UPDATE June 8, 2022 – NEWARK, NJ – NJ PBS, New Jersey’s public television network, announced a new cinematic docu-series that serves up insight into the state’s diverse cultures, Table for All with Buki Elegbede, premiering Wednesdays at 8 p.m. beginning May 11 on NJ PBS. Watch a preview here.
Elegbede, a Jersey native, son of immigrants, amateur baker and producer for NJ PBS’s NJ Spotlight News, hosts the eight-part series and explores how food, culture and tradition intersect in kitchens across New Jersey. Table for All with Buki Elegbede takes viewers into local restaurants and homes to try new cuisines, meet the people preparing them and hear the fascinating stories behind the recipes. It is a cinematic recipe showing there is always room at the table in one of the country’s most diverse states.
“Table for All is an important entrée on the menu of new local programs NJ PBS is serving up this spring,” said NJ PBS General Manager Joe Lee. “Where else but New Jersey public media would you find such a unique look at what it means to be from New Jersey?”
“I am excited to share the diversity and cultures of the Garden State through the lens of food,” said Elegbede. “It’s a delicious way to feature the melting pot that is New Jersey.”
In the series premiere, Elegbede uncovers New Jersey’s African-American history and the state’s role in the underground railroad in Camden via authentic Black soul food at award-winning restaurant Corrine’s Place and a visit to the Macedonia A.M.E. Church. In Jersey City, he discusses the diets of freed slaves and dances with a barrier-breaking ballet prodigy.
In advance of the series premiere, NJ PBS General Manager Joe Lee hosted a free Table for All virtual meet and greet on Tuesday, May 10. Elegbede and producer Brian Riley shared their vision for the series and were joined by two Table for All guests – chef-owner of Maricel’s Kitchen, Maricel Gentile, and international business and civic leader Adam San Miguel. Watch the archived event here.
Promotional support for Table for All is provided by Edible Jersey.
Table for All Episode Descriptions (Content/dates subject to change)
Episode 1: The Underground Railroad/African Americans, Wednesday, May 11 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Host Buki Elegbede uncovers New Jersey’s African-American history and the state’s role in the underground railroad in Camden via authentic Black soul food at award-winning restaurant Corrine’s Place and with a visit to the Macedonia A.M.E. Church. In Jersey City, he discusses the diets of freed slaves and dances with a barrier-breaking ballet prodigy.
Episode 2: Cuba, Wednesday, May 18 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Take a tour of the Cuban community in New Jersey. Host Buki Elegbede travels to Jimenez Tobacco, a Cuban cigar speakeasy in Newark where a family has been rolling cigars for over 100 years; then heads to Union City’s “Havana on the Hudson” to learn the secret to the perfect Cubano sandwich at Cortaditos Café. He also speaks to an activist paving the way for the next generation of Cuban Americans and makes authentic dishes with a Cuban grandmother.
Episode 3: India, Wednesday, May 25 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Visit with New Jersey’s largest immigrant community as host Buki Elegbede shakes a tailfeather and learns traditional Bollywood style dance in Jersey City, then heads to a no-taste-buds-spared food tour of Little India. Next, it’s off to Edison to learn about traditional Indian cooking at Akbar Restaurant. Finally, Buki learns about India’s spring celebration of Holi.
Episode 4: Cory Booker & Native Americans, Wednesday, June 1 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Host Buki Elegbede sits down with Senator Cory Booker to discuss where our food comes from, food deserts and food insecurity, and the plight of Garden State farmers. Next, Buki visits the Ramapough Lenape tribe in Mahwah and joins them for a bonfire, cooks traditional Native American dishes and hears the harrowing stories behind them.
Episode 5: The Philippines, Wednesday, June 8 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Celebrate the Asian Heritage with two incredible cultures. Host Buki Elegbede first takes a self-defense class with a master of the Filipino martial art Pekiti Tirsia Kali. Then, Buki visits with two Filipino “godmothers” to create traditional Filipino meals, discuss anti-hate in New Jersey and prepares for a community gathering, then visits the New York Chinese Cultural Center to learn the traditional lion dance performed in parades across the world.
Episode 6: Fishing Moms and People with Disabilities, Wednesday, June 15 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Meet a mom and outdoors expert in Hackettstown who is teaching other moms and their kids how to fish and prepare delectable meals. Next, host Buki Elegbede visits Red Bank to see how the No Limits Cafe, which employs people with intellectual disabilities and churns out tasty treats daily. Lastly, Buki enjoys a traditional high tea service, all made by individuals with intellectual disabilities at the OASIS farm.
Episode 7: Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 22 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Host Buki Elegbede shoots hoops with an Afghan Basketball league in Paramus, then cooks with an Afghan refugee couple who escaped the war with their six children in Jersey City. Then meet veterans living in New Jersey reflecting on their time spent in Afghanistan.
Episode 8: Garden State Farmers, Wednesday, June 29 at 8 p.m. on NJ PBS
Host Buki Elegbede travels to Paterson to visit Deacon Willie Davis, a third-generation farmer and creator of the Green Acre Community Garden, a one-acre plot of land in the heart of the city that gives away free fresh produce and teaches residents the art of farming. Next, visit the Ironbound farm and learn about “closed loop” farming, and how hard cider is made.