Vivian Howard’s good-natured food show A Chef’s Life is wrapping up its run this evening with an hour-long harvest-themed series finale on PBS. Howard will mark the end of the show with a big, autumnal meal out in the middle of a cornfield.
Over the last five seasons of A Chef’s Life, the North Carolina chef/restaurateur has explored Southern cuisine one ingredient at a time. In this final episode, Howard will cook with paw-paws plucked from a backyard orchard, and make chow-chow using produce from her friends’ pepper patch. Expect appearances from friends and family members who cooked with Vivian in past episodes, plus clips of memorable moments and some “never before seen footage.”
A Chef’s Life certainly developed a following over the years, and it won a ton of accolades, including a James Beard Award in 2016 for Vivian’s work as a host. But after five seasons, Howard decided it was time for a change. In a conversation with Eater last year, the chef remarked, “I’ve done every ingredient that makes sense in this particular framework, and I know how to stew collard greens and make pickles and preserve, so I think it’s time to do something else.”
Howard is already fast at work on her TV follow-up to A Chef’s Life. The chef and Markay Media (the production company behind A Chef’s Life) are currently developing a new series called South by Somewhere that will cover similar culinary territory with a different approach. Howard and her team have not announced a premiere date yet, but this new series will also land on PBS. And, aside from her TV projects, Vivian is also busy running Chef and the Farmer and the Boiler Room in Kinston, North Carolina, as well as Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, North Carolina.
“A Chef’s Life has been more than just a TV show for a lot of people,” Howard says in a statement about the finale. “I’m happy we have the harvest special as the celebratory capstone that the series deserves.” The special is slated to air at 9 p.m. this evening on PBS stations across the country (although it’s always a good idea to check your local listings before tuning in). Watch scenes from the finale in the trailer above.