Last year, I got pulled into the ongoing drama of a food show, which is not something that often happens. But "A Chef's Life" is special.
The PBS show, which returns for its second season Sunday, is something of a hybrid: It features Vivian Howard, who trained with some of New York's top chefs, returning to her roots in eastern North Carolina, investigating its foodways and, in Season 1, opening a restaurant with her husband, Ben Knight. There are segments in which Vivian cooks delicious looking food; she also visits local farmers and viewers get a behind-the-scenes glimpses of running a new restaurant.
The setbacks Howard and Knight encountered in their quest to keep their restaurant open ended up being fascinating, and the show's portrayal of the food culture of the region was so well done that the show gained a cult following and won a Peabody Award for its efforts.
Even if you're not a chef, you're likely to enjoy Howard's vivid presence, which is on display in this exclusive clip, from Season 2, in which she makes blueberry cobbler with her mother. You don't need to have seen Season 1 to enjoy "A Chef's Life," but if you want to check it out, it's online. All in all, it's hard not to be won over by the program's earnest and entertaining devotion to Howard's home town, to the mouthwatering local cuisine and to the hectic but rewarding lives of restaurateurs.
The second season of "A Chef's Life" begins Sunday on PBS; check local listings for details.