Chef and the Farmer’s Vivian Howard known, admired nationally

Pictured is Vivian Howard on the jacket of her memoir, ‘Deep Run Roots.’
Pictured is Vivian Howard on the jacket of her memoir, ‘Deep Run Roots.’ Submitted

“Eastern North Carolina is my Tuscany, my Szechuan, my Provence,” writes Vivian Howard in her memoir “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” a finalist for the Southern Book Award.

Public television’s popular program, “A Chef’s Life,” made Howard and her Kinston restaurant, Chef and the Farmer, known and admired across the country. With her photograph on the lovely cover of her book she made The New York Times bestseller list.

She writes, “This book is the story of my life so far, told through the ingredients that fill the plates and pantries of my home: Deep Run, North Carolina. A tiny farming community about halfway between Raleigh and the Atlantic Ocean, Deep Run is a nondescript dot on Eastern North Carolina's flat coastal plain. No stoplights, no strip malls — Deep Run is not a town; it's a fire district.

“This is a Southern cookbook, but not one that treats the South like one big region where everybody eats the same fried chicken, ribs, shrimp and grits, collard greens, and gumbo. Instead, I interpret Southern cooking the way we understand French, Italian, and Chinese food: as a complex cuisine with abundant variations shaped by terrain, climate, and people.”

Other finalists for the Southern Book Award are listed at

EDITOR’S NOTE: D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch” Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WUNC-TV. This week, Vivian Howard talks about “Deep Run Roots” on Sunday, July 2 and Thursday, July 6.