Today I got to chat with Chef Vivian Howard. Vivian is the owner of the restaurant the Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina. She is also the star of her own TV show A Chef’s Life.

We be headed down to Charleston to cover the BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Vivian will be cooking at the Southern Betty Brunch on Saturday March 7th. The theme is exceptional women and this brunch is bringing together some of the best of the best. I was able to get the scoop on what attendees could expect.

vivianhoward2What can people who are attending expect from the Southern Betty Brunch?
Vivian could not speak to what the other chefs are cooking but she will be cooking a grit dish. She was hoping to use ‘run up’ turnip greens but based on the weather she was concerned about having them to cook with. Instead she will be using regular turnip greens and some country sausage with a rutabaga relish.  This very tasty dish is reminiscent of what she used to eat.

What are you looking most forward to about cooking in Charleston?
They will be filming the show during the visit to Charleston, so Vivian will be very busy during her visit.  Vivian will be clamming with Dave Belanger, better known as Clammer Dave. She will be learning how to make an old school clam hash from Chef Frank Lee. She will be also be doing a dinner with Frank Lee at High Cotton. She is doing a lot during her visit and she has never been to the festival before. Vivian admits she is kind of overwhelmed by it all because she has a lot of things she is supposed to do while a camera follows her around. Even a small slip can be a bit embarrassing.

How did you decide what to cook for the event?
About two months out from the event they send an email out that asks what would you like to make so she tries to answer really fast so she can make what she wanted. She wants to make sure to claim her spot on the menu.  Vivian loves grits and feels like it is something that they do very well at the restaurant. She also loves grits and sausage together and she loves grits and greens together so she thought the merging of the ingredients would be a great brunch dish.

When doing an event like this you have to think about the logistics of it. You don’t know about the cooking surfaces you will have. Vivian feels confident that she can make this dish under almost any circumstances.

vivianhoward3What is going to feel like to cook with such great female chefs?
Vivian feels like it is going to be great. In Kinston she sometimes feels isolated and not part of a Chef’s community so she really enjoys experiences where she can be with other chefs. She can talk shop, make friends and just hear about what other people are doing. It is also great for her staff. One of her sous chefs will be going with her that has lived in Eastern North Carolina her whole life. She is also excited to meet other women chefs and see what other people are doing in their restaurants.

What is the next big thing for the Chef and the Farmer?
Vivian is working on a book right now which is occupying all of her time. It is expected to be published in October of 2016. She also so has some other things in the works that they are talking about for the Chef and the Farmer that are community driven. They are not set in stone yet though so she could not discuss the details yet. So you will just have to wait and see.

We are excited about covering the BB&T Charleston Food and Wine Festival next week. We look forward to tasting some of the delicious dishes prepared by Chef Vivian Howard and the other chefs. For information about Chef Vivian Howard you can follow her on twitter @chefandf or visit here.

For more information about the BB&T Charleston Food and Wine Festival you can visit their website here. You can also follow our coverage of the event next weekend here.