I don't get wrapped up in the whole celebrity chef thing.  Most of what comprises the schedule of the Food Network bores the heck out of me and I never watch it.  Quite frankly, if I see one more competition or challenge show I'll rip the knobs off of their Viking range!

That said, I do have a few well-known cooks that I look to for inspiration from time to time.  Sara Moulton.  Ina Garten.  Martha Stewart.  Amy Thielen.  Lidia Bastianich.  These chefs represent those people who I respect for their cooking skills and knowledge - not for their celebrity standing.

Recently, I've added a new name to my list:  Vivian Howard. Howard - the owner of Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina and a smaller burger and oyster place called The Boiler Room.  She is also the focus of a food-related show on the Create Network called "A Chef's Life" - which is equally educational and entertaining.

Vivian Howard's culinary style is a refreshing blend of farm-to-table and southern heritage.  If you haven't heard of her before,  I suggest that you do a little research to learn more.

Cary Magazine recently interviewed Vivian Howard and it makes a good read.  Click here to read the piece by David McCreary.  And to learn more about Chef Vivian, click here.