Mayo -- The Mother Sauce

Vivian holds a mayo blind taste test and a surprise brand takes top prize. After a new chef takes the reins, her diminishing role at the restaurant becomes clearer. Vivian’s long-held vacation plans are stifled by a series of strange events.

Air Date 11/12/16

 
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A Chef's Life is a new food/reality series featuring Chef Vivian Howard. Vivian was making a name for herself in New York City, when her father, a hog farmer, offered to get her started in her own restaurant. The catch? It would be located in her home town, a place she swore she would never return --- the Deep South. The series plunges audiences into the kitchen of the restaurant Chef and The Farmer, a highbrow restaurant located in Kinston, NC, one of the most impoverished communities in the U.S. When Vivian arrives home, she begs local farmers to grow fennel, lemongrass and Jerusalem artichokes --- none of which are native to the region. Soon, she realizes that the cooking techniques she learned in New York could be applied to her "grandmother's ingredients," the bounty grown by local farmers. Vivian's recipes are exquisitely assembled to bring out the best in the locally grown fresh ingredients. This is real "southern cooking," anyone can implement into their own lives. Six years in, Vivian has become a pillar in this small community, with the restaurant winning accolades across the country. As the series opens, she and her husband Ben are juggling the business and raising twins, when a devastating kitchen fire destroys the restaurant overnight. What happens next is a true testament to Southern grit.
Upcoming Air Dates
  • #108 — A Road Trip for Rice |
    Wednesday, Sep 20 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #109 — A Peanut Pastime |
    Thursday, Sep 21 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #110 — Love Me Some Candied Yams! |
    Friday, Sep 22 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #111 — Collard Green Queen |
    Monday, Sep 25 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #112 — The Buttermilk Belt |
    Tuesday, Sep 26 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #108 — A Road Trip for Rice
    Vivian travels to Columbia, South Carolina, to meet with Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills and learns about Carolina heirloom rice growing in fields on the Savannah River. Glenn explains Anson Mills' efforts to save heirloom grains and discusses the importance of ingredient biodiversity. Glenn's passion inspires Vivian to host a "rice dinner" at Chef & the Farmer, where each course centers around this grain. Scarlett, Vivian's mom, schools her daughter on how to make the chicken and rice she grew up eating.
    Wednesday, Sep 20 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #109 — A Peanut Pastime
    Vivian visits neighbor Marty Harper's peanut farm just before and during harvest. Vivian's dad introduces Ben and Vivian to the old school break snack, a pack of salted peanuts dumped into a Pepsi in a glass bottle. At the restaurant, Vivian translates the snack into Pepsi glazed pork belly with country ham braised peanuts. Vivian reinvents the popular Southern snack, boiled peanuts, for the local farmers' market.
    Thursday, Sep 21 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #110 — Love Me Some Candied Yams!
    Vivian introduces viewers to Rob and Amy Hill, proprietors of one of the largest sweet potato farms in the country and two of the restaurant's best customers. Vivian and her mom, Scarlett, make her grandmother's candied yams, and Vivian later re-imagines these for the restaurant with texture, sorghum and pecans. Mother Earth Brewery and Chef & the Farmer team up for a beer dinner, featuring first-of-the-season sweet potatoes.
    Friday, Sep 22 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #111 — Collard Green Queen
    Vivian spends the morning with her neighbors, the Mills brothers, participating in their 100-year-old all-male family tradition of making collard kraut. Vivian visits Warren at Brother's farm to talk about the Eastern Carolina ingredient with a cult following, the cabbage collard. Vivian prepares for an event called Terra Vita, where she will serve three courses to 100 people and make collards the star they deserve to be.
    Monday, Sep 25 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #112 — The Buttermilk Belt
    Vivian and Ben go to Maple View Dairy to pick up product for the restaurant. They talk buttermilk with the dairy's manager, and the noise Ben makes while savoring his cup of the thick liquid annoys his wife. The couple attempts to shoot the twins' Christmas card picture in the family's swimming-pool-turned-turnip patch, while Vivian's nieces and nephews desperately try to make buttermilk with their great-grandmother's butter churn.
    Tuesday, Sep 26 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #113 — Have Yourself Some Moonshine
    Vivian visits Broad Slab Distillery, where they talk about the art and soul of white lightning. The restaurant's mixologist works moonshine into several new drinks, while the restaurant staff struggles through the holiday party season. They end the season with a party of their own at Ben and Vivian's new house, with AppleJack Moonshine cocktails making a guest appearance.
    Wednesday, Sep 27 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #201 — Blueberries and Boiling Over
    After a year recovering from a restaurant fire and re-opening Chef and the Farmer, Vivian and Ben open a burger/oyster bar called the Boiler Room. Vivian boils over with the stress of staffing adjustments, testing new menu concepts and the task of putting 500 pounds of blueberries to good use. She dons a hairnet and bubbles with excitement at the sight of her blueberry BBQ sauce hitting the assembly line. The staff of Chef and the Farmer finally lets off some steam with a growler cocktail and a blueberry BBQ water park extravaganza.
    Thursday, Sep 28 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #202 — Shrimp Sells
    Vivian and Ben head to the beach for their annual summer vacation with the Howard family. Vivian turns up the heat with a bit of friendly competition with her older sisters. Frogmore stew, cooked outside at the beach, of course. She visits a fish camp and learns the heads and tails of fresh shrimp. Back in Kinston, the devil is in the details as Vivian and Ben prepare to open their second restaurant, the Boiler Room, and controversy brews over the bun for the burgers.
    Friday, Sep 29 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #203 — R-E-S-P-E-C-T The Butterbean
    Burgers. Oysters. Beer. Vivian and Ben are on the cusp of opening their new restaurant, the Boiler Room, and they're facing a new challenge: how to make a veggie burger stand out. Vivian chooses the beloved butterbean as the star of her new burger, but quickly learns that the bean is a straight up diva - the Aretha Franklin of the legume family - when it comes to growing conditions. After a wet spring, Warren's patch is abysmal, but with the help of onions and gouda, eggplant and garlic, Vivian's butterbean burger is the talk of opening night.
    Monday, Oct 2 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #204 — Don't Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 1
    Vivian, Ben and the entire Chef and the Farmer staff hustle to complete the preparations necessary for her luncheon at the Southern Foodways Alliance symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. At the center of her generation-spanning meal is the Tom Thumb, a pungent and rich sausage stuffed into a pig's appendix. As preparations get underway, the sheer math of the moment is astounding: four courses for 400 food writers and Southern food enthusiasts - 1,600 plates in the span of 90 minutes. Vivian greets this honor with terror and sheer force of will, leaving a long prep day with a sense of pride and excitement.
    Tuesday, Oct 3 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #205 — Don't Tom Thumb Your Nose at Me! Part 2
    The excitement of the night before turns into heightened emotion and real nerves for Vivian as she faces one challenge after another in the prep kitchen before the SFA luncheon. Wondering at the sanity of this undertaking, she's glad to have Chef Jason Vincent to lend some street cred to the whole endeavor. Rice almost brings Vivian to her breaking point, but everyone pulls together for the big event and her parents join her on stage for an emotional and watershed moment.
    Wednesday, Oct 4 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #206 — Apples
    As Vivian returns from her Mississippi trip, she confronts her long absence from the dinner service at Chef and the Farmer. She visits an heirloom apple tree collector, Creighton Leigh, the Johnny Appleseed of the southern apple, who grows 800 varieties in the rolling hills of North Carolina's Piedmont. Savory and sweet heirloom apples make an appearance on the menu. Vivian, Ben, Theo and Flo don boots and grab shovels to plant their own southern apple tree on their Deep Run property.
    Thursday, Oct 5 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #207 — The Fish Episode, Y'all
    Vivian presents a few of the many ways fish makes its appearance in southern cooking. She learns the rules of a good Eastern North Carolina fish stew: Make it a social event. Use whole hog bacon. Resist your urge to stir! And most important, start crackin' eggs and don't forget a side of white bread. Vivian goes to the source of all things seafood with a fishing trip with Ms. Lillie and Mary on beautiful Emerald Isle.
    Friday, Oct 6 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #208 — Obviously, It's Pecans
    It's November, y'all, and that means it's busy at Chef and the Farmer. Vivian is feeling the stress of running the restaurant after suspending her sous chef and preparing for her own Thanksgiving feast. She and Ms. Scarlett head to Ms. Scarlett's family farm where they source their pecans and have a run-in with Uncle Dwight's wild boar. On Thanksgiving, dozens of people assemble in Ben and Vivian's Deep Run home. The only thing missing is the Thanksgiving turkey. As Ben puts it, "Sometimes you eat the turkey. Sometimes the turkey eats you. "
    Monday, Oct 9 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #209 — Turnips - The Roots
    Rainy winters can yield some dull vegetable varieties, few more unglamorous than the turnip. Nevertheless, Vivian is determined to showcase this root vegetable. She features her winter rolls with pickled turnips at a charity dinner with James Beard Award-winner Ashley Christiansen and other notable chefs from the region. She frets over whether her roll is sexy enough to stand up to the opulent surroundings, amidst such distinguished company. Despite her misgivings, the roll is a head turner and Vivian manages to make some new friends.
    Tuesday, Oct 10 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #210 — Turnips - The Greens
    Late winter brings "run-up" turnip greens, which Vivian sees as central to her approach to Southern food, capturing both the spirit and the letter of what Chef and the Farmer is all about. Ms. Scarlett helps out by procuring greens from a local produce stand, washing them four times and discussing the how-to of buying and cooking good turnips to satisfy her "Southern people." Vivian downs a "cocktail for courage" as she awaits the arrival of Ben and Karen Barker, her culinary heroes. Her nerves are for naught - the Barkers are her big fans.
    Wednesday, Oct 11 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #211 — Chicken Lickin
    As Vivian waits for spring's vegetables to appear, she pauses to appreciate chicken's endless capacity as an ingredient. The restaurant's new best-seller is a whole chicken, pounded and stuffed with broccoli salad. An old family friend fries a chicken the old-fashioned way, served with a side of banana sandwiches. Spring brings the twins' birthday, and Vivian can't help but go over the top with celebrations, including the Cadillac of chicken coops to house Theo and Flo's new baby chicks.
    Thursday, Oct 12 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #212 — Ramp-Ing Up to Spring
    Vivian hunts for ramps - Appalachian wild leeks - with renowned bacon purveyor Alan Benton near his home in the Tennessee countryside. Vivian's "ramp dealer" brings her his freshest stash, foraged from the North Carolina mountains. Proud grandparents watch as Theo and Flo show off a piglet and a baby goat at the county agriculture show. Vivian uses ramps like a spring onion, making a compound butter and pimped grits, and serving up grilled ramps, pickled ramps and sauteed ramps at a dinner party.
    Friday, Oct 13 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #213 — Eggs A Dozen Ways
    Vivian finally makes good on a promise to cook for a friend's supper club, and she seizes the moment to experiment with an egg dish that she hopes will wow New York City's James Beard House crowd. She visits with her egg producer and learns the ins and outs of egg varieties, from chickens to ducks to guineas to partridges. She takes us through how to boil an egg and shares Miss Scarlett's secrets for a southern party staple: the perfect deviled egg. In the restaurant, Vivian anxiously prepares for her gala James Beard Foundation dinner, a new kind of debut in the food world.
    Monday, Oct 16 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #214 — Eggs Two Dozen Ways
    A month of planning and preparation peaks as Vivian's invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House becomes a reality. Warren Brothers, his wife, Jane, and other friends from Kinston bring their particular brand of Eastern North Carolina charm, making everyone feel at right at home. As Warren and company charm the pants off the fancy food writers and television critics, Vivian frets about perfectly cracking 85 eggs for each plate. But before she can get there, the deep fryer breaks, bringing the Beard House a lot closer to hell's kitchen.
    Tuesday, Oct 17 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #301 — Stop, Squash and Roll
    With squash season in full effect, trouble with the twins, staffing issues at the Boiler Room and a new cookbook overloading her plate, Vivian seeks motherly advice from Mrs. Scarlett and her sister Johnna over a Southern classic: squash and onions.
    Wednesday, Oct 18 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #302 — Pretty In Peach
    Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill's canned peaches and shares memories from her own childhood. Vivian sweats through a Thanksgiving-in-July photo shoot while a major mix-up leaves the restaurant team scrambling.
    Thursday, Oct 19 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #303 — Gettin' Figgy with It
    Vivian is under the gun to pen an entire book chapter on figs in three days. The stress inspires a fig and honey bourbon slushie tasting and a fig preserves session. After much debate, Vivian and Ben decide to charge for bread at the restaurant.
    Friday, Oct 20 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #304 — Pickle Perfect
    Vivian visits her friend Nancy for a surprisingly comforting combination of homemade pickles, chicken salad and chocolate cake. Ben and Vivian audition a new chef to offer Ben some relief and much-needed time to focus on his art.
    Monday, Oct 23 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #305 — Prickly Business
    Vivian's mentor, Scott Barton, stops by the restaurant and shares the African roots of okra. Vivian learns that picking okra is a prickly business and gets a crash course in food styling during a photo session for her upcoming cookbook.
    Tuesday, Oct 24 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #306 — If You Can't Beet Em....
    Matt from Crooked Fence Produce shows Vivian how to make "the best pickled beets she ever ate." Vivian incorporates beets into an unconventional chocolate cake in honor of Ms. Mary's 89th birthday. There's no telling how Ms. Lillie will respond.
    Wednesday, Oct 25 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #307 — A Casserole Says Plenty
    The Boiler Room welcomes a new manager, much to Ben's delight. A family reunion brings out long-lost relatives, the warmth of fellowship and an impressive spread of home-cooked casseroles.
    Thursday, Oct 26 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #308 — Honey, I'm Home!
    After a visit from "The Honey Man," Vivian turns up the heat on a dish of chicken livers drizzled with hot honey. While Ben preps for his art show in Durham, Vivian descends on the "Bull City's" restaurant row to sample sweet, honey-themed dishes.
    Friday, Oct 27 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #309 — They Call 'em 'bagas
    Lillie shows Vivian three ways to bring out the bitter and the sweet in rutabagas. Vivian showers her team with gifts as they prepare a holiday menu. A hectic New Year's Eve at the restaurant ends in a toast and a smile, despite brewing tension.
    Monday, Oct 30 at 9:30am TPT LIFE
  • #501 — Two-Mato
    As Chef & the Farmer turns 10, Vivian searches for ripe tomatoes to serve at the restaurant's birthday party. She seeks the wisdom of Ms. Mary and Ms. Lillie to prepare an old-school tomato dish that "kills hungry."
    New Sunday, Oct 8 at 6:30pm TPT 2
  • #502 — Shake, Rattle, and Pole (Beans)
    Vivian struggles to scrounge up enough green beans to add to the menu at Chef & the Farmer, where a new chef is firmly in place. Mrs. Tessie Mae gives her a golf cart tour of her garden, an intro to pickled pork and a lesson in snapping pole beans.
    New Sunday, Oct 15 at 6:30pm TPT 2
  • #503 — Prolific Peppers
    Vivian preps peppers for a trip to Lambstock, where chefs, food and music converge. Even with Warren at the wheel, the road provides unexpected woes. Holley's grandmother offers a lesson in stuffing peppers and delegating authority.
    New Sunday, Oct 22 at 6:30pm TPT 2
  • #504 — A Food Truck and a Pear Tree
    Vivian's cookbook delivery sparks emotions as the reality of wheeling a food truck around the country sets in. The crew does a practice run at the farmer's market, serving up a dish with pear relish that pleases most--but not Ms. Lillie.
    New Sunday, Oct 29 at 6:30pm TPT 2

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