Small-town girl moves to New York City, learns to cook, then moves home to Kinston, North Carolina to open Chef & the Farmer. Fast-forward eight years later. Her PBS show, A Chef’s Life, wins a Peabody Award, shining a light on her rural region. We asked Vivian to talk about how the show has changed her life.
“I feel a great responsibility to eastern North Carolina now. We come from an area where we’re always apologizing for being from here. Because the series is so popular, people here have a little pep in their step. They say, ‘You made me remember the way my grandmother made biscuits or strawberry preserves.’ Older folks in our community teach me how to make something very simple. One of the things I like about the show and dislike about modern media in general is that [our culture is] very young-person-new-ideas driven, and I don’t think people call on the wisdom of older folks very much. To learn from them and share has been wonderful.”