But she has a new show in the works.
The production company behind Vivian Howard’s A Chef’s Life —the highly acclaimed PBS documentary series, which follows Howard as she searches for new ingredients for her North Carolina restaurant Chef & the Farmer—has announced that after five seasons, the show is coming to a close.
A Chef's Life is the recipient of two Daytime Emmys, a James Beard Foundation Award, and a Peabody award. In 2017, Howard herself was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast award.
The most recent season joined Howard on the road as she promoted her latest cookbook, Deep Run Roots, and followed her as she prepared to celebrate her restaurant’s ten-year anniversary. Last year, around the time of the season five premiere in October, Howard did suggest that perhaps A Chef’s Life had run its course. In one interview with North Carolina's News & Observer, she was already hinting at plans for another show that was still "up in the air."
Speaking of which, Howard and PBS aren’t parting ways. According to a report from the Charlotte Observer, Howard is working on a new six-episode series for the network in which she will act as a “culinary anthropologist and showcase the foods and traditions that cross and connect cultures.”
The description of the new series seems to check out with that aforementioned October interview, where Howard mentioned that she was interested in exploring the significance of a single dish, as opposed to a single ingredient. "Every culture has their noodle, their dumpling, their broth with healing powers, their funeral food, their celebration food, their junk food,” she said. “While these things are different from culture to culture, all these dishes exist for the same reasons."
There’s no airdate or title confirmed for the show yet (though some promotional materials for the production company behind it, Markay Media, list it as “South by Somewhere”), but Howard says it “will continue to highlight Kinston and the South,” and that she’s “excited about this new opportunity to move into primetime.”
The one-hour finale of A Chef's Life will air on PBS on October 22.