Celebrate holiday traditions with ‘A Chef’s Life’

This winter, the popular series “A Chef’s Life” invites viewers on a journey to discover and rediscover holiday traditions. Chef Vivian Howard hosts a holiday to remember at her home in Eastern North Carolina as she creates a Southern feast steeped in her family’s Christmas and Chanukah traditions. “A Chef’s Life Holiday Special” airs on Arizona PBS Friday, Dec. 13, at 9 p.m.

Having spent most of her adult life in the kitchens of highly-lauded restaurants, Vivian has rarely celebrated the holidays during busy Decembers. This year, she and her husband Ben Knight are determined to give their toddler twins a traditional holiday experience, cooking, laughing and crying their way through Southern traditions new and old. In “A Chef’s Life Holiday Special,” Vivian discovers that mistletoe is traditionally shot out of a pecan tree, experiences her first hog killing, and leads a “tacky Christmas sweater” night with the restaurant staff at Chef and the Farmer.

Chef Scott Barton (Voyage), Vivian’s mentor and an expert on Southern food, shows her how to prepare Hoppin’ John, and North Carolina’s Bill Smith (Crook’s Corner) shares his secrets for his world famous corned ham. Vivian recreates her childhood memories as she bakes red velvet cake with her sister and celebrates the first night of Chanukah with Ben’s family, making traditional foods and lighting the menorah.

“A Chef’s Life” is a character-driven documentary series that takes viewers inside the life and kitchen of Chef Vivian Howard. Howard originally made a name for herself in the competitive Manhattan restaurant world, before she and her husband Benjamin Knight moved back to her home of Eastern Northern Carolina to open their own restaurant. From a devastating fire to the opening of a second restaurant, the series has followed Vivian and Ben as they raise a family, manage their business and discover the food traditions that make the South such a special place.

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