"The Little Cooking Show That Could!"
June 2021 - Cineasta Digital Productions & Maria Lawton, the cooking enthusiast & author of Azorean Cooking: From My Table to Yours, is excited to announce that the televisions series, "Maria's Portuguese Table," has been picked up for nationwide distribution with PBS. The series will be made available to every PBS station starting June 2021. Locally, KVIE in Sacramento will premiered the series on July 8th at 1:30pm. Other stations that have already set air dates include KVCR (San Bernardino, CA) WTVP (Peoria, IL) WNED (Buffalo NY/Toronto) WSBE (RI), OPB (Portland, OR), MPT (Maryland), TPT (Saint Paul, Minnesota) & Hawaii.
“Being Portuguese is something I am very proud of, and I can’t wait to share a small part of my heart through this television show,” said Lawton. “I want everyone to see just how amazing Portuguese food and culture is. Even though the Portuguese were great explorers of the world, their widespread impact isn’t always recognized. It’s time for the world to discover all things Portuguese!”
The first season of “Maria’s Portuguese Table” consists of eight, 30-minute episodes following Maria on a culinary journey that spans from the heart of the Azorean islands in the North, to vibrant Portuguese communities across the United States. The first season originally premiered in 2018 on WSBE, Rhode Island and other limited markets.
Maria, along with her husband Bob Lawton serve as Executive Producers of the series. They sought out Modesto, California-based production company, Cineasta Digital Productions, led by National Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Dean Camara, to produce and direct the first season.
“Being 1st generation Portuguese-American myself and my mother spending her career as a chef, this project was special to me on so many levels," said Dean Camara. "It's exciting to see the show still continue to have an audience. What we did with such a small crew and budget was amazing & with Season 1 going nationally, gets me really excited about the possibilities of Season 2!”
Rhode Island PBS/WSBE-TV is the presenting station for “Maria’s Portuguese Table.” Lori Sullivan, director of content at Rhode Island PBS, said, “I am delighted that Maria will now be sharing her love of Portuguese food and culture with the rest of the country. The pride she has in her heritage is inspiring and I am glad that so many more people, will now get the chance to experience that with her.”
In spring 2020, Lawton was nominated for a Boston/New England Emmy for her role as host of the “Maria’s Portuguese Table.” Lawton said, “I was humbled by the nomination, and in a year filled with so much sorrow I just jumped with joy at the announcement. With the first season now going national, for the very first time, a series on Portuguese food and culture has joined the table of other cultures. The seat has be waiting for us, and I am ready for more to join me at that table as we look ahead to developing our next season.”
Half of the inaugural season was shot exclusively on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores, and features the capital city of Ponta Delgada as well as many small, coastal villages throughout the island. The other half of the season takes viewers to both the East and West coasts of the United States, where Lawton finds Portuguese influences at every turn.
The goal for the series and the production team is to find the right partnerships that will allow several more series to be produced. This would allow the series to explore and highlight the Portuguese culinary and culture. Lawton noted, “The Portuguese people have influenced the world since the fifteenth century, and I’m happy to promote our food and culture, wherever in the world it may be.”
For more information regarding “Maria’s Portuguese Table,” visit azoreangreenbean.com.