From sweet corn to cornbread and collards to cracklins, Vivian Howard’s PBS TV show, “A Chef’s Life,” brought the delicacies of the South to life and made the Kinston chef a star.
After five seasons, the Emmy- and Peabody-winning show will end this month with a one-hour finale. The “Harvest Special,” airing Monday, Oct. 22, looks back on the five years of the show, the cast of Lenoir County characters woven into the episodes and a couple more iconic ingredients overlooked until now: chow chow and paw paws.
With any retrospective, there’s the passage of time: Howard’s husband, Ben Knight’s graying hair; their twins Flo and Theo growing up; the progression of Howard cooking nightly at Chef & the Farmer to opening two other restaurants; and building a television career.
This summer, Howard and Durham-based Markay Media announced last year’s fifth season would be the show’s last, but promised a proper send-off with the Harvest Special. In it, scene-stealers Lillie Hardy and Warren Brothers, who often cook with Howard or provide her ingredients, get one last walk through the garden.
It all builds to a final meal at a long table in a dusty dry cornfield, gathering just about every regular since the show began in 2013.