- [Man] One two three four.
[bright music] - I'm Vivian, and I'm a chef.
My husband Ben and I were working for some of the best chefs in New York City, when my parents offered to help us open our own restaurant.
Of course, there was a catch.
We had to open this restaurant in Eastern North Carolina, where I grew up, and said I would never return.
♪ I wish you'd see yourself ♪ ♪ As beautiful as I see you ♪ ♪ Why can't you see yourself ♪ ♪ As beautiful as I see you ♪ - So this is my life.
Raising twins, living on my parents' farm, and exploring the South, one ingredient at a time.
It's true, A Chef's Life is ending.
Now I don't wanna hear any whining.
I'm the only one who's allowed to do that.
What you're about to watch is about celebrating the people that make the show so special.
[birds chirping] - [Ben] Are they awake?
- [Theo] Mom!
- [Vivian] Yeah?
- [Theo] There's a giant leaping bug in my room.
- [Flo] Oh it's right there, it's right there!
- Oh no!
There's a frog in here.
Okay, let me get a cup.
Hey look, Ben.
- You caught it?
He's a full on toad.
- [Vivian] Do you wanna keep it?
- All right, let's let it go.
So do you have any plans Labor Day weekend, Ben?
I wanna have a harvest party slash pig picking to celebrate the end of the show, and honor the people who have been on it.
- So we're doing a picnicking'.
How many people are coming?
- [Vivian] My dream is to have a big long table.
- [Ben] Don't dream too much.
That's when we get in trouble.
[light music] [laughing] - Oh, Ben.
My husband, my business partner, my sharp rock.
We've been through a lot together.
It's not the end of the world.
- [Ben] It's pretty bad.
- Benny Bummer over here.
- Don't even say anything 'cause you know as well as I do, once you're behind, you're behind.
- Oh my, Okay.
Everybody's waiting patiently.
- More patient than me.
- I know!
This is not the worst case scenario.
- This whole situation that's happening today is as close to the worst case scenario it could be right now.
It's starting to fall apart.
- [Vivian] It is not falling apart.
- It is out there now.
- For a guy from Chicago, you really have adapted to southern ways.
You're a great fit for Vivian because you both do love food.
- We love food.
I like mayonnaise.
- Oh God, he's like taking tablespoons out of it.
Well, you look nice.
- I thought we were having dinner.
[laughing] - Happy Valentine's.
- Happy Valentine's.
- I just want you to try and enjoy yourself.
- That's my specialty.
- It is [laughing].
[light music] - I just read a review about myself.
It's been a long time.
We used to get a lot more comments, but this one was, "I can't stand that character, Ben.
"Vivian does all the hard work and all he does is complain.
"She should dump him."
[laughs] That's who I am.
My nickname is Benny Bummer.
- [Vivian] All right, I'm gonna take them to school and then I'm going to Warren's.
- [Ben] Okay.
- Why are you going to Warren's?
- I'm gonna pick some stuff to make chow-chow.
- Yep, bye Daddy.
- [Ben] Bye!
[light music] - After five seasons, we've touched on just about every ingredient that makes sense.
There are a few left though.
We're gonna look about pawpaws and chow-chow.
I did not plan it that way.
And I'm going to get the ingredients for my chow-chow from my go to's, Warren and Lily.
- [Warren] Lord.
- [Vivian] Hey.
- Hey Vivi!
- How are you?
- I hadn't seen you in a while.
- I know, you've been busy.
- I've been busy, yes.
Y'all have been busy.
- We've been busy too.
- So, we're looking to make some chow-chow.
You know what that is?
- It's pepper relish with cabbage in it.
- Bell peppers, pot peppers, onions, all that stuff in it.
- We have some beautiful red bell peppers.
They're small, but they're pretty.
- [Vivian] Any green tomatoes?
- [Warren] They might have some splits in 'em.
- I think that's okay for this.
Chow-chow really is historically something that people would, just before they plow through their whole garden, they would get everything that's left.
- Kinda clean and put it in the chow-chow.
- And make the relish with that.
- So, should we go to the pepper patch first?
- [Warren] We probably should.
- After six years of going into the field with you, I have brought the right shoes.
- Oh, you got a pair of mud boots?
[laughing] - And so I'll get those.
- [Lily] Yeah.
- I don't care if Warren can't grow anything.
He's still my favorite farmer.
And I know there's a lot of ladies out there who are wondering if he's married and he is, I'm sorry.
- How you doing?
- You're like a ray of sunshine.
- I brought ya some flowers.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- I assume I'm buying them though.
- Oh yeah.
[laughing] - That's not a real cost-effective crop.
- Well, maybe not, but you hadn't paid for 'em yet.
[laughing] - [Vivian] There's not much out here.
- I'm tellin' you.
It's not quite what I'd call a bumper crop.
- [laughing] No, it's not.
- But here's just a few cabbage right here.
You see how they're right ragged lookin'?
- I hate to cut your two heads of cabbage.
- No, no, no, don't feel bad.
This is your row of cabbage.
These looked a whole lot better before we had that 18 degree weather.
- You're always making excuses for stuff like that.
- Well it's the weather!
It's always the weather if you notice.
It's nothing I did!
[Vivian] There's nothing in, what in the world!
There's snakes in here.
- There is no.
This is a disaster but there's some beautiful tomatoes.
- Well I've never seen anything like this.
- [Lily] Get on the rope.
- [Warren] You have not got on sensible shoes again.
- What are you supposed to wear?
You don't even have on shoes.
- I don't even need them darn cowboy boots.
You see me?
[laughing] - [Vivian] So Warren, did you do some research on the okra?
- No, I hadn't done a damn thing.
[laughing] - [Vivian] Warren, tell me what you know about figs.
- I know that in the Bible, Adam and Eve, they used a fig leaf to cover themselves when they realized they were naked and they were ashamed.
[laughing] Okay, my job, is to be handsome, number one.
How do I look?
- [Lily] Oh no.
[laughing] - You got a little swagger.
- I'm from the country, baby.
- You are.
We are like country come to town, aren't we?
Tell everybody like when Vivi takes us to Columbia, you know when we go down there?
- Oh yes, oh, I think I'm royalty there.
- Hotel rooms and whiskey sours.
- I had never stayed in a hotel.
Oh Lord have mercy, I just thought I was a rich lady.
[laughing] [light music] - [Vivian] Ooh, I think I could put some watermelon in it.
- [Lily] Goody, goody, goody.
- [Vivian] That's got the really thick rind.
Those are those Bradfords.
- Here's some really good melon.
- Yeah, I definitely wanna take one of these 'cause this rind, if nothing else, would be perfect for it.
So we're having a dinner at my house and I would love for y'all to come and your mother if she's up to it.
- She's up to it.
She's up to everything.
[laughing] - [Warren] She just likes to go.
- [Vivian] Will you basket or something?
- Got a couple in the truck.
- We got it.
- [Warren] There's probably gonna be so many peppers, we won't be able to bring 'em all back.
- Stop lying, man.
[laughing] I'm going to the truck.
[light music] [trunk engine starting] It's a lot of sweat out here, girl.
- I bet.
I saw two big puddles with tadpoles in them.
I might scoop some up for my children.
Oh my, what's happening here?
- Well, just like usual, this time of year, lot of grass.
- This is your pepper patch?
- One of 'em.
This is the one I can usually get to without a lot of trouble and these are Bullnose bell peppers.
- [Vivian] None of these are hot, right?
- [Warren] Nope, no hot in the chow-chow.
- [Vivian] Yeah, because this is gonna be an important condiment.
- And this is for the harvest dinner.
- [Vivian] Yes, it is.
- [Warren] Gotcha, okay.
- Are you just gonna watch us pick these?
- [Warren] Well, I mean, I can.
[laughing] - That's what he do, yo.
We'll be working, he'll be-- - [Warren] I didn't wanna hog the best bush.
- Uh-huh, yeah right.
- [Warren] I like these chocolate-looking ones.
- All right, let's go see if there's any green tomatoes anywhere.
- All right.
[light music] - [Vivian] So we're just looking for some green, large tomatoes.
There's a worm in there.
- [Warren] About every one you grab is rotten.
- The reason these are split is not because of Warren and Lily's skill level as farmers.
It's because we've had so much rain that they just can't take all that water.
- Now there's a nice green tomato right there.
- In fact-- - I got quite a few.
I think I've got enough.
So I need a watermelon and then some onions.
- [Warren] No problem.
- And I should be able to make some chow-chow.
- [Warren] All right.
[acoustic guitar music] - [Vivian] I'm gonna go in.
- [Warren] Are you going in with your boots real quick?
- [Vivian] Ooh!
- [Warren] And I'm gonna herd 'em to ya.
- [Vivian] Okay.
I got four.
- [Warren] See 'em right in here.
Let's put it down.
Look at you!
[Vivian laughs] - [Vivian] This is going to thrill Theo and Flo.
- [Warren] That's a goodly amount.
Are you satisfied?
- [Vivian] Mission accomplished.
- [Warren] All right.
- All right, take me to my air conditioning, please.
In the south, we love our relishes.
We like a lot of rich, fatty foods and a relish like chow-chow is meant to balance that type of food.
[light music] Sir.
- Hey, how are y'all?
- Good, how are you?
- I'm good.
So, I'm gonna give you part of these.
What're you thinking of doing?
- So, I had this dish in mind that involved piccalilli.
Like, different countries' version of chow-chow.
- Okay cool, so piccalilli, what is that exactly?
- Well, it's like, a Asian-type relish, cold, super chopped, but I kinda wanna make it look like we're used to making or seeing.
- Okay, cool, and I need y'all to put September 3rd on your calendar 'cause we're gonna have a supper at my house to celebrate the harvest and also, the end of the show.
- That's awesome.
- It's crazy, the end of the show.
- I know.
- I know.
Don't be misinformed that there will be some work to do beforehand.
- Yeah [laughing].
- 'Cause y'all know I've lost my edge.
[electric guitar music] - [Theo] What's that?
- They're tadpoles.
- Mm-hmm, and they're gonna eventually get legs.
They'll become little frogs.
- Can we watch 'em grow?
- But when they become a frog, can we let them go?
- Yes, yes.
- Mom, can I get those green things out?
- Mom do you think tomorrow their tail will be gone?
- Do we get to keep all of the tadpoles in this?
- Yes, we do.
- Do you think tomorrow it'll be bigger?
- I don't now.
- Bye, mommy!
[soft music] All right, of I am making a chow-chow, and so a chow-chow is typically a relish that's made from whatever's left in the garden at the end of summer, so green tomatoes, peppers, onion, all of those are typical ingredients in a chow-chow, but I'm gonna use some watermelon rind and watermelon flesh and some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.
First, I guess I should start my pickling liquid.
I have white wine vinegar, distilled vinegar.
Is this vinegar?
Yes, it is.
I'm gonna add some granulated sugar, I'm gonna add some salt, and we'll bring that up to a boil.
And I really think that what makes chow-chow distinct is cabbage.
A lot of people think that the name chow-chow comes from the French word for cabbage, which is [speaks in foreign language].
Y'all know I don't speak a whole lot of other languages.
This chow-chow I'm gonna keep until the harvest dinner that we're having to thank and celebrate the cast of this show, A Chef's Life .
It's kind of an emotional thing for us.
I was thinking this morning when we got those tadpoles, you think of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
Well, I think tadpoles can be our metaphor for A Chef's Life , and now I'm a frog [laughing].
So, I'm gonna add my aromatics, and aromatics, I hope you learned this over the course of the show.
Aromatics are the ingredients that provide aroma or distinct flavor to dishes, and in this case, we're gonna add coriander seeds, whole, mustard seeds.
Tumeric gives it that quintessential orange color.
The next thing I need to tackle is this watermelon.
It's an heirloom variety prized for the very thick rind.
So, I'm cutting these into triangles 'cause they kinda remind me of a wedge of watermelon, ha.
Okay, so you can see I have the cabbage, I have the onions, I have red bell peppers, the green tomato, and the watermelon rind, and I'm just gonna let that boil for a few minutes while I dice up my softer ingredients, which is my watermelon and my Sun Gold tomatoes.
- How are you?
- Doing good!
Got your Cornish hen.
- Awesome, thank you.
Thank you for coming by here on Monday.
I know that's your slaughter day, no?
- Yes, it is [laughing].
- [Vivian] What're you doing Labor Day weekend?
- Nothin' for as I know of.
So, we're having a supper.
We may use some of your birds.
At the very least, we'll use some of your eggs.
I'm using this dinner as an opportunity to cover a few things I've always wanted to cover on this show but I haven't.
One is chow-chow, two are pawpaws.
You know where I can find, you know what a pawpaw is?
- Don't even know what a pawpaw is.
- Apparently they're indigenous to the American South, but I've asked John Howard, who's typically - Right.
- Been able to find whatever I needed and he said, "What kind of pan is that?"
- I got a good person I'll put on the hump for that, so, so.
- Okay, September 3rd.
- September 3rd!
- Thank you very much, Christy.
- Okay, thank you.
Okay, so my chow-chow cooked and I diced up my watermelon flesh and my Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, so I'm gonna turn the heat off and just stir these in 'cause I don't want them to break up and I want them to retain some texture, so we're gonna let it cool to room temperature.
All right, I'm gonna go home and take care of my tadpoles.
[soft guitar music] - Hello.
- Good morning, morning!
- Good morning.
- How are you, buddy?
- [Theo] Good.
- Want a ham and biscuit?
- Dad, you ever had a pawpaw?
- No, I haven't.
- We're going to pick pawpaws with papa.
- You know, it's funny.
That almost just came out of my mouth, too.
- I know, I'm so bad.
I can't even say it.
I often call dad my fixer.
Whenever I have a problem or I need to find someone or something, he's the first person I call, and I think he actually gets pleasure out of finding solutions.
People say we are a lot alike.
We just have a very different outlook on what things should cost and what merits a fancy meal.
- Hey big time, how you doing?
- Hey dad.
- Hey big time!
- When we were in the planning stages of opening this restaurant, my parents were hellbent that one of the options should be a steak and baked potato because everyone who goes out and spend $30 on a meal, that's what they really want.
You're not coming by?
- No rabbit, no rabbit.
- It has more protein, less fat, less cholesterol.
- No rabbit.
I want to have the chopped steak.
- Chopped steak, yes, sir.
- Dad said he can't take this whole crowd to the restaurant, it's too expensive.
- No tea and no desert!
- Hey, big time.
- Are you gonna start charging for bread?
- Yeah, we have started.
- You start charging for bread, you better get a job somewhere.
He took, oh my God, there's a crane.
What is dad doing [laughing]?
You've done a good job taking care of him, dad.
- The most un-opportune time, she calls for something to be fixed or something to be done, I betcha it's gotta be done right then and of course, we're glad to do it.
I don't think we've ever failed yet.
Let's get it done.
[faint speaking] - [Girl] Mom, look how many tadpoles we have eating [mumbles].
- Did they grow?
- [Vivian] I think there's about 30 left in there.
- Come on, Flo!
- Yes, you can.
- A live cricket!
- I think papa is getting-- - Antsy.
- Bring the pan, Flo.
- So dad, I wanna drive out past that cornfield because for this dinner that we're gonna do, I wanna have somebody go through and cut a path.
- We'll do it.
- Bye, daddy!
- [Theo And Flo] Bye [laughing]!
- [Papa] That corn's pretty.
That's pretty out there.
- [Vivian] We're gonna have to do a lot of cutting around here, it looks like.
- Oh yeah.
- You're gonna turn the cornfield into a maze!
- Yeah, and we're gonna eat in there.
We're gonna put tables in there and eat in there.
This is gonna be a cool experience.
I still have some details to work out.
- Okay, all right, okay.
We'll get this done, you hear?
[acoustic guitar music] - Are we almost there?
- We are.
- Right there.
- [Papa] Let's all go down there, Flo.
- [Vivian] I just have a hard time [faint speaking].
Hi there, how are you?
- I'm doing great.
How about yourself?
- I'm good.
- Vivian, Irvine Watts.
- Nice to meet you.
- We have been on this hunt for pawpaws in Eastern North Carolina and I think you're the only person who has them.
- Well, I wanted a few anyway.
- How did you come to be interested in pawpaws?
- Well, I suppose I have my master gardener's hat on, but anyway, I've been a master gardener 20 years.
I think I have seven varieties here that you get.
- Of pawpaws?
- I didn't know there was anything but one variety.
- Oh, there is.
There's a mango that's just come on real good now.
Let me get one.
- Oh my!
- That's a pawpaw?
- Yeah, that's a pawpaw.
- And they were wild?
- Wild, and they're wild, real wild from Indiana all the way to the south.
- Can I cut this open?
- Yes, ma'am.
- How do ya eat it?
- It's mostly seed.
If it's been, it's soft on it now, it's ready to eat.
- So they should be soft.
Feel that, it's kinda like a very ripe avocado.
- It's so squishy.
- See here?
Oh, that's so good!
[faint speaking] It's very custardy.
[Flo laughing] It takes like a, what do you think?
- It does, kinda.
- Banana custard, this one should be.
They're really sweet.
How long does it take a tree to mature and start bearing fruit?
- Three to four years.
- Is that right?
- Most the time, four.
- It tastes very tropical, like a tropical fruit.
- Oh yeah, it is.
- I can't find any ones that aren't hard.
- They're gonna be hard, son.
- [Irvine] Looky there.
Pick 'em up now!
- I guess that's the way to do it!
- [Papa] Keep them down.
Don't bruise 'em.
- And we got some.
- Well, they're ready to come when they come off like that.
- [Papa] Just pick it up, just pick 'em up.
- Have you ever heard these called hillbilly mangoes?
- [laughing] Yeah, and Indiana bananas and the book says that eating pawpaws is like kissing a mule.
It's pretty good after the first one.
[laughing] I don't believe I wanna try that, though.
- No, no.
So you can pick 'em unripe and might sit them out on the counter.
- Yeah, oh yes.
In about three days, you'll have to do something with 'em and leave the house.
They smell so good.
- Well, this is a mango flavor.
This is so exciting as a cook.
As a master gardener, you get excited about rare stuff and as a cook, we get very excited-- - Excited, yeah.
- About something new.
- But it's strictly a hobby.
- And people come and pick your pawpaws.
- Oh yes, anything they want to, the neighbors and friends, strangers, anybody.
- [Vivian] So how long does it take this to get to this point?
- [Irvine] That's about five years old.
- I had this dream of planting fruit trees, but I'm so impatient!
- Well look, I'm 85 and my daughter said, "That last tree, "you probably will never see the fruit on 'em."
You gotta be young at heart, see.
- Your projects keep ya young.
- Oh yeah, well, something does.
[laughing] Nice having you out.
- Oh, thank you, thank you.
This was so awesome, and as I said, this is not the last you're gonna hear of me.
- All right.
[laughing] [acoustic guitar music] - [Vivian] Am I recording?
How are y'all?
How about you?
- I'm good.
Have you ever seen these before?
Lesley I'm gonna feed you.
It's like baby food.
It's good, isn't it?
- It tastes like a pineapple-y-- - It's very tropical.
This is a pawpaw.
- [Ben] What're you gonna make with it?
- I think I'm gonna make like, a riff on a banana pudding for the cast supper.
- Pawpaw pudding.
- And you're gonna fry turkeys.
[laughing] - The oil loses so much temperature.
Right now, it's difficult to fry a turkey at 250 degrees.
- [Vivian] So, is it coming up at all 'cause the heat-- - It doesn't appear to be coming up at all.
- The fried turkey ended up poaching in the oil.
- It's a whole turkey.
It's not gonna turn out in an hour.
Sometimes you eat the turkey and sometimes the turkey eats you.
I haven't had a lot of success with that.
- I know, but we're gonna practice beforehand 'cause I do want you to be able to celebrate.
- Celebrating is not my forte.
- We're gonna make place cards and yours is gonna say Benny Bummer.
- Yours is gonna say I'm kind of a big deal?
- It might.
[laughing] [acoustic guitar music] So, mom and I are supposed to be making pawpaw pudding.
Because I've never worked with pawpaws before, I wanna follow a very traditional recipe so I know what it is that I'm working with.
I'm going to start extracting the pawpaw.
There's a lot of seeds.
- [Vivian] All right, come over here, mama.
Will you get this pawpaw off my chin?
- Yeah [laughing].
- Just don't wipe my makeup off now, mom.
Just get my neck, just get my neck.
At least she's not taking her finger out and licking it, trying to wipe off my face, that-- - You're not a baby.
I thought I'd always be your baby.
- Well, you are, but you're a big baby.
[laughing] - My mom has a PhD in backhanded compliments.
I know she loves me, though.
She just wants me to look my best and not bulky.
Mom, we got it under control, okay?
I said you're a pro at this.
- I am not.
At this time of the year, you're gonna find turnips that are peffy.
Oh, you brought me a hairbrush?
- Yeah [laughing].
What'd I say?
Oh, that your hair needs a brush, your hair [laughing].
- [Vivian] Your chicken and rice always smells different than mine.
- [Mother] It tastes different, too.
- What, mom?
- It should go on the board.
- You've got a lot of advice.
- Is that what you're wearing to the parade?
- I think that coat might look better without the blue over it.
It makes you look so big and bulky.
It's bulky looking.
- Just give me a minute.
- [Vivian] Don't you need some salt or anything in there?
- You're right.
I'm gonna-- - I know that hurt you hard to say that.
- I'm getting the horse before the cart.
I guess that's the.
- Get it, Scarlett.
- You never thought that this would be something you would have to do.
- I sure didn't, but I'm glad I'm able to.
- I'm glad you are, too.
- And I'm thankful for friends and family.
I am thankful for those things that we just take for granted, the sun setting and the moon rising.
- Thank you, mom.
- [Ben] All right, happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
- Did you ever think I would amount to anything?
- Oh, absolutely.
- It just took a while!
[laughing] - I love to help her fix her hair, but she's gotten a lot better about it, but I did have to use that brush once in a while, a hairbrush.
- Mom told me many times when she's critiquing what I'm wearing or my hair or whatever, and she said, "Those other people "are not gonna be honest with you.
"Only your family will tell you the truth."
- Well, that's the truth isn't, it?
- I think your hair's in your eye.
- You're fixing my hair now.
Isn't that wonderful?
[laughing] - [Vivian] Okay, so you wanna just butter this dish?
- Don't be Scarlett butter, be Vivian butter, okay?
- Oh, that'll be a lot then.
I just don't want it to stick.
- The sides, too?
- Mm-hmm, everything.
I said I was gonna follow this recipe, but it's very hard for me to follow directions of any kind, so although it calls for melted butter, I'm going to brown it.
What happens is the milk solids that are in the butter brown and they take on a new flavor, which is like, nutty.
Get that tongue out!
Okay mom, so it calls for two cups of sugar.
- That's a lot of sugar, as sweet as that fruit is.
- That's what one of the reviews of the recipe said, so let's do one-and-a-half, how about that?
Okay, you need a half teaspoon of cinnamon and then a quarter teaspoon of ginger.
Baking powder, and I'm gonna get you to whisk these dry ingredients together.
Boy, you gotta do a lot of work to get some pawpaw flesh.
How much do I need?
I was gonna plant some pawpaw trees in the backyard, but I don't think I am anymore.
I have cut open about five pounds of pawpaw.
This is how much pulp I have and this is how much waste I have!
All right, three eggs.
Whisk in the milk.
I hate following recipes.
Okay, one-and-a-half cups milk.
Brown butter goes in.
Pour into the sugar and stir it well.
I'm just pour the sugar mixture in here 'cause I'm making this mine.
Bake for 50 minutes, and I've got to go to the restaurant.
- All right, I'll stay here with it.
- Don't fall asleep!
[laughing] - [Scarlett] It looks real good.
[acoustic guitar music] - We'll wait till I get home to try it.
- All right, if the children will let me.
[car engine starting] - Hello.
- What you doing, Luke?
- [Luke] I'm working on this dish for tonight.
Let's do it.
- [Vivian] So what's in your chow-chow?
- Green tomato, mustard seed, chili flake, sugar.
All right, Kenny.
- [Luke] Cool.
So we're gonna use this pork jowl.
We're gonna sear it and get it hot.
- They got quite a fat cap on 'em.
- [Vivian] So you drop scallops there?
- [Luke] Yeah, like, 45 seconds.
- [Vivian] What happened to your hand?
- Bacon grease!
Pulled it straight out of the oven.
I took this corner.
All the grease just dumped all over my wrist.
I think I was making cuss words up.
[Vivian laughing] I threw a thing on the ground and just-- - He kinda looks like a pro wrestler now.
- Yeah, I look really cool.
- A boxer.
- Like a Hulk Hogan.
- [Frank] And this is just like, a pureed version of the piccalilli sauce.
So, you got potatoes?
- Yeah, potatoes right here.
Scallops just came out.
- [Vivian] So this is like, a surf and turf.
That's a good way for the servers to sell it.
- Yeah, I don't like that.
- You don't like that term?
So again, I wanna take some fat 'cause I really want that to shine, and then just a few teaspoons, and I kinda like a little bit on the top, too.
- I was gonna say, can I just make a comment?
I'm so sorry.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, no, no, make it.
- That this is like, a lot of fat and you just added more fat and you can make it shiny by putting that on there.
- Okay, so let's do that.
- You know what I mean?
- Do that then.
- I can't help myself.
- You can handle that tonight?
- [Frank] Cool.
- Over the past seven years, I have gone from cooking on the line every single night to not even being able to walk through the dining room without people squealing and crying.
I miss the good old days, a lot of that, but definitely not the constant crisis, particularly the worst one.
It's really hard to look at something that you have put your whole being into so destroyed.
Just, we're basically having to start over.
Ben and I said that we'd would never open another restaurant and then when we reopened Chef & the Farmer, we also said we'll never open another restaurant because this is just way too stressful.
- Tonight's gonna go to hell in a hand basket.
- This is gonna be the longest night ever.
- Oh my God, this is gonna suck so bad.
What're you scared of?
[laughing] - Say I can't wait till tonight's over!
[people chattering] - All right, it's almost showtime!
- [Susan] Showtime!
- [Ben] We need to slow down for a minute.
- Is it gonna get worse?
- That party of 35 that was supposed to be tomorrow night is here.
This is a very stressful job up here.
- I have no idea what's going on.
- [Vivian] I don't know why I'm laughing!
- That's all we have.
- It's a young person's job.
- You're 37!
Suck it up.
- I have found that our biggest critics are actually our servers.
- No, it's a texture thing for me.
- What do you think about the texture?
- It's fine!
[Vivian laughing] No, it's good!
- Exactly what I wanted to hear.
I'd really rather you not even compare it to Warren's.
- I'm just saying, this is so much better!
That was my point.
- We're trying to-- - I don't know either, so.
- I think you should have a little coming off those ends.
I'm sorry, I know you're like, I hate you, Vivian.
- No, I love you, Chef.
- I know you do.
- Chef, aces.
[acoustic guitar music] - So it's gonna be a good day.
Today is gonna be a good day.
- Yeah, it's just [mumbles].
- And as I usually say, thank God it's over.
[acoustic guitar music] - We're gonna call this babe slay.
[hands clap] Go.
- When I first started here, we were doing like, 40 a night.
- That's a big night.
- Yeah, and then now 80 is like, wow, we're dead.
- And I saw this show, and then that's what brought me in here.
I was sick of my last job, and I was like, I wonder if.
All my nerves went away when she made something explode in the kitchen and she might've said a bad word.
I was like, I can get along with her.
- She probably did.
- She did, and then she's like, "Did you guys see it?"
She's just a nerd too, by the way.
Chef, you're a nerd, but we love you.
- She called me and I walked in there and she's in there like [sobbing].
I said, "What is wrong with you?"
She said, she was talking about feeling overwhelmed with so many things, and then you see that side and you wanna go oh, my poor little chef.
I love you so much, so she's got-- - We're the best and the worst all in the same breath, so.
- Well, we are, the whole group is the best and the worst.
- That's what makes restaurants good.
- Thank you.
- Hey Viv, how are you?
- Good, how are you?
What're we gonna learn in school today?
- [Vivian] I don't know.
You're gonna learn about chow-chow, I think.
- So I wanted to talk to you today.
First of all, got this new dish.
Do we all know what chow-chow is?
It's very much like a relish.
What I did is a pork jowl.
Everybody knows where that comes from, right?
It's in the name, jowl.
It's the area right through here, and then these little medallions are scallops.
- Well, I am intrigued by the combination of pork and scallops.
- Chef made a great point earlier.
I don't necessarily like the term, but it's a really good way to sell this dish.
It's a surf and terf, essentially.
So, you guys try this, let me know what you think.
- Out of my way.
[faint speaking] Yeah, it definitely needs that acid.
- I like it.
- I either get really quiet when I hate something or when I really like something, so which one is it?
Is everybody-- - We like it.
It's a thumbs up.
- Recall on 10, one pork jowl, two birds.
- Tonight, we're featuring our pork jowl.
- It has the fried scallops, confit potatoes and piccalilli.
- The piccalilli is what we in the south call chow-chow.
- It's kinda like a chow-chow.
- Two [mumbles] and with no gravy, one bird, no jalapeno, and one pork jowl.
A little more crust on your scallop, you'll be there.
- Yes, Chef!
- It's pretty, though.
[diners chattering] [guitar music] - [Vivian] Hey!
- Hey mommy!
- Hey, Vivian!
- [Vivian] How was your second day of school?
- It's good.
- So, we're gonna eat this pawpaw pudding.
Do you wanna make some whipped cream?
- [Vivian] All right, so we're gonna whisk.
- Let me whisk.
- You wanna whisk, mom?
- I'll whisk.
- I'd rather look at them.
[laughing] - I wanna whisk!
- Okay, you wanna whisk some?
- And see, the idea-- - [Girl] I wanna whisk!
- Yes, yes.
- Go, go, Theo!
- Hey dad.
- How's it going?
- Good, how are you?
We're making whipped cream.
- [Vivian] All right, there you see, look!
See how thick it is.
How about this, you put the whipped cream on them.
- Thank you.
- I want a big slice.
- Would you like a corner piece?
- Yeah, I like a corner piece.
- Vivian, it's so good!
- You think so?
[faint speaking] - Yes, it is!
- Daddy's home!
- [Just in time for some pawpaw pudding.
The whipped cream kinda makes it, I think.
- Eat this with coffee in the morning.
- Are you ready to play basketball, daddy?
- Oh yeah.
- I'm gonna eat this piece.
[soft music] - See, this is the bigger corn right here, that little [mumbles] right here.
- I think that looks great for the opening.
- [Papa] Okay.
- How about if he backs up and he goes straight till I tell him to stop?
Now you can turn.
- [Vivian] I've got on bad shoes.
- [Man] Make your hard turn, just go like, 15 feet that way.
Exactly, she wants.
Now do you wanna start making the area?
- [Vivian] Yeah, I think that's okay.
All right, you can stop, okay?
[acoustic guitar music] Okay, I think this is good!
[acoustic guitar music] We've been making A Chef's Life for almost seven years and I'd be telling a lie if I said my life is the only one that had changed.
Our little town, Kinston, has had quite the makeover, too.
[acoustic guitar music] Many of the people I love most in the world are in town for this harvest dinner, and a lot of them had a lot of questions about how to make Ms. Lily's biscuits.
- Oh, look at this group.
- Hello there, Chef.
How are you?
- Thank you.
Don't get that beard on me!
- Nice to see you.
[laughing] - That's pretty.
- Hey Bill.
- Hey honey, how are you?
- If mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody to roll [mumbles].
[laughing] - Hey, sweetie.
I'm so happy you could make it up.
- I am so happy to be here.
- So Ben and I are working on, we're gonna fry a turkey.
We're gonna make a turkey rillettes for tomorrow.
- A chow-how.
- Ooh, I'm ready!
[faint speaking] - So Ben, let's go out into the heat.
You are in capable hands.
[people laughing] - Okay, all right.
- Now don't worry it too-- - No.
- Not that much.
- Just a little bit.
- Look, now I'mma have to hit you.
[laughing] - My mother would laugh if she was here.
- [Ms. Lily] Let's go around just a little bit.
- I gotcha.
- The best part about making A Chef's Life for me has been finding friends in unlikely places.
I never would have gotten to know Ms. Lily if it hadn't been for the show, and I'd be a lot dumber for it.
- Let's come on over here.
[acoustic guitar music] Come on.
- Don't we need a measuring cup or something?
- And about how long will this all take 'cause I'm starving?
- I don't know, I never time nothing.
And I don't measure nothing.
- I know.
Any way you wanna do it.
- Except not any way you wanna do it.
- No, no, no, no.
[laughing] Now you just do it, make it [mumbles].
Come wash your hands.
Let me show ya how to do it.
- Okay, I'm trying!
- [Ms. Lily] Oh Lord.
Let me go back over there.
- Let me go back over there.
[laughing] Thank you.
- Let me how you how you do this thing.
- Oh [laughing]!
- Where you go?
- I know [laughing].
[laughing] - [Vivian] You're gonna have to change your shirt, Lily.
- Look at my shirt.
It's all about me!
- It's your mama's birthday!
- It's me, though!
[laughing] - [Vivian] So, did you make your own sauce?
- What's in it?
- Can't tell you.
Have to kill you.
- I'm fittin' to see that your cake meet the qualification.
- Oh, Lord.
- It passed, y'all.
[laughing] I'm a very picky eater, but this taste good.
Happy birthday, Lily.
- Thank you.
I had to fix my own birthday, though!
[laughing] - [Vivian] Well, I didn't think you were gonna catch anything today, Lily.
- I didn't, either.
- You really-- - I beat you.
- Came through in the end.
- Yeah, the big thing.
[Lily and Vivian laughing] - [Vivian] But I've had a really good time.
It's been an experience it's something I never expected in all my life to be on TV without having to kill somebody, and a lot of people that I've met, they say well, I love you.
I'm like, how you love me?
They say I love you.
Say, I see you on TV.
I love you, so that's my made life feel like it's more enjoyable.
It's a lot of fun.
It's a lot of fun to me.
See, now watch this.
- Oh, okay, like it's a sponge.
[people chattering] That's a very interesting method.
This is fascinating.
[people chattering] - [Bill] Wow, this is amazing.
- Isn't it, Bill?
- Keep squeezing.
Now you squeeze that together.
- I'm fascinated by this.
- Oh yeah, these are gonna turn out great, I can tell.
- I don't know, baby.
- This is a beautiful method.
- My biscuits bring all the boys to the yard and they're like, it's better than your.
[people laughing] - Yeah, I can teach you, but I have to.
[people laughing] [acoustic guitar music] - That's a nice - That's a biscuit!
- Biscuit, Charlotte.
- It's a nice biscuit.
It's the best one.
- [Woman] All right, we're ready to pop these bad boys in.
[acoustic guitar music] - [Vivian] Bill, are you a fan of the fried turkey?
- Ive only had one once.
- We made one for Thanksgiving one year and Ben, our oil wasn't hot enough, so it gets kinda like-- - Stewed?
- Drop it like it's hot!
- Hot potato.
- I couldn't help myself.
- I actually think this might work.
- Oh, snap!
- I'm gonna go for one.
- [Woman] Ooh, it's hot.
- Ah, that's good.
- You got some cheddar around here?
[laughing] - All right.
- Okay, you ready, Ben?
- Oh yeah.
- Yeah, that's good.
That looks like a success if I've ever seen one.
- Redemption is sweet.
- Good job.
[acoustic guitar music] - One, two, three.
[soft guitar music] - Let's go and see about this pig.
Let's see if there's any ribs on it.
That's your favorite part.
And that is Sam.
- Oh my gosh!
[Vivian mumbling] - All right, I'm gonna go make some coffee.
- [Theo] Whoa!
- Ah, I caught it [laughing].
It's one of our tadpoles.
- Now we can keep one of our tadpole frogs!
My children have literally grown up on the show.
We started making it when they were two months old and now they're seven.
I really hope I haven't screwed them up.
We're gonna have curry corn broth and-- - I think you're making her salivate.
- I know, I think so [laughing].
And some bacon fat croutons.
- [Ben] Ooh!
- [Vivian] She's eating the green top off of it.
There we go.
Right after that, we'll bring a tile fish and a sausage.
[baby crying] - [Woman] Do you know, it's okay.
That's a baby.
He bit me!
[turkey gobbling] Do you have a camera, Ben?
♪ I've been working on the railroad ♪ - Wow.
We're gonna go plant an apple tree.
- Flo, I love your apron.
- We both have apron!
- We do both have aprons.
- Is that Mary Poppins?
- No, it's not Mary Poppins!
[laughing] You wanna put it down in there very gently.
- Stand up, Theo.
[acoustic guitar music] - Ow.
[laughing] - [Interviewer] Do you like being on a TV show?
- [Interviewer] Can you talk about that a little bit?
- Well, being on the TV show is amazing 'cause being on television is cool!
- And I get to watch myself.
- Me too!
- And it comes on a lot, so I get to watch myself a lot.
- No, it doesn't.
- I thought it did.
- It comes on every single Sunday.
That's a lot, every year.
- Not exactly.
You have to wait a whole week, except for Sunday.
- [Vivian] We have a lot of work to do.
- I don't like-- - You ready to work, Theo?
- [Theo] No.
- So Andrea, if you want to divide eggs for me?
- Sure, [mumbles].
- So, let's do 25.
- Got it.
[acoustic guitar music] - So, I'm making basically like, a vanilla pudding that I'm gonna stir pawpaw into.
My beautiful Victoria and my beautiful Andrea are my assistants today.
Banana pudding's traditionally made with vanilla wafers, so we took some Nilla Wafers and some vinny seeds, melted butter, and sesame oil, and we're gonna make a little crumble.
So, the next job for you is gonna be picking the turkey off the-- - Sweet.
So, I have milk pot on the stove and in here, I have sugar and cornstarch, egg yolks, salt, and a little additional milk, so I'm going to temper my egg yolks by adding a little bit of the hot milk.
So, the idea is that we don't want the egg yolks to scramble, and now I'm gonna add the yolk mixture back to my saucepan.
That looks like perfect pudding!
Is it dry?
- No, it's not.
Is it Ben's turkey?
- It is.
He redeemed himself.
So, I cleaned all the pawpaws, took the seeds out, and then put it in the food processor and blended it up and now it looks like baby food.
That tastes like pawpaw!
[acoustic guitar music] All right, so I am going to make this turkey rillette.
A rillettes is a spreadable kind of appetizer, hors d'eouvre.
Typically, you would take some piece of fairly fatty meat and you would poach it in its own fat, and what we've done is we've fried turkey in peanut oil, so not traditional at all.
So, I'm gonna process this for a minute and hope that it kinda breaks up.
Now I'm gonna drizzle in bacon fat.
I'm also gonna put a little bit of mustard in there and some cream cheese 'cause it is what I have in the refrigerator.
This is gonna work.
So, it's not beautiful, but you can see that it's a spreadable consistency.
It's an incredibly rich spread.
So, I'm gonna cut that richness with my chowchow.
[acoustic guitar music] - [Theo] Here we go.
- [Vivian] Hey, Theo!
Why don't you come here and watch them flip the pig?
- This is gonna happen real quick.
[acoustic guitar music] - Okay, but look a this side, Theo.
This is my favorite part of the pig, are the ribs.
- What's under it is my favorite part.
Theo, come here real quick.
Now get you a pinch of that.
It's hot, though.
- That's good.
- Here we go.
- Pigpickings are the way we celebrate in Eastern North Carolina whether it's a birthday, a wedding, a funeral, or the way you end your show, pigpickings say celebrate.
[acoustic guitar music] - You think it's gonna rain, buddy?
What percent chance does that say?
- 30% means there's 70% chance it's not gonna rain, which is good 'cause we get out in the middle of the cornfield for dinner and you know what?
- We don't want it to rain.
[thunder rumbling] [rain pattering] - It wouldn't be A Chef's Life if something didn't go wrong.
What am I gonna complain about?
[people chattering] [rain pattering] - Hi.
Oh, you were able to grace us with your presence.
- Oh yeah, yeah.
[Vivian laughing] - Hey!
- Hey, how are you?
How are you?
- I'm great.
How are you?
- I'm good.
- How are y'all?
[people chattering] Good, good.
Nice to have you all made it.
All right, those of us who are not afraid, let's go.
I'm coming out here.
I don't care.
- I think we're gonna eat in the rain.
- It doesn't matter.
Nobody cares if it rains.
We're good, we're all good.
Everybody's good, okay.
- Oh, I love you, Susan.
- I love you very much, Chef.
[guitar music] - Hit the tarmac.
- Hi Warren!
- Hey now, how are you?
Ooh, all right.
- That's better.
- I say let's go in the house and see what's going on.
- How you doing?
- You look awesome.
- [mumbles] fine.
- How was the ride here?
- Oh well, it was the limo, baby!
It was happy.
- I heard you said, "I ain't never been in a limo "except for a funeral."
- Only time I been in, the only time - Somebody's dead!
- I have been in a limo is when my husband died, they put me in a limo, but we didn't have no, no-- - No liquor in there.
We were just like, they [mumbles].
[laughing] It was like, a fun ride.
- I bet!
Thank you, Warren.
- I think I might have to.
You're welcome, you're welcome.
Thank you for the all the festivities.
Look, and all the people we love are here.
- Yeah, it's nice.
- Hey Viv.
- You look good, girl.
- Thank you, thank you.
You look good!
- The golden life.
- You the think the rain's gonna-- - The rain's gone!
Proud moment, I'll tell ya that.
- It's nice.
It's hard to believe.
- It's like [mumbles].
Well, from the restaurant to the show and by the twins.
[soft guitar music] [people chattering] [soft guitar music] - [Woman] This is neat.
[woman laughing] - [Female Voice] Look at all the old-timers we got here!
This is awesome.
[people chattering] This is yeah, this is the old-timers there.
[people chattering] [glass clinking] - I wanted to say thank you for everybody coming out here in this cornfield tonight.
I have been thinking about what I would say here for several weeks and it's very hard to round up what this experience has meant, making this show and doing it with all of you and having this past, really, like, seven years really change the course of our lives.
All of us, I think, it's meant something major.
It's just been such a gift and-- [faint speaking] Yes, it's been a gift and a journey and it's not over, it's just evolving.
Anyway, this has been an incredible experience and it's hard to put it into words.
So, thank you.
- Thank you, Chef.
- Thank you, Chef!
[diners cheering] - Here's to you.
[man laughing] [diners chattering] [soft guitar music] - I never really thought about this show ending.
It's something that you know will happen at some point, but I don't know, I guess it's bittersweet.
It's been an amazing thing and I think everybody's probably gonna miss it.
We'll have a great set of family movies to watch as we grow old and I think that that's pretty cool.
[soft guitar music] - I don't wanna give a soundbite about the end.
[soft guitar music] Thank y'all for being a part of this.
♪ Can't stop gambling ♪ ♪ And I can't stop playing ♪ ♪ This old guitar ♪ - [Announcer] For more information on A Chef's Life , visit pbs.org/food.
♪ I can't stop gambling ♪