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Chef Vivian Howard embarks on a book tour in the latest season of her PBS show. 

Elisabeth Sherman
October 02, 2017

The new season of A Chef’s Life, the PBS documentary that follows Chef Vivian Howard, who, along with her husband, opened the upscale Chef and the Farmer in North Carolina, as she runs her restaurant and scours local farms for the ingredients that make the menu (around 70 percent of the food she uses comes from within 60 miles of the restaurant), premieres this month. In season 5, Howard celebrates the ten-year anniversary of the restaurant's opening, finds out that her first cookbook, Deep Run Roots, has hit the New York Times bestseller list, and embarks on her book tour in a food truck. According to PBS, the chef also “discovers small batch whiskey in Kentucky” and goes fishing for bass in North Carolina.

“Historically, our stories have been told from North Carolina. But in this season of the show, I go on a nine-week book tour where we take a food truck around the Southeast,” she told Food and Wine, adding that she’ll be stopping in Atlanta, Nashville, and Louisville.

Howard got her start in the restaurant industry in Manhattan, where she ran her own “gourmet delivery service,” and was part of the team of chefs that opened Jean Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market, but ultimately decided to open her own restaurant in her home state with the help her parents. She now runs Boiler Room, an oyster bar, along with Chef and the Farmer, in Kinston, North Carolina.

Since then, Howard has found no shortage of praise for the work she has done as a chef and documentarian: She's been a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast four years in a row, but in 2016, she won the Outstanding Television Personality award. This year, she’s nominated for a James Beard Book Award in the American Cooking category, and the chef herself is once again a Best Chef: Southeast nominee. In 2015, the show won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle/Culinary/Travel Program.

The first episode of the season, which you'll be able to watch on October 5 (check your local listings), opens with Howard taking a break from finishing her cookbook to prepare for a dinner that will benefit local farmers.