With squash season in full effect, trouble with the twins, staffing issues at the Boiler Room, and a new cookbook overloading her plate, Vivian seeks motherly advice from Mrs. Scarlett and her sister Johna over a Southern classic: squash and onions. Despite nerves, Vivian plays it cool on camera, as Ben and all of Kinston anticipate her appearance on The Today Show.
Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill's canned peaches and shares fond fried chicken memories from her own childhood. Vivian sweats through a Thanksgiving-in-July extravaganza photo shoot while a major mix-up at the restaurant leaves the restaurant team scrambling.
Vivian is under the gun to pen an entire book chapter on figs in three days. The stress inspires a fig and honey bourbon slushie tasting with Warren and a fig preserves session with Ms Rose. After much debate, Vivian and Ben make the tough decision to begin charging for bread at the restaurant.
Vivian visits her friend Nancy for a surprisingly comforting combination of homemade pickles, chicken salad, and chocolate cake. Ben and Vivian audition a new chef to offer Ben some relief and much-needed time to focus on his art.
Vivian's mentor, Scott Barton stops by the restaurant to peruse the kitchen and share the African roots of okra. Thanks to Warren, Vivian learns that picking okra is a prickly business. She gets a crash course in the highs and lows of food styling during a photo session for her upcoming cookbook.
Matt from Crooked Fence Produce shows Vivian how to make "the best pickled beets she ever ate." Vivian incorporates beets into an unconventional chocolate cake in honor of Ms. Mary's 89th birthday party. There's no telling how Ms. Lillie will respond.
Vivian helps friend and cookbook author, Sheri Castle at a signing in Kinston, NC. To much to Ben's delight, the Boiler Room welcomes a new manager. While Ben paints his way to sanity, Vivian visits with Ms. Daisy and prepares for a homecoming at her church where the warmth of fellowship produces an impressive spread of home-cooked casseroles.
After a visit from "The Honey Man," Vivian turns up the heat on a dish that features chicken livers drizzled with hot honey. While Ben preps for his art show in Durham, Vivian descends upon "the Bull City's" restaurant row to sample sweet, honey-themed dishes.
Lillie shows Vivian three different ways to bring out the bitter and the sweet in rutabagas. Vivian showers her team with thoughtful holiday gifts as they prepare a New Year's menu that blends Italian and Eastern North Carolinian influences. A hectic New Year's Eve at the restaurant ends in a toast and a smile, despite brewing tension.
Vivian heads to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, the South's premiere gathering of world-class chefs and food folk. Her jam-packed schedule includes the prestigious "perfectly paired" dinner at Frank Lee's High Cotton Restaurant. A clamming trip with lowcountry legend, "Clammer Dave" adds a bit adventure to her every day.
Vivian's plate runneth over as her tour of Charleston continues. A highlight is the high-energy and very popular Waffle House Smackdown. Frank Lee, "The Mayor of Charleston," invites Vivian to his home and schools her on the proper way to open a clam and the secret to his aunt's decadent clam hash.
After some initial hiccups, Vivian's whole cow program finds its groove. Mrs. Scarlett shows her how to make a classic cubed steak, inciting an epic tantrum from Flo. Vivian nervously heads to New York to meet her new editor as work on her upcoming cookbook continues.
Vivian judges the Southern Sides competition at the annual BBQ Festival alongside Mrs. Scarlett and Ms. Lillie, who prove to be finicky judges. Vivian follows up with a take on the BBQ plate, featuring a crispy potato salad. When the Avett Brothers stop by the restaurant for dinner, the entire staff, including Vivian, serve up a side of girly giddiness.