Vivian Howard Serves Up Stories and Recipes

vivian-signs-bookEven if they had yet to score a reservation at Vivian Howard’s Kinston restaurant Chef and the Farmer, fans lined up recently to meet the chef and sample some fish stew.

On a summer-like evening in Raleigh, about 250 people waited patiently as Howard signed copies of her first cookbook, “Deep Run Roots — Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South.”

After a hug and a photo with the chef, fans headed for the Deep Run Roots food truck. There Howard’s team dished out Eastern N.C. Shrimp and Catfish Stew with Hard Poached Egg and Applewood Bacon, and a Pecan Chewy Bar, all from the chef’s

“Often we get people who bring in samples, but no one has ever done a food truck before,” said René Martin, events coordinator with Quail Ridge Books, which co-hosted the event.

Since the beginning of October, when the cookbook was released, Howard has been touring select cities in the large food truck. More than a roving billboard, the truck provides a familiar cooking space for Howard and her team, although the tour venues are often parking lots rather than bookstores.

Laurie Hohe and Carla Fleming of Cary and Julia Quick of Apex weren’t complaining as they enjoyed their supper outside Whole Foods Market. The friends say they became fans by watching Howard’s PBS show “A Chef’s Life.”

“I love how down to earth and honest she is, and how she gets a lot of her recipes from people she’s known,” said Fleming.

In the book, Howard describes the ingredients and dishes she grew up eating. She includes favorite family dishes, memorable meals from the restaurant, and time-honored preparation tips for regional

The women admit they are unlikely to make half the recipes in the 500-plus page book. Rather, the stories behind the food are most appealing.

“I read it like a novel,” said Hohe. “Once I picked it up, I went home that night and started reading. I stayed up way too late reading.”

The tour wraps up Nov. 22 with a final stop in Chicago. More details about the tour and upcoming North Carolina appearances — Nov. 18 in Goldsboro and Nov. 19 in Kinston — are at

Howard also talks about writing “Deep Run Roots” in an interview with Cary Magazine’s David McCreary from March 2015. Check it out here!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *