Mary Ann Esposito was born in Buffalo, New York, and is an Italian American chef, author, and TV host to the longest running cooking show in America called Ciao Italia With Mary Ann Esposito.
Both of Mary Ann's grandmothers were professional chefs, and moved to America in the 1890's. Both grandmothers cooked traditional Italian foods from their regions, but Mary Ann, liked standard American foods.
Mary Ann never intended to pursue a career in cooking. She learned how to cook from both of her grandmothers. She would help them make bread daily, can fruits, and veggies, and helped with preparing ingredients for meals.
She attended college, and graduated with a teaching degree, and became an elementary school teacher.
In 1979, Mary Ann's mother sent her a pasta maker, and despite her lack of interest in cooking as an adult, she taught herself how to make pasta dough. The following year, Mary Ann, and her husband went to visit her cousins in Italy for the first time, and she began attending a cooking class. She learned the history of Italian cooking, region by region, and traveled twice a year for cooking lessons.
Mary Ann the attended the University of New Hampshire to take classes to learn to speak Italian, and in 1985, she joined the master's program writing her thesis about Italian Renaissance cooking.
Mary Ann started teaching cooking through the University of New Hampshire's Division of Continuing Education.
In the mid 80's she submitted a proposal for a cooking show to New Hampshire Public Television. They taped the pilot on the hottest day of the year at Mary Ann's home in Durham, New Hampshire. It received great reception, and the show went on to be the longest running television cooking show. (The rest of the shows are taped at a studio in New Hampshire).
Mary Ann has published over a dozen cook books about Italian cooking, and entertaining. In 1997, she wrote a book called What You Knead (making bread) was awarded best in category by the International Cookbook Revenue, and was named in Food, and Wine Magazine.
Mary Ann makes over 40 nation public appearances a year. She has appeared on QVC, Food Network, the Today Show, and many others. She has also contributed to the Huffington Post, and New Hampshire Home.
Ciao Italia With Mary Ann Esposito began in 1989, and is a 30 minute cooking show produced for PBS by Mary's own production company Mary Esposito Productions. The show is about Mary's' recipes, and cooking tips. Guest chefs often make appearances.
Mary Ann decides what to feature on each show by using four standards, 1. She must like eating the food, 2. The ingredients must be easy to find, 3. The recipes must be unique to the viewer, and 4. The recipes must be manageable by her kitchen staff.
Each episode has around 20 volunteers who help work on the show. There are generally 32 episodes that are taped within 2 weeks during the summer, two to three episodes per day. Each dish is prepared from scratch in the studio the same day as the show. Each dish is prepared in numerous batches at each stage of the recipe. This is how Mary Ann is able to execute an entire recipe in minutes. Mary Ann researches and tests recipes outside the studio to prepare for shows.
Mary Ann has received an Honorary Degree from St. Anselm College, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Culinary and Cultural Arts of Italy by the Order Sons of Italy in America (they sponsor Ciao Italia). She is also in the Hall of Fame for the Italian Trade Commission. There is a scholarship fund named after and maintained by Mary Ann awarding scholarships for students seeking financial aid for studying culinary arts.
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You can also check your local PBS listings including Create TV.