Chef Vivian Howard of Chef & The Farmer - Biography

Kinston, NC

November 2013

Born in Deep Run, North Carolina, to tobacco and hog farming parents, Vivian Howard learned early on to appreciate the ebb and flow of eating with the seasons. Still, it took 23 years and a false start in the advertising business to convince her a career in food was not only feasible, but the right choice.

After college, Howard moved to New York to find work behind a desk, but she found the city´s food and restaurant scene (inevitably) more intriguing. So like many before her and many to come, Howard worked her way up. A server position at Greenwich Village´s Voyage made it possible for her to begin trailing under the restaurant´s chef, Scott Barton. Howard didn´t stop there. She went on to learn under some of New York´s most cutting edge impressive chefs, including Chefs Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason at wd~50 and later, as a member of the opening team at Jean Georges Vongerichten´s Spice Market.

In 2005, Howard and her now husband Ben Knight decided to abandon the urban landscape for something closer to Howard´s roots, opening a farm-to-fork restaurant in the small town of Kinston, North Carolina. Chef & the Farmer has been open and serving local, seasonal, creative cuisine since the summer of 2006. Meanwhile, Howard has cultivated strong relationships with local farmers making it possible to source more than 70 percent of the restaurant´s foodstuffs from within 60 miles.