Mary Ann Esposito

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Mary Ann Esposito
BornBuffalo, New York
OccupationChef
Known forHost of Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito
 
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Mary Ann Esposito
BornBuffalo, New York
OccupationChef
Known forHost of Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito

Mary Ann Esposito is an American chef and the television host of Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, which started in 1989 and is the longest-running television cooking program in America.[1][2] Esposito has published over a dozen cookbooks.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Mary Ann Esposito was raised in Buffalo, New York.[2] Her mother was a dietician.[3] Her grandmothers, both professional chefs,[4] moved to the United States from Italy in the 1890s. Her paternal grandmother, from Sicily owned a butcher shop in Fairport, New York, and her maternal grandmother lived in Buffalo, where she owned a boarding house. The latter grandmother was from Naples, and continued the traditions of her Italian household within the boarding house. The boarding house was the only house in the neighborhood that had a bathtub, and on Friday nights she would offer neighbors a bath and dinner for a quarter. While her grandmothers provided traditional Italian food, Esposito desired to eat standard foods like other children: Wonder Bread and iceberg lettuce.[2]

Esposito, who never intended to pursue a career in cooking, learned to cook from her family. Her grandmothers made bread every day, with Esposito helping to make upwards of 20 loaves of bread a day, canning vegetables and fruits, and helping to prepare ingredients for meals. Eventually, Esposito attended college, where she would graduate with a teaching degree and become an elementary school teacher. In 1979, her mother sent her a pasta maker, and despite a lack of interest in cooking as an adult, Esposito taught herself how to make pasta dough. The following year, she and her husband Guy[1][2] visited Italy for the first time, visiting his cousins. While in Italy, Esposito started attending a cooking class. She began learning the history of Italian cooking, region by region, and traveling to the country twice a year for cooking lessons. At the University of New Hampshire she took classes to learn how to speak Italian. By 1985 she had joined the history master's program at the university, writing her thesis about Italian Renaissance cooking.[2]

Career[edit]

Esposito started teaching cooking through the University of New Hampshire's Division of Continuing Education. In the mid-1980s she submitted a proposal for a cooking show to New Hampshire Public Television. The show was delayed production because of the small size of the television station, however, upon moving to a larger station, a pilot was taped. The pilot was a test to not only gauge viewer reception, but, to also see how Esposito would be on camera. On the hottest day of the year in the region, the television crew came to Esposito's home in Durham, New Hampshire and the pilot was taped. Upon airing, the pilot received great reception and the longest running television cooking show was born.[2]

Esposito has published over a dozen cooking books about Italian cooking and entertaining. Her 1997 book, What You Knead, about breadmaking, was awarded best in category by the International Cookbook Revue and was named one of Food and Wine Magazine's of 1997.[5] She makes over 40 public appearances a year nationally[2] and has appeared on the Today Show, Regis and Kathie Lee, QVC, the Food Network, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and other programs.[5] She contributed to the Huffington Post[6] and New Hampshire Home.[7]

Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito[edit]

Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, is a 30-minute cooking show produced for PBS by Esposito's own Mary Esposito Productions, and taped at New Hampshire Public Television. The show features Esposito's recipes and cooking tips, and visits from guest chefs. She also explores the history of Italian cooking and food.[2] Through the show, Esposito seeks to help her viewers learn about new recipes that are "doable, authentic, and good."[3]

When deciding what to feature on the show, Esposito has four standards: she must like to eat the food, the ingredients should be easy to find, the recipe should be something unique and new to the viewer, and should be manageable by the kitchen staff. Every episode has 20 volunteers who work on the show. An entire season of shows, generally about 32 episodes, can be taped within two weeks during the summer, with two to three shows being taped a day. All of food is made from scratch in the studio, with each dish being prepared in numerous batches and at different recipe stages. This allows Esposito to execute an entire recipe in a matter of minutes that might take hours to complete. All of the recipes are planned by Esposito and the kitchen staff. Volunteers gather all the pertinent ingredients from local markets and going to Boston for specialty foods if unavailable locally. Recipes are prepared the day of the show. Ciao Italia is not scripted. The television studio used for filming is loosely based on Esposito's home kitchen. The view out the window of the set is painted to appear as the view of the Oyster River, which is seen from her home kitchen. To prepare for shows, Esposito researches and tests recipes outside the studio.[2]

Recognitions[edit]

A scholarship foundation named after and maintained by Esposito awards scholarships for students seeking financial aid to study culinary arts.[8] Esposito was awarded an honorary degree from St. Anselm College.[5] She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Culinary and Cultural Arts of Italy by the Order Sons of Italy in America. She is in the Hall of Fame for the Italian Trade Commission.[5]

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Annie B. Copps (2008). "Dinner with Guy and Mary Ann Esposito". New England is Delicious. Yankee. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Margaret Anne Paine. "A Taste of Italy". Features. University of New Hampshire. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "An Interview with Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia". Proud Italian Cook. 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.pbs.org/food/chefs/mary-ann-esposito/
  5. ^ a b c d Loraine Pavich (2010). "Exclusive Interview: Celebrity Chef Mary Ann Esposito – Host of 'Ciao Italia'". News & Events. Italia Living. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Mary Ann Esposito". Huffington Post. 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Mary Ann Esposito (2010). "Home Cooking with Mary Ann Esposito". New Hampshire Home. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "JWU Announces Winner of First Mary Ann Esposito Foundation Scholarship". News & Events. Johnson & Wales University. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 

External links[edit]