A Chef's Life
Vivian's rabbit demo at the Carolina Meat Conference is met with a rowdy rabble of protesters. As a cherished staff member prepares to leave the restaurant, Vivian mourns his loss while anticipating the additional strain.
An up-close-and-personal experience with farm-raised catfish offers Vivian an enlightened perspective on the industry. When a staff member’s last day at the restaurant arrives, heavy emotions and fond memories create a bonding moment for the crew.
Flo and Theo’s pre-school class visits the restaurant for a meal where table manners are the focus, but exceptionally slow service makes everyone antsy. When Vivian’s sunchoke recipe doesn’t make the grade, she enlists guidance from an old friend.
A view behind the scenes reveals the hot and cold of curing ham. At a New York dinner party in her honor, Vivian serves up a gift of seasoning meats – the pig tails, ham hocks and fatback that give Carolina cuisine its quintessential kick.
A surprise brand takes top prize in Vivian’s mayo blind taste test. 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.
Vivian’s plate is full of everything - except tomatoes. As Chef and the Farmer turns 10 years old, Vivian embarks on a fruitless search for the season’s first ripe tomatoes to serve at the restaurant’s birthday party. For the celebration that brings back familiar faces and dishes, she concocts a menu that represents a decade of professional growth, and then seeks the wisdom of Mrs. Mary and Ms. Lillie to prepare an old-school tomato dish that ‘kills hungry.’
With summer heat high and rain levels low, Vivian struggles to scrounge up enough green beans to add to the menu at Chef and the Farmer. Her kitchen capers continue as she stumbles to find her rhythm with a new chef firmly in place. Mrs. Tessie Mae offers levity by giving Vivian a golf cart tour of her garden, an intro to pickled pork, and a lesson in snapping pole beans.
Vivian preps peppers for a trip to Lambstock, a party where chefs, food, and music converge. Even with Warren behind the wheel, the road provides unexpected woes. Before hitting the highway, Holley’s grandmother offers a lesson in stuffing peppers and delegating authority.
Vivian, her parents, and Flo pluck pears from a tree that’s been in the family for 100 years. The arrival of Vivian's cookbook sparks a well of emotions as the reality of wheeling a food truck around the country sets in. In order to get a better handle on the truck, Vivian and her crew do a practice run at the farmer's market and serve up Tom Thumb with pear relish -- a dish that pleases most but leaves a bad taste in Ms. Lillie's mouth.
Vivian heads to NYC where her book launch means a full itinerary. A celebration dinner at Bon Appétit Kitchen follows her appearance on the Rachael Ray Show where Vivian finds that a shot of bourbon goes a long way. Back at the shop, Ben and crew ready the food truck for its first stop in Nashville. While there, a lack of rain leads Vivian on a challenging hunt for broccoli.
What begins as a dinner at Maker’s Mark in Vivian’s honor ends as an American history lesson. A tour of Maker’s Mark and Jefferson’s distilleries illuminates the differences between whiskey, scotch, and bourbon for Vivian who also learns how Frank and Jesse James fit into Kentucky’s boozy biography.
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