By Carly DeFilippo
In our increasingly global food scene—where we can access ingredients as diverse as octopus, chicory and passionfruit, where our shelves are lined with cookbooks celebrating Italian, Filipino, Middle Eastern or South American cuisine—what is the value of regional cooking? It's a question that ICE Culinary Arts alum Vivian Howard and an evolving community of chefs are exploring by revisiting the flavors of their ancestors, celebrating the ingredients and dishes of regional American cuisine.
Acclaimed for both her work as chef/co-owner of Chef & The Farmer and her acclaimed PBS show A Chef's Life, Vivian was presented with a Peabody Award in 2014 and has been nominated twice for the James Beard "Best Chef Southeast" award. But beyond these honors, Vivian's cooking and storytelling are breathing new life into the culinary traditions of eastern North Carolina, inspiring a new generation of chefs to explore their own roots and celebrate the taste of home.
What were the highlights of your time in culinary school?
I liked ICE’s approach, and I felt it was a well-rounded program that would help me discover what direction I wanted to go in. My first instructor was Alex Guarnaschelli, who was such a great storyteller, a passionate teacher and—of course—a woman chef. She really set the bar for my experience. I also remember Chef Ted; he was very intimidating, but turned out to be one of my favorites—so knowledgeable, very open and just knew everything. All my teachers were great. I never popped up so easily in the morning as when I was in culinary school.