Cooking and Conversation with Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse on cooking up an empire from scratch
Celebrated chef EMERIL LAGASSE is a bona fide TV star, having hosted more than 2,000 shows on the Food Network and serving as the food correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America. He is also an expert chef and entrepreneur, having opened more than 20 restaurants across the United States. His restaurants consistently win critical praise and top ratings, and Lagasse himself has received accolades and awards for his culinary expertise.
In addition to being the famed chef-proprietor of celebrated restaurants, Lagasse has a booming merchandise business in partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and is the author of 19 New York Times bestselling cookbooks.
Lagasse has used his fame to build a strong, diversified business that will be self-sustainable for years to come. In his talks, Lagasse motivates business leaders and entrepreneurs to think bigger and get going. Audiences will walk away deeply inspired and ready to make change in their own lives.
Chef Emeril Lagasse received his first culinary experience from his mother, Hilda, when he was a boy growing up in the small town of Fall River, Mass. As a teenager, he worked at a Portuguese bakery where he mastered the art of bread and pastry baking. Upon high school graduation, Lagasse was offered a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music, but decided to pursue a career as a professional chef. He earned a degree from the respected culinary fortress, Johnson and Wales University, and later received an honorary doctorate degree from the university. Lagasse then traveled to Paris and Lyon, France, where he polished his skills and learned the art of classic French cuisine. Returning to the United States, Lagasse practiced his art in fine restaurants in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia before heading south to the Big Easy. Lured to New Orleans by Dick and Ella Brennan, Lagasse established his star at their legendary restaurant, Commander's Palace, where he was executive chef for seven and a half years.
Lagasse is now the chef-proprietor of 13 restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte, and Bethlehem, PA. The recognition and awards he has garnered have made him known to food-loving Americans everywhere. His restaurants consistently win critical praise and top ratings. Lagasse himself has also received accolades and awards for his culinary expertise.
As a national TV personality, he has hosted more than 2,000 shows on the Food Network, and is the food correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America. He is also the host of Fresh Food Fast and The Originals with Emeril, both airing on Cooking Channel. His latest TV show, Emeril’s Florida, premiered its second season in January 2014 on the Cooking Channel. Lagasse also joined the judges’ table on Top Chef: New Orleans—season 11 of Bravo’s hit food series, Top Chef, and will join TNT’s new reality cooking series, On the Menu, as Menu Master in fall of 2014. Lagasse is the author of 18 bestselling cookbooks including his first, Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking, which introduced his creative take on Creole cuisine.
In 2002, Lagasse established the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support children’s educational programs that inspire and mentor young people through the culinary arts, school food and nutrition, and important life skills programs. In March 2011, he dedicated the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Arts Studio, a four-year culinary arts program for high school students with master-apprentice curriculum, at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $5.5 million to children’s causes in New Orleans, Las Vegas, and on the Gulf Coast.
Lagasse’s restaurant company, Emeril's Homebase, is located in New Orleans and houses restaurant operations, a culinary test kitchen for cookbook and recipe development, and a boutique store for his signature products. Emeril Lagasse joined the Martha Stewart family of brands in 2008; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) acquired the assets related to Lagasse’s media and merchandising business, including television programming, cookbooks, the Emerils.com website, and his licensed kitchen and food products.