Jan 9, 2015

HELLO 2015 and Chef and the Farmer

I am not so sure how I feel about it being 2015. This is going to be a life changing and pivotal year.  Sometime this month, Barrett will hear back from colleges and that will begin that dreadful countdown to my empty nest. My heart stops everytime I think about it.

She is just finishing up her first week back to school after a long three week break.  It was very hard getting up and moving instead of sitting with our coffee and tea in front of the fireplace and TV.

 Art and I aren't big into celebrating or doing anything on New Year's, but we did do something great this year. This was one of the better ones.

We went to eat at Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina on New Year's Eve. It is about two hours away from our place at the beach.

The chef at Chef and the Farmer is featured on the PBS show A Chef's Life.  I don't know if people in other parts of the country would find it as interesting as we do, but we love it. Art and I are both from eastern North Carolina and we find something in every episode that brings back memories and usually is about the food we grew up eating.

From the website:

A Chef’s Life plunges audiences into the kitchen of a high-end restaurant located in the low country of eastern North Carolina. It follows the trials and travails of Chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight, and their farm-to-table restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, exploring both traditional and modern applications of quintessential Southern ingredients. Vivian’s skill in the kitchen is an equal match for the charismatic personality, radiating behind her crystal grey eyes. Much more dynamic than a typical cooking show, A Chef’s Life is a character-driven documentary and cooking series that premiered nationally on PBS stations in September 2013. A Chef’s Life is currently in its second season, which features 14 half-hour episodes. The first season consisted of 13 half-hour episodes.


We have been wanting to go so badly and in fact have reservations for the end of January for Barrett's birthday. There usually is about a 3 to 4 week wait to even get a reservation,  but on a whim we called the day before New Year's Eve to see if they had any cancellations. We were shocked when we were told they could fit us in at 9:45 (yep, PM) (yawn). There was no way we were turning down this opportunity. Barrett and her friends were making plans together, but when she found out we were able to get a table, she couldn't wait to go with us.

The place was full when we got there. We didn't mind the thirty minute wait because we needed some time to unwind from our long drive in the bar and just sit to take everything in.

They just happened to be filming the show on New Year's Eve. So we got to watch the film crew following Chef Vivian and her husband around.  The cameras panned around the resaturant several times so maybe we might end up on an episode next season!

(bar area)

Because it was New Year's, the menu was a fixed price with an Italy meets North Carolina (Southern) theme. The food was wonderful and exceeded our expectations and was well worth the drive.

(smoked tomato marinara) 

(sweet potato cornmeal gnocchi)

(Barrett's quail) 

(Art's steak)

(country ham app)

(view from our table)

 We rang in the New Year at our table. The servers passed out glasses of champagne and everyone in the restaurant including everyone working toasted to 2015. 
The chef wandered around taking pictures and talking with everyone.

We got back to the beach house at 3:00AM! I don't think I have ever stayed out that late before - or at least I haven't in a very very long time!  


Garden & Gun magazine has had this to say about Chef and the Farmer/Vivian. There is also another article here and one here from The Washington Post.  


Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

That meal looks amazing. I just love pairing that standard of cooking with a good wine - it becomes an event. I promise having an empty nest will be fine. It takes a little adjustment, but you come to realize you will still see your daughters often and texting can keep you close.

Anonymous said...

What a fun evening!!! Happy 2015! We also will be empty nesters next fall. Hope I survive!

Katie Clooney said...

What a great way to bring in 2015! Great pic of the 3 of you. I know that pit in the stomach from becoming an empty nester. I can honestly say it's not so bad afterall! Have a great weekend!

Joyce said...

You will somehow still find plenty to keep you busy with an empty nest. And soon you'll have weddings to plan : ) I think with girls especially, and you seem close to yours, they still communicate and want that connection with mom. I have one living on the other side of the country now, and we just face timed a few minutes ago. Not quite as good as in person, but it's pretty good!

That looks like our kind of place. I will have to look for the show. I don't think I've seen that one. Happy New Year!

MCW said...

I know the change will be hard, but I bet it will be easier then you think.
I want to go to dinner there! It looks amazing! Country ham appetizer? Yum.

SHUG IN BOOTS {Beth} said...

How fun! We need to check it out. Your pics look delicious!

KatiePerk said...

Stopping by from MCW's blog. I am a NC girl living in SC and I am really needing to go to her restaurant! I love the show. Looks like a wonderful New Years Eve.

Marilyn *Pink Martinis and Pearls* said...

What a fun time! It's been fun connecting on IG too! Happy New Year to you, the girls and your hubby. :)