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Chef Vivian Howard Gets Toasted at Loretto, Kentucky

I'm four years late to the excellent PBS series, A Chef's Life, a REAL reality show that follows farm-to-table chef Vivian Howard at her work. I've started by watching the most recent episode, "Onions and Avetts," and—uh-oh—I'll be watching all three previous seasons: 15 hours of rich, fun viewing. There goes the planned deep clean of the living room.

Both the small bulbs and greens on these early season onions offer a world of flavor opportunities. Most likely these beauties grew at Stonehedge Farm Produce in Woodford County, Kentucky.

Chef Vivian won me with the very first ingredient she praised in this new season of the show: green onions, or, for New England and the mid-Atlantic coast, scallions. (Same allium.) The Campsie Gardener makes sure at least a few green onion stems can be picked just outside our kitchen door all through the growing season. Just days ago, one of our three tall, handsome sons and I agreed that even small amounts of green onions and chives can transform a dish. Chef Vivian plans much of a late spring North Carolina meal around these easy to grow, overlooked vegetables. She gives me Ideas. . . or, more accurately More Ideas.

Seed heads on "multiplying onions" in the Campsie garden.

Seed heads on "multiplying onions" in the Campsie garden.

  • Chef Vivian and her husband Ben Knight launched their "progressive eatery," Chef & the Farmer, in Kinston, North Carolina in 2006.
  • The PBS show featuring Chef Vivian, A Chef's Life, premiered in 2013.
  • Vivian Howard's book of stories and recipes, Deep Run Roots, will be released on October 4.
  • Maker's Mark will honor Chef Vivian with its 2016 TasteMaker's award at a special event and dinner on October 8 in Loretto, Kentucky. The menu items released so far include Tomato Pie, Blueberry BBQ Chicken, and Viv's Favorite Beet Salad. Tickets are still available here.

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