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Emeril John Lagasse (born October 15, 1959) is an Americanmarker celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author. A regional James Beard Award winner, he is perhaps most notable for his Food Network shows Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril as well as catchphrases such as “Kick it up a notch!” and “BAM!” He is a 1978 graduate of Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts. The "Emeril Empire" of media, products and restaurants generates an estimated US$150 million annually in revenue.

Biography

Born October 15, 1959, in the city of Fall River, Massachusettsmarker, he was raised by his French-Canadian father, Emeril Jr., and his Portuguese mother, Hilda. While working at a local Portuguese bakery, the teenaged Lagasse developed a penchant for cooking. In 1973, he enrolled in the culinary arts program at Diman Vocational High School. Also a talented percussionist, Lagasse led the high school drum squad, playing at dances, banquets, and numerous local religious festivals.

Upon his high school graduation, Lagasse was offered a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Musicmarker, but decided to pursue a career as a professional chef. He spent the next year training at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. In order to pay his tuition, Lagasse took a job at a local restaurant, where he met fellow student Elizabeth Kief. The two married in October 1978, a few months after Lagasse completed his course work. Lagasse polished his skills in Paris and Lyon, France, before returning to the United States, where he spent the next few years working in fine restaurants throughout the Northeast and at Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wisconsin for Tony Wise. He graduated from Johnson and Wales in 1978 and the school later awarded him an honorary doctorate.

In 1982, Lagasse replaced Paul Prudhomme as executive chef of the famed New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace. This demanding position, which required Lagasse to work 18 hours a day, put a strain on his marriage.

Career

Lagasse initially gained fame in the culinary world as executive chef of Commander’s Palace. After leaving Commander’s he opened his first restaurant, Emeril’s, in New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker, in 1990. It was designated “Restaurant of the Year” in Esquire magazine of that year. Lagasse is mainly known for his emphasis on Creole and Cajun cooking styles. Indeed, many of his restaurants, as well as his corporate office, Emeril’s Homebase, are located in New Orleans. Lagasse is the executive chef and proprietor of ten restaurants.

In April 2008, Emeril closed the doors on Emeril’s Atlanta, which had been open since 2003. Emeril’s Atlanta has been the only Emeril’s restaurant to close.

In May 2009, during preparations for the opening of Emeril's Chop House at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehemmarker, Emeril announced that he has plans to open two more restaurants in the resort - the first of which will open in November 2009 and will focus on gourmet burgers.

Television

Emeril first appeared on television on the television show Great Chefs where he was featured on no fewer than ten episodes including Great Chefs, the Louisiana New Garde, New Orleans Jazz Brunch and Great Chefs - Great Cities. After several appearances on several other FoodTV programs, Lagasse hosted his own show, The Essence of Emeril. “Essence” in the title refers to Emeril’s Essence, the name of a spice blend of his own concoction that he frequently uses in his cooking, and which is commercially available in several flavors. He also often suggested that viewers of his show create their own spice blends that reflect their personal tastes and be unafraid to use them to customize the dishes he would teach. Lagasse has been nominated eight times for a Daytime Emmy Award for his Food Network shows without winning. On November 27, 2007 The Food Network announced that it would be canceling the “Emeril Live” show on December 11, 2007. The Food Network, however, stated that Essence of Emeril will continue production.

Lagasse briefly starred in a self-titled TV sitcom on NBC during the fall 2001 season with Robert Urich, but it was canceled after several episodes and widely panned by critics. Lagasse also appeared on Shop at Home Network (which, like Food Network, was owned by Scripps Networks), on the show From Emeril's Kitchen from 2005-06. The program was discontinued after Scripps liquidated Shop at Home’s assets to Jewelry Television in June 2006. Lagasse has appeared on the Home Shopping Network for the channel’s 30th anniversary.

On television, Lagasse is known for his light and jovial hosting style as well as several catchphrases, including “BAM!” , “kick it up a notch,” “aw, yeah, babe” and “feel the love,” usually said before or after adding something spicy to a dish, or after the reaction to adding something, respectively. When frying or making dishes like sausage, Lagasse advocates using genuine lard, boasting, “Pork fat rules!” This style developed fully and Lagasse became more comfortable when a live studio audience was added in the change from Essence of Emeril to Emeril Live.

Emeril Lagasse also acted as Grand Marshall of the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade and presided over the nationally telecast coin-toss before the game wearing a business suit—a rarity for Lagasse who is normally attired in chef’s garb.

Lagasse is currently hosting his new daily series Emeril Green that airs on Discovery Channel’s new eco-lifestyle network Planet Green. Emeril Green is filmed on location at Whole Foods Markets across the United Statesmarker.

Emeril made a guest appearance on Jon & Kate Plus 8 during the show's 5th season to help celebrate their 100th episode, in May 2009.

In November 2009, Lagasse announced that he is planning a new cooking show featuring him that he hopes will be featured on network prime time television.

Lagasse also teamed with fellow Food Network personality Mario Batali in a tag battle against Bobby Flay and White Housemarker executive chef Cristeta Comerford on an episode of Iron Chef America which is set to air on January 3, 2010.

Contribution to Space Exploration

In August 2006, Lagasse contributed several recipes to the meal selection aboard the International Space Station, as part of a general NASA effort to improve the quality of the food supply for astronauts. Lagasse’s cuisine in particular was selected in the hopes that the spicier fare would offset the reported tendency of microgravity to deaden flavors.

Cuisine

Lagasse calls his cuisine “New New Orleans.” He describes it as using local (Louisianamarker) ingredients in new and different ways. It should be noted, however, that the styles of cuisine from Lagasse’s many restaurants vary a great deal. Tchoup-Chop in Orlandomarker is “Pan-Asian” while Delmonico at The Venetianmarker in Las Vegasmarker is a steakhouse with a Southern flair.

Merchandising and endorsements

Lagasse has a wide range of Emeril-branded products. On June 8, 2000, he signed a deal with B&G Foods to create a line of dry grocery products marketed under the label Emeril's. The product line includes pasta sauces, marinades, salsas and Lagasses' signature "Essence" spice blend. He followed this up in 2004 by lending his name to a line of fresh produce made by Pride of San Juan. The products, branded "Emeril's Gourmet Produce" include spring mix salad blends, fresh herbs and heirloom tomatoes.

Lagasse also has two lines of kitchen knives produced by Wüsthof and cookware made by All-Clad as well as a line of kitchen electrical appliances made by T-Fal.

Recently he has appeared in Crest toothpaste commercials yelling his trademark catchphrase, "BAM!".

On February 19, 2008, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced it had acquired the rights to all Emeril products including cookware, cookbooks, television shows and food products in a $50 million agreement. Lagasse retains rights to his restaurants and corporate offices.

Currently he is hosting a YouTube contest for Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste called What's Your Catch Phrase?

Writing

Lagasse has written several best-selling cookbooks, from Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking, his first book which was published in 1993, to Emeril's Delmonico, published in 2005.

  • Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking (1993)
  • Louisiana Real and Rustic (1996)
  • Emeril’s Creole Christmas (1997)
  • Emeril’s TV Dinners (1998)
  • Every Day’s a Party (1999)
  • Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup!: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone (2002)
  • From Emeril's Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emeril's Restaurants (2003)
  • Emeril's Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude (2004)
  • Emeril's Delmonico: A Restaurant with a Past (2005)
  • Emeril at the Grill: A Grilling Book for all Seasons (2009)
  • Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast (2009)


Restaurants

Emeril Lagasse has his own chain of restaurants across the country. These are:

Florida

Orlandomarker

  • Emeril's Orlando
  • Emeril's Tchoup Chop


Miami Beachmarker

  • Emeril's Miami Beach


Louisiana

New Orleansmarker

  • Emeril's New Orleans
  • NOLA Restaurant
  • Emeril's Delmonico


Mississippi

Gulfportmarker



Nevada

Las Vegasmarker



Pennsylvania

Bethlehemmarker



Notes

  1. http://www.accessatlanta.com/restaurants/content/restaurants/stories/2008/04/21/emeril_0421.html
  2. Emeril's trademark catchphrase began simply as a means of keeping his studio crew awake. When Emeril first began at Food Network, he would tape seven shows a day, from seven in the morning until two in the afternoon. He would frequently pepper his dialogue with "BAMS!" to keep his crew in the studio awake, focused, and on their toes. The phrase soon proved a hit with viewers ... and a catchphrase was born.
  3. {{ cite news |author=Fazan, Sarina |title=Chef Emeril dishes major scoop |url=http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/local/story/Chef-Emeril-dishes-major-scoop/9NiVR5fXQk2KtbG7YptEmQ.cspx |work=ABC |date=November 8, 2009
  4. "Station Crew ‘Kicks it Up a Notch’ with Chef Emeril Lagasse." NASA press release. August 10, 2006. Accessed June 20, 2007.


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