As Chef & the Farmer turns 10, Vivian searches for ripe tomatoes to serve at the restaurant's birthday party. She seeks the wisdom of Ms. Mary and Ms. Lillie to prepare an old-school tomato dish that "kills hungry."
Vivian struggles to scrounge up enough green beans to add to the menu at Chef & the Farmer, where a new chef is firmly in place. Mrs. Tessie Mae gives her a golf cart tour of her garden, an intro to pickled pork and a lesson in snapping pole beans.
Vivian preps peppers for a trip to Lambstock, where chefs, food and music converge. Even with Warren at the wheel, the road provides unexpected woes. Holley's grandmother offers a lesson in stuffing peppers and delegating authority.
The excitement of the night before turns into heightened emotion and real nerves for Vivian as she faces one challenge after another in the prep kitchen before the SFA luncheon. Wondering at the sanity of this undertaking, she's glad to have Chef Jason Vincent to lend some street cred to the whole endeavor. Rice almost brings Vivian to her breaking point, but everyone pulls together for the big event and her parents join her on stage for an emotional and watershed moment.
As Vivian returns from her Mississippi trip, she confronts her long absence from the dinner service at Chef and the Farmer. She visits an heirloom apple tree collector, Creighton Leigh, the Johnny Appleseed of the southern apple, who grows 800 varieties in the rolling hills of North Carolina's Piedmont. Savory and sweet heirloom apples make an appearance on the menu. Vivian, Ben, Theo and Flo don boots and grab shovels to plant their own southern apple tree on their Deep Run property.
Vivian presents a few of the many ways fish makes its appearance in southern cooking. She learns the rules of a good Eastern North Carolina fish stew: Make it a social event. Use whole hog bacon. Resist your urge to stir! And most important, start crackin' eggs and don't forget a side of white bread. Vivian goes to the source of all things seafood with a fishing trip with Ms. Lillie and Mary on beautiful Emerald Isle.
It's November, y'all, and that means it's busy at Chef and the Farmer. Vivian is feeling the stress of running the restaurant after suspending her sous chef and preparing for her own Thanksgiving feast. She and Ms. Scarlett head to Ms. Scarlett's family farm where they source their pecans and have a run-in with Uncle Dwight's wild boar. On Thanksgiving, dozens of people assemble in Ben and Vivian's Deep Run home. The only thing missing is the Thanksgiving turkey. As Ben puts it, "Sometimes you eat the turkey. Sometimes the turkey eats you. "
Rainy winters can yield some dull vegetable varieties, few more unglamorous than the turnip. Nevertheless, Vivian is determined to showcase this root vegetable. She features her winter rolls with pickled turnips at a charity dinner with James Beard Award-winner Ashley Christiansen and other notable chefs from the region. She frets over whether her roll is sexy enough to stand up to the opulent surroundings, amidst such distinguished company. Despite her misgivings, the roll is a head turner and Vivian manages to make some new friends.
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