Less than a year after saying farewell to her award-winning food show A Chef’s Life, Vivian Howard is working on another series for PBS that will have a different approach to the world of Southern cuisine. In each episode of South by Somewhere, Howard will travel through the South meeting with restaurant chefs and home cooks to learn about their specialties and culinary traditions. The chef/TV host will head to North Carolina to eat collard sandwiches with native Lumbee home cooks, she’ll sample convenience store pepperoni rolls in West Virginia coal country, she’ll eat grits and rice middlins with Gullah chefs in South Carolina, and will break bread with Chef’s Table alum Mashama Bailey at her restaurant The Grey in Savannah, Georgia.
“Shooting South by Somewhere has made me look at what we call Southern food with a new set of spectacles,” Howard says about her new show. “The home kitchens I learn in, the stories I hear people share, the food I watch them make — it has lit a fresh fire under me. I’m excited that, as Southerners, we can tell these complex stories through food and culture, and not shy away from our past or present.”
Howard’s previous PBS endeavor, A Chef’s Life, also covered regional Southern cuisine, but that show had a more specific focus on ingredients. That series also, notably, covered a lot of how Howard juggled family and work life. Back in 2017, the chef told Eater, “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.” The chef is working on this new project with filmmaker Cynthia Hill, who also produced and directed A Chef’s Life.
In addition to these TV projects, Howard also owns and operates three North Carolina restaurants with her husband, Ben: Chef and the Farmer and The Boiler Room in Kinston, and Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington.
South by Somewhere is slated to premiere on PBS stations across the country sometime in winter or spring 2020. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.
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