Chef Vivian Howard has had a lot on her plate in recent years, pardon the pun.
In the first two seasons of her PBS cooking/documentary series “A Chef’s Life,” she and husband Ben Knight dealt with a devastating kitchen fire in their Kinston, N.C., restaurant, opened a second eatery in the same town and lived the roller-coaster daily existence that is restaurant ownership.
So as Season 3 opens on Thursday (Sept. 3) (check local listings), Howard takes on something of a less stressful task as she works to write and get a cookbook published.
“I’m actually getting ready to deliver the manuscript on Oct. 1 — well, theoretically Oct. 1. I think it’s going to be more like the 15th,” Howard tells Zap2it with a laugh. “So, yes, and Season 3 kind of tracks my progress doing that and my struggles and trying to carve out time for that work.”
“It’s called ‘Deep Run Roots’ … and it’s massive. I imagine a lot of it is going to get edited down because I’ve never seen a cookbook this big in print. But I mean I know that it will and I’m prepared for that.”
But the restaurant business being what it is, there are always problems. This season, the chef at the Boiler Room, their second concern, quits, forcing non-chef Ben to step into the kitchen and prepare meals from Vivian’s recipes — without Vivian around.
“I’m not watching over him,” Howard says, laughing. “I collaborate with him.
“What I’ve learned,” she continues, “is that I’m really kind of a one-restaurant chef. And I think it’s really hard for a chef who’s very involved in the food of their restaurant to really be the head chef of several different restaurants. So most of the time, we know chefs who have a bunch of different restaurants, they’re really most connected to one of those restaurants and the other restaurants have a chef. I’m the guiding principle and guiding creative force over at the Boiler Room but I don’t work in that kitchen on a daily basis.”