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Last week Vivian Howard, star of the PBS show A Chef’s Life, visited Durham’s Life and Science Museum. Guests had an opportunity to visit with Vivian followed by an opportunity for Q&A.

Here is what we heard:

  1. Rabbit is the Meat of the Future – She just wrapped up her latest season and her favorite episode is the rabbit show. Rabbit is the most efficient protein. One mother rabbit will produce 320 pounds of edible meat per year. One mother cow produces 170 pounds of meat per year. A mother rabbit eats 6 ounces of feed a day and cows eat way more than that. So for that reason rabbit may just be the meat of the future.
  2. The New Cookbook – The cookbook Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South will be out this fall. Each chapter will focus on a local ingredient. She will talk about a traditional way it will be prepared and then put her own spin on it. Vivian will be taking her show on the road this fall to launch her new cookbook in a nontraditional way. Did someone say food truck? Normally when chefs launch a cookbook, they go on a book tour, they go to other cities and visit their friend’s restaurants. From the outside, this looks fun but going into other people’s restaurants and producing your food is really hard. This will allow her to meet her fans, give them a chance to taste the food and purchase a cookbook. Vivian said she was really excited about it and she does not get really excited about anything. I can’t wait for her to bring the truck to Raleigh.
  3. Rubs with William Sonoma – Every restaurant has its go-to spices for fish, chicken or pork so she used this as their starting point for their new line with William Sonoma. The rubs include Red Eye Coffee Rub, Fins & Shells Rub, and Birds & Beasts Rub. They sound delicious. Can’t wait to check them out.
  4. Sometimes you have to leave a place to understand it – By leaving North Carolina and the South it made her see how unique the place she came from was. When she left North Carolina, she didn’t think anything here was valuable. She wasn’t thinking about anything else than finding a boyfriend. She worked in a restaurant whose theme was southern food via Africa which was in 1999 which was way before anyone cared about southern food, even southerners. She was the only southerner working in the restaurant. The chef was praising the food she grew up eating which gave her a sense of pride.

They were also celebrating food from the port cities of Charleston, New Orleans, and Savannah and not necessarily the food she was eating in Eastern North Carolina but she could see a connection. She shared that it has been interesting trying to escape a place, then come back and now have that place be a source of your inspiration.

It was a great event with Vivian Howard. We can’t wait to get our hands on the cookbook this fall. As soon as we hear about a time, date and location for Raleigh we will make sure to post it here. Until then, you can make a summer trip to Chef and the Farmer or try some of the new rubs.

Check out the details here.

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