Italian group to toast TV chef

It all started for Mary Ann Esposito when she was a little girl growing up in Depew.

The former Mary Ann Saporito watched her two Italian grandmothers, one Sicilian and the other Neapolitan, whip up wonderful Italian dishes — such as passatelli and homemade Italian sausage.

Thus was born Esposito’s love of Italian food and culture, which culminated years later in her creating and hosting her own long-running PBS series, “Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito.”

It all comes full circle for Esposito back in Western New York on Sunday night, when the Federation of Italian-American Societies will honor her as its “Person of the Year” for her contributions to the local Italian community.

The federation’s 104th annual Columbus Day Dinner will be held at 6 p. m. Sunday in Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. The federation is an umbrella group made up of 21 Italian-American organizations.

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