‘A Chef’s Life’ Vivian Howard’s first cookbook wins top industry award

“Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” by Vivian Howard
“Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” by Vivian Howard

Kinston Chef Vivian Howard’s first cookbook is the Cookbook of the Year, the top cookbook award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

“Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” a personal cookbook in which Howard shares stories behind the food that’s made her eastern North Carolina restaurant a destination, won the association’s top award Sunday night in Louisville, Ky.

That’s not the only prize the book took home. It won three of the four awards it was a finalist for: General, Chefs & Restaurants, and Julia Child First Book.

She also was a finalist in the American category. That went to Ronni Lundy for her book “Victuals,” which focuses on the food and people of Appalachia.

The association gives awards for Cookbooks, Food Writing, Food Photography and Digital Media.

There are 16 categories of cookbook awards, which “honor the authors, publishers and other contributors behind the best cookbooks published each year,” according to the association. Each category has three finalists.

One book is named the Cookbook of the Year.

Howard is the James Beard Award-winning chef of Chef & The Farmer, a farm-to-table restaurant in Kinston that’s the focus of her PBS series, “A Chef’s Life.”

The book, released in October, celebrates the “characters who shape her life,” or the food that Howard uses in her restaurant and tells stories about on her show. Chapters are devoted to ingredients such as blueberries, sweet corn, peaches and beets. In the book she says the way the book is written is “personal, driven more by story than anything else.”

She breaks out some recipes that are specific to eastern North Carolina.

“They’ll always taste like home to me,” she writes.

Howard won a James Beard Award last year for Outstanding Television Personality in the annual James Beard Foundation awards. “A Chef’s Life” won a Peabody Award in 2014 and a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle/Culinary/Travel Program in 2015.

She is a semifinalist this year for Best Chef: Southeast.

The book is published by Little, Brown and Co.

Two other finalists with North Carolina connections were Kaitlyn Goalen, brand director for Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen’s restaurants, and Hunter Lewis, a Chapel Hill native and UNC graduate, who is editor of Cooking Light magazine.

Goalen was a finalist in the cookbook compilation category with co-author Nick Fauchald for “The Short Stack Cookbook: Ingredients That Speak Volumes,” which was released in October 2016. The award went to “James Beard's All-American Eats.”

Cooking Light was a finalist for Publication of the Year, which went to the New York Times food section.

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