Dartmouth cook Maria Lawton prepping PBS season two
DARTMOUTH – In 2021, Portuguese cookbook author and food blogger Maria Lawton went national on PBS with her show “Maria’s Portuguese Table” – which has now paved the way for an exciting 2022.
“It’s been really humbling and beyond anything I expected,” Lawton said, while reflecting on 2021.
Cineeasta Digital Productions, directed by Emmy-winning cinematographer Dean Camara, the only Portuguese-themed cooking series stars Lawton as she shares family recipes. She travels through New England, the West Coast and Sao Miguel, a Portuguese island in the North Atlantic, learning about culture and cuisine.
In the spring of 2020, she was nominated for a New England Emmy for Outstanding Host / Moderator Program.
Now available nationwide via PBS and Create a television, all eight 30-minute episodes of Lawton have now aired in the United States.
“I got comments from Seattle, Colorado, Midwest, Florida, upstate New York…” she said. “It came from everywhere. I was really delighted. “
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Lawton said he’s often told people don’t know about the Azores until they watch his show. “It was good to know that I presented this to people.”
According to Lawton, its Q1 numbers (also known as horse-drawn carriages) were higher than most shows that have aired on the network for several seasons.
She is currently working on a second 10-episode season, which she hopes to start filming in the spring. She says she wants to present more Portuguese festivals and return to the Azores.
Traveling with Maria Lawton
Lawton was born in São Miguel. She and her family moved to southern New Bedford when she was 6 years old. She now lives in Dartmouth with her family.
In October, Lawton took 30 people to Sao Miguel as part of the PBS Travel Club. In 2019, she was approached by the resort to become a tour guide after being personally requested by fans.
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“There were people calling the station and saying ‘We would love to travel with her’,” she said with a laugh. Unfortunately, the trip was postponed due to COVID-19.
However, Lawton eventually made the trip. Traveling with a majority of couples and single guests between the ages of 30 and 80, Lawton said the trip aimed to introduce people to the island for the first time.
“Apart from two people who had been there before, when they were younger, everyone had never been there,” she said. “And only four people were Portuguese.”
She said they mostly visited her favorite restaurants, especially trying wines and other foods that rarely hit U.S. markets.
“We literally ate and drank from one side of the island to the other,” she said.
Lawton said one of her favorite experiences was taking the group to a farm where she filmed an episode for her show. The guests rode a cart to a field of cows and helped bring them down for milking. “We were farm workers for a little while,” she added.
Lawton has another tour scheduled for April 2022.
Ignore negative reviews
Prior to airing her show on PBS, Lawton said she faced relentless rejection from friends and potential sponsors. One of the reasons, she said, was that she wasn’t a man.
Lawton has been told that she is not a skilled chef and that a “male Portuguese cook” is expected to host a show on PBS.
Now, she says, even with the success of her show, she still faces some criticism. “There are still those who say, ‘Yeah, you did that. But what are you going to do now?’” She said.
While she has said she receives much more positive feedback, there are sometimes mean comments about the way she talks and her physical appearance.
“There will always be those whose pancakes can never be rounded,” Lawton said. “It can never be everything for everyone.”
She said she doesn’t listen to those comments and never base her decisions on those kinds of comments. “You’ll never make everyone happy … and I’m not going to try,” she added.
“You’re fine, and you’re moving on.” “
A 10-year plan
Asked about her goals for 2022, Lawton is already thinking until 2032.
Lawton said she has completed her second cookbook and is making the final edits, but hopes to publish several more in the next few years.
She is optimistic that her cooking show will run for many seasons as well.
“As long as I have fun and find joy in what I do, I will continue to do it,” she said. “And when I don’t, something else will happen because I think for ourselves human beings, we can reinvent ourselves as often as we like.
“This is what I do and this is what I find great joy in.”
Standard-Times writer Seth Chitwood can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.