Born in Deep Run, NC, to tobacco and hog farming parents, Vivian Howard learned early on to appreciate the ebb and flow of eating with the seasons. Still, it took 23 years and a start in the advertising business to convince her a career in food was feasible. After college, Vivian moved to New York for work, but found the City's food and restaurant scene far more intriguing. A server position at Greenwich Village's, Voyage, made it possible for her to begin trailing under the restaurant's Chef, Scott Barton. She later went on to learn from creative, cutting edge Chef's, Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason at WD-50 and later, was a member of the opening team at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's, Spice Market.
In 2005, Vivian, and her now husband, Ben Knight decided to return to Vivian's roots to open a farm to fork restaurant in the small town of Kinston, NC. They opened Chef & the Farmer in the summer of 2006 serving local, seasonal, creative cuisine. Over the past eight years, Chef Howard has developed strong relationships with local farmers making it possible to source over 70% of the restaurant's foodstuffs from within 60 miles . Chef and the Farmer has become beloved by locals and a destination for diners all over the state.