Foodies — especially fans of the farm-to-table movement — will want to check out PBS’ new series, “A Chef’s Life,” debuting at 1 p.m. Saturday on WTTW-Channel 11.
The series follows the life of chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Chicago native Ben Knight, after the couple left New York City to open a fine-dining restaurant in the small town of Kinston in eastern North Carolina.
Part cooking series, part documentary, the half-hour episodes follow Vivian out of kitchen and into the cornfields, berry patches and local farms as she hunts down the ingredients for her seasonal menus at Chef & The Farmer.
Like a lot of PBS fare, the show is both educational and relaxing to watch. You can’t help but root for Vivian and Ben, parents to young twins and business owners struggling to keep their restaurant afloat in a rural area not accustomed to paying $2 for a glass of tea. (Sounds like a steal to this Chicagoan.)
It’s tough enough recruiting the right staff in such a sparsely populated area, but things get even tougher when Ben and Vivian are thrown a devastating curve ball in the premiere.
Vivian was born and raised in this part of North Carolina, where her parents lured her back by promising to help the couple open a restaurant.
Ben is a fifth-generation Chicagoan, a graduate of Northbrook’s Glenbrook North High School and Northwestern University. After graduating college, Ben lived in Ukrainian Village before moving to NYC in 2002 to pursue a career in painting. The Bears, Bulls and White Sox fan designed the interior of Chef & The Farmer and did its artwork.
Each of the series’ 13 episodes will air at 1 p.m. Saturdays.