Vivian Howard’s Next PBS Show Will Premiere in 2020
Last October, PBS aired A Chef’s Life Harvest Special—the final installment in Vivian Howard’s documentary series A Chef’s Life, which aired for five seasons. The show followed Howard as she explored the South “one ingredient at a time,” meeting with farmers, purveyors, and producers along the way and picking up new ingredients for her North Carolina restaurant, Chef & the Farmer. After amassing several James Beard Award nominations and a win for “Outstanding Personality/Host” in the Broadcast Media category, A Chef’s Life wrapped up with an hour-long dinner party episode featuring previous guests from the show—with plenty of Southern food, of course. However, even as the show was coming to an end, PBS and Howard had another project in the works. On Friday, the network announced South by Somewhere, a six-part culinary tour where Howard explores “the dishes that are uniting cultures and creating new traditions across the American South,” reports Eater.
“Shooting South by Somewhere has made me look at what we call Southern food with a new set of spectacles. The home kitchens I learn in, the stories I hear people share, the food I watch them make—it has lit a fresh fire under me,” Howard said in a statement. “I’m excited that, as Southerners, we can tell these complex stories through food and culture, and not shy away from our past or present.”
According to the announcement, rather than focusing on a single ingredient, Howard looks at dishes as a whole, and how they connect us all together. In North Carolina, she tries the collard sandwich with native Lumbee home cooks; the pepperoni roll is the star of the show in West Virginia, a local specialty that can be traced back to coal miners. And in Charleston, she eats grits and rice middlins with Gullah chefs. The show also highlights how a single dish can be expressed in multiple different ways from culture to culture, and you can expect to see dumplings, hand pies, porridge, and more make an appearance. Interested? The show is set to premiere on PBS in winter/spring 2020.
In other food TV news, The Taco Chronicles, a six-part documentary series that tells the stories behind one of Mexico’s most emblematic foods, premiered on Netflix on Friday. Each episode is dedicated to a specific style of taco, and the region where it’s popular—the series starts off with tacos al pastor in Mexico City, before moving on to carnitas in the state of Michoacán, canasta tacos (which can be found on the back of a bicycle), carne asada, barbacoa, and finally, guisados tacos (aka stew tacos). The goal of the series isn’t to identify the “best taco,” instead diving deep into the hard work, dedication, and passion that each Taquero puts in them—to learn more and read our recap of episode one, check out our story.