Ten years ago, Vivian Howard's New York City life was golden. The Deep Run, North Carolina, native worked at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market and earned extra cash selling soup out of her kitchen with her husband, Ben Knight. Still her parents made her an offer: Come home, build a house on the family farm, and start a restaurant in a dilapidated mule stable downtown. The couple accepted, and in 2006 they opened Chef & the Farmer, where they cook some of the best pig and produce in the region. "I started exalting the food of Eastern Carolina as a means to connect with the locals," says Howard, and in 2013, PBS premiered A Chef's Life, a show championing Howard and her engagement with the region's ingredients.