southern style. I missed the crunch of the roasted ones. They were ok in rice bundles, but not very interesting alone.


                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                Like I said, they can be an acquired taste. I've never bought prepared boiled peanuts from an Asian market so I don't know how they season them, if they season them at all. Southern boiled peanuts are highly seasoned, usually with crazy amounts of salt, sometimes with Cajun spices, hot pepper, etc. I could easily see disliking them if they're unseasoned.

                                                                                ETA: By "seasoned," I mean cooked in the salt water and brined after boiling. Just sprinkling salt over plain boiled peanuts wouldn't help much.

                                                                              2. re: rockycat

                                                                                You're mostly correct! It wouldn't be right to say New Orleans wasn't influence by our my traditionally Southern neighbors. Popeye's fried chicken is a good example of New Orleanians borrowing from our neighbors and adding our own twist. As for boiled peanuts, I haven't even seen them in South Louisiana.

                                                                          3. I found the biscuit making lesson with Ms. Lillie Hardy in the Buttermilk episode interesting -
                                                                            (some interesting comments in that post about being a cocky chef)

                                                                            And found a recipe for the same kind in Nathalie Dupree's Southern Biscuits book


                                                                            and here

                                                                            1. My favorite post-Katrina, New Orleans restaurant is Cochon Butcher (Cochon is Pig in French). I'm not being paid to endorse, just LOVE!

                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: euroclyde

                                                                                      Has this season of "A Chef's Life" already begun? I read allot of folks dump on the show but I still love the program. I love the interaction between Viv and her mother. I also love how she explores the rich Southern tradition of cooking. (It's more than just fried chicken and grits.) I'm also interested in what it takes to run a successful, upscale restaurant in a rural area. All these things appeal to me. I never seem to know when it airs? Can anyone help with typical air dates and times?

                                                                                      1. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                                        It is showing now in many locations. Here is a link where you can find show times in your area, plus other information about the show:


                                                                                        1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                          Terrie H., The link says Season 2 begins airing in October, but every episode listed (under TV Schedule) is still episodes from Season 1, right through half of November.
                                                                                          Disappointed in PBS!

                                                                                          1. re: MacaronsInSoNo

                                                                                            They haven't shown season 2 in the Boston area yet, as far as I know, but I watched the new episodes on the PBS website. First season, she was fretting about the workload involved in planning the second restaurant. It opens in the new season, she continues to fret, AND decides to have her blueberry barbecue sauce commercially bottled. Glutton for punishment. There IS mention, though, about the motivation for The Boiler Room being profitability. She acknowledges that few locals patronize The Chef and the Farmer. The Boiler Room is intended to build a return local customer base. I continue to marvel that Vivian and Ben have not split up - yet.

                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                              Yes, I always felt there's possibly schism in their marriage. It's hard to know because her husband gets so little air time. You also don't know what really is said when the cameras are off. I'm probably WAY TOO into this show. I've read Q/A articles online where you can tell that success is going to Viv's head. Haven't we seen this story before.

                                                                                            2. re: MacaronsInSoNo

                                                                                              Are those listings all for CreateTV? That subchannel plays episodes after the main channels have had a chance to show them. It's in effect the cooking reruns channel.

                                                                                              There's even a hierarchy among stations. The Tacoma station always gets shows a couple of weeks after the Seattle one - unless it's a show that Seattle chooses not carry at all.

                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                Yes, I believe the listings are Create TV. I didn't know that it was a 'subchannel', never heard that before. It's still part of the WLIW family (PTV in the Tri-state area), I just thought it was more options and programming for them.

                                                                                                1. re: MacaronsInSoNo

                                                                                                  describes the additional WLIW channels.

                                                                                                  On the air, there is 21.1 (main), 21.2 (create), 21.3 (world).

                                                                                                  Create cooking shows (not all on the current rotation

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    i stream it on the pbs app on my apple tv.

                                                                                                    1. re: euroclyde

                                                                                                      Yes, I see most of the episodes on the Roku PBS channel.

                                                                                          2. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                                            Saturday afternoon is the typical time for showing food shows on PBS stations. But each station decides the mix it wants. But many stations broadcast the Createtv subchannel. That includes this show as part of its regular rotation, though it lags in airing new episodes. There's a Createtv website.

                                                                                            1. re: KDLNOLA

                                                                                              You can also view it directly on the PBS website - Episode 4 of this season is posted already.

                                                                                              1. re: mramage

                                                                                                RE: Saturday air time No wonder I never seem to be able to watch "A Chef's Life". I'm always busy on Saturday. Thanks for the hint regarding the PBS website. Yesterday, I was able to watch three episodes about Viv and Ben's trip to Oxford, MS. She was stressing out about the Southern Foodways Alliance. I'm not really interested in learning the logistics associated with catering 400 people. I really like when Viv visits farms and then features those items on the menu.

                                                                                        2. Semi-related -

                                                                                          A Southern Season [Chapel Hill, NC, Charleston SC, Richmond VA, and I guess Charlotte, NC soon] features Vivian-curated holiday gift assortments. Interesting, but whoo boy, pricey. [I love SS, and yes, they are pricey overall. We internet-order coffee from them.]

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                                            I got the catalog yesterday and had a very good laugh over that section. Had to laugh, otherwise the prices would have had me in tears. Southern Season has always been on the expensive side but they've usually delivered value for it. Since the new owners have taken over I've stopped shopping there. Don't like the store re-design, don't like the new inventory, don't like the attitude, and really don't like the even higher prices.

                                                                                            But if anyone had a question about Vivian Howard promoting her brand, this should resolve it.


                                                                                            1. re: rockycat

                                                                                              Hah - I saw the back of the catalog first, with its' VIVIAN! section, so I turned to that first. And kind of choked [Ben's Breakfast.' Indeed.] And then looked at some of the other gift selections, and choked a little more. Prices way up over 2013.

                                                                                              We were in the Chapel Hill store in late September - my husband loves one of their coffee bean options, so we stock up - and I was disappointed at the changes, especially in the 'fresh' market area.

                                                                                              Back on topic, this weekend is the second of two shows featuring the 'Saturday' luncheon at last years' Southern Foodways Alliance annual conference. The prep episode was fun, this one should be as well.