Critically acclaimed chef and author Vivian Howard will deliver the keynote speech at the Women’s Professional Development Luncheon on August 14, 2019, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce announced. Howard will share stories of her path to success in a speech titled The Pressure to Have It All: Navigating Career, Family, and Fame with Vivian Howard.
“We are honored to welcome Vivian Howard as our keynote speaker,” said Natalie English, President & CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. “Her multitude of awards, coupled with her down-to-earth nature, will allow the attendees insight into building a successful business that translates across multiple industries.”
Born in Deep Run, N.C., Howard’s upbringing was steeped in the Southern tradition of her neighbors. After training under esteemed chefs in New York, Howard moved to Kinston, N.C. in 2005 to open her first award-winning restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, followed by the Boiler Room, also in Kinston, and Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington. In the fall of 2018, Howard opened her fourth restaurant, Handy & Hot in Kinston. Both Howard and her restaurants have won numerous accolades, including her selection as a five-time James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.
“The addition of Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington has made a lasting impact on our business community,” said English. “Benny’s has helped transform the South Front community into a gathering place, along with bringing jobs into our community.”
In 2012, Howard and director Cynthia Hill premiered A Chef’s Life, the award-winning documentary television series celebrating eastern North Carolina food traditions. After five seasons, a Daytime Emmy, Peabody award, and James Beard award for Outstanding Personality/Host, the series has segued into a new series to premiere in 2019, where the hour-long, primetime show will tell food stories of the American South in the context of global food traditions.
In October 2016, Howard released her first cookbook, Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South. The cookbook was nominated for a James Beard award for the American Cooking category, was named Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and was selected as the winner of the 2017 Southern Book Prize for the Nonfiction – Cooking category.
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce event will include a VIP ticket option along with luncheon seats. VIP ticketholders will receive a copy of Deep Run Roots, admission to a book signing with Vivian prior to the event, and seating at the luncheon. Event Details are below:
• VIP (now-July 31): Member: $99, Non-member: $109
• Early Bird Luncheon Tickets (now-July 31): Member: $30, Non-member: $40
• Luncheon Tickets (Aug 1-Aug 13): Member: $35, Non-member: $45