Portuguese American Journal

Maria Lawton: Television food show to be broadcast nationwide – PBS

Starting in June, television food show “Maria’s Portuguese Table” hosted by Portuguese American Chef and Maria Lawton, best known for her Azorean Green Bean, will be broadcast nationwide by the prestigious Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), to reach millions of viewers of in the United States.

“I gave them a year of rights and they asked for an extension because they kept receiving requests,” Lawton said, referring to the show’s success.

“Maria’s Portuguese Table” first appeared on PBS Rhode Island two years ago and has since been in constant rotation on the channel, on other PBS stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Buffalo and Toronto (Canada). The original presenting station for the series is WSBE Rhode Island PBS.

According to Lawton, before the pandemic, the original plan was to shoot ten episodes divided between the Azores (Terceira, Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, and Graciosa) and the United States (Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York).

As the presenter, Lawton took viewers on a gastronomic experience throughout traditional cookery of Portuguese food and culture in Rhode Island and the Azores.  It consists of eight 30-minute episodes produced by Cineasta Digital Productions, led by Emmy-Award winning cinematographer, Dean Camara.

Nominated last year for a New England Emmy Award, the series is the creation of  Maria Lawton, who serves as executive producer of the series, along with her husband Bob Lawton. 

Born on the Azorean island of São Miguel, in a village called Rosário da Lagoa, Maria Lawton emigrated with her family to the United States when she was 6 years old, and grew up in the South End of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The series takes viewers on a journey to discover the influence of Portuguese cuisine throughout the world, and how it has migrated and evolved along with generations of Portuguese immigrants in the United States.

In an interview for the Portuguese American Journal, Maria Lawton revealed the origin of the “Azorean Green Bean” alias.

“This name came from being picked on while going to school after my family emigrated from São Miguel. I was called many names (portugee, greenhorn, fava bean etc…) since I was different than the other children. But I never let those names hurt me or make me less than who I am. I was raised by very strong parents and grandparents, and they taught me to be very proud of who I am, so call me what you may… I knew I came from a wonderful family with an amazing heritage.  So you can call me the “Azorean Green Bean” … I wear that name with pride.

Maria Lawton is the author of a cookbook Azorean Cooking: From My Family Table to Yours (1914) and Azorean Cuisine (2014), which opened the doors to her PBS TV food series.  She is the first Chef to host a Portuguese themed cooking show on PBS.

Carolina Matos/PAJ Editor with Staff.

**Report a correction or typo to editor@portuguese-american-journal.com. We are committed to upholding our journalistic standards, including accuracy. Carolina Matos/Editor.

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