I’ve had the unbelievable honor of meeting Vivian & Ben Knight. I’ve cooked with their Blueberry BBQ sauce. And I’ve been a part of an incredible, unforgettable guided dinner at their Kinston, N.C. restaurant “Chef & the Farmer.” (Daggonit why didn’t I get photos and autographs??)
They are AMAZING.
The food? I tried quail, yams and fried collards. I tried turnips and I tried trout caviar. All North Carolina local farm to table and all five-Michelin stars of talented, creative cooking (I’m qualified to grade, yes). Recipes adapted from grandmothers and neighbors, all dazzled with the sparkle of Vivian’s trade that she picked up from kitchens in New York City and brought home to eastern Carolina.
And now it’s time for this kitchen to be shared across the country.
Vivian and her family have spent the past year cooking, creating and filming their own PBS primetime cooking show: A Chef’s Life.
I’ll let that sink in.
Unsurprisingly (that’s how great this woman+husband+family team is) they’ve already met their dollar goal; but every bit still helps. Check out their site and even if you don’t support right now, plan to support soon when this show finally gets to hit your television in September 2013 (check your local listings)! I’m beside myself with excitement to watch and appreciate food and southern cooking culture. I’m far from a foodie, but the Knight family is just darn relatable. They’re funny, charismatic and every conversation I’ve had with Vivian has left me with so many interesting food facts that I didn’t know, didn’t know to ask about and feel better knowing.
If you like food? Watch.
If you like southern culture? Watch.
If you like North Carolina? Watch.
If you like stories about real, everyday people being wildly successful doing what they’re passionate about? Watch.
If you like stories about people who take risks for what they love? Watch.
If you like to feel comforted in a “that’s how life should be” way? You should watch, too.
The concept of farm-to-table makes so much sense. Every time I hear the stories of the ingredients and methods that “Chef & the Farmer” use it takes you back to that realization of: why do we make it so hard with preservatives and imported ingredients? Why don’t we support our neighbors more and live in a more connected world to the community that we live in?
But don’t let that make you think this is a backwoods, farmer food series for one second. Vivian and Ben spent many years in Manhattan before returning to North Carolina. They’re just going to show you the best of all of those worlds, coincidentally in the setting of a quaint small town.
PS: Listen closely. Do you hear that North-Carolina Avett Brothers involvement? My heart swells with NC pride.
I’ve done half justice to swooning the Knights’ praises, so if this wasn’t enough–check this out:
“A CHEF’S LIFE is nothing like the cooking shows you see on the Food Network or PBS. Every week you will see relationships bloom around family, stories, and places, while you glimpse Chef Vivian at work crafting dishes like the Perfect Tomato Sandwich, Pimp My Grits, and Pork Belly with a Pepsi glaze. Moonshine Cocktails, wine, and beer are also on the table. Vivian is a James Beard Award semi-finalist (two years in a row!), but through her eyes you will meet people you’d otherwise never see on television: home cooks, gardeners, hunters, fishermen, beef, chicken, and pork farmers, and wine and whiskey makers, drawn from every racial and social group. Vivian does what many working women aspire to do these days—building a local network and a global career, nurturing her family with water from the taproot of her hometown.” —Chef & the Farmer