Lagasse, Emeril 1959-
Lagasse, Emeril 1959-
(Emeril John Lagasse)
Born October 15, 1959, in Fall River, MA; son of Emeril (a textile worker) and Hilda (a homemaker) Lagasse; married; wife's name Elizabeth (a teacher; divorced); married Tari Hohn (a fashion designer), 1989 (divorced, 1996); married Alden Lovelace (a real estate broker), May 13, 2000; children: (first marriage) Jillian, Jessica; (third marriage) Meril (daughter), one son. Education: Johnson and Wales University culinary program, graduated 1978.
Office—Emeril's Homebase, Attn: Marketing/PR, 829 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130.
Chef and restaurateur. Commander's Palace, New Orleans, LA, executive chef, 1983-90; Good Morning America, food correspondent, 1998—; owner of restaurants, openings include Emeril's New Orleans, 1990, NOLA, New Orleans, 1992, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, Las Vegas, NV, 1995, Emer-il's Delmonico, New Orleans, 1998, Emeril's Orlando, Orlando, FL, 1999, Delmonico Steakhouse, Las Vegas, 1999, Emeril's Tchoup Chop, Orlando, 2002, Emeril's Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, 2003, and Emeril's Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL, 2003; host of Essence of Emeril, Food Network, 1994—, and Emeril Live, Food Network, 1997—. Founder, Emeril Lagasse Foundation.
Named Best Southeast Regional Chef, James Beard Foundation, 1991; named one of America's Top Twenty-five New Chefs, Food & Wine, 1991; selected for the American Express Fine Dining Hall of Fame, 1994; Cable Ace award for best informational series, 1997, for Emeril Live; named Chef of the Year, GQ, 1998; named one of the Most Intriguing People of the Year, People, 1998; Salute to Excellence award, National Restaurant Association, 1998; Grand Award, Wine Spectator, 1999; named Executive of the Year, Restaurants & Institutions, 2004; honorary doctorate, Johnson and Wales University; inducted into the Nation's Restaurant News MenuMasters Hall of Fame, 2006; also recipient of numerous other awards bestowed by restaurants.
(With Jessie Tirsch) Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking, photographs by Brian Smale, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Marcelle Bienvenu) Louisiana Real and Rustic, photographs by Brian Smale, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Marcelle Bienvenu) Emeril's Creole Christmas, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Mary-Jo Avellar) Provincetown Portuguese Cookbook: With Recipes from Provincetown's Finest Cooks and Restaurants and Featuring Recipes from the Kitchens of Molly O'Neill and Emeril Lagasse, foreword by Molly O'Neill, Blessing of the Fleet (Provincetown, MA), 1997.
(With Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett) Emeril's TV Dinners, photographs by Brian Smale, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett) Every Day's a Party: Louisiana Recipes for Celebrating with Family and Friends, photographs by Philip Gould, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1999.
Prime Time Emeril: More TV Dinners from America's Favorite Chef, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone (for children), illustrated by Charles Yuen, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.
From Emeril's Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emer-il's Restaurants, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
Emeril's Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Emeril's There's a Chef in My Family: Recipes to Get Everybody Cooking (for children), illustrated by Charles Yuen, photographs by Quentin Bacon, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Emeril's Delmonico: A New Orleans Restaurant with a Past, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.
Emeril's There's a Chef in My World: Recipes That Take You Places (for children), illustrated by Charles Yuen, photographs by Quentin Bacon, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.
Chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, home to many families of Portuguese extraction. His mother, Hilda, who is Portuguese, and his French-Canadian father, were working-class people. Hilda, who sometimes appears on Lagasse's cooking shows, loves cooking, and her son became fascinated with the culinary world from a young age. As a teen, he washed dishes in a Portuguese bakery but soon moved up to baking cakes and breads. A talented musician who plays several instruments, Lagasse rejected a scholarship to study at the New England Conservatory of Music and instead attended the culinary program at Johnson and Wales, from which he graduated in 1978. He learned classic techniques in France before returning to the United States to work in restaurants in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
Lagasse's big break came when Ella Brennan chose him to replace Paul Prudhomme as executive chef of the legendary Commander's Palace in New Orleans, Louisiana. There he experimented, incorporating various cooking styles, adding Portuguese, Southwestern, Asian, and Continental touches to the traditional Cajun and Creole recipes of the Big Easy. After seven years at Commander's Palace, Lagasse decided to venture out on his own. In 1990, after overcoming the difficulty of finding funding, he and a staff of faithful believers opened his flagship business, Emeril's Restaurant, in the New Orleans Warehouse District. Lagasse's hard work and perseverance paid off, and in 1992 he opened NOLA in the French Quarter. Other restaurants followed in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Nevada, Orlando, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami Beach.
Lagasse has a network of farmers, ranchers, and fisherman who provide him with top quality meat and seafood. Although all of his dishes could not be described as "heart healthy," he does incorporate organic ingredients. Through his viewer-and audience-friendly television programs produced by the Food Network, Lagasse's popularity has grown to the extent that the name Emeril is instantly recognizable. He and several other Food Network hosts approach good cooking as entertainment that should be fun and accessible to all. When he tells his audiences that he is going to "kick it up a notch," they clap as he tosses in his spicy "essence."
A number of cookbooks have collected the dishes of Lagasse. Half of the recipes in his first, Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking, come from the menu of his first restaurant and demonstrate how traditional New Orleans dishes can be enhanced by adaptations from other cuisines. Brian Smale, who provided the photography for this cookbook, also reviewed it in Restaurant Hospitality, calling it "superb."
Lagasse has written a number of cookbooks with Marcelle Bienvenu. The first of these is Louisiana Real and Rustic, in which they explore the history of Cajun and Creole cooking, offering recipes familiar to households in the backwoods and bayous of Louisiana, but which require ingredients more difficult to find in other areas of the country. Lagasse includes his own recipes for a spice rub, green jalapeno sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, as well as salads, main dishes, breads, and desserts. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described it as "authentic fare, delivered with irresistible conviction." Lagasse and Bienvenu then collaborated on Emeril's Creole Christmas, which features four holiday menus with all the Lagasse trimmings. The Christmas Eve Dinner for Ten includes a truffle risotto and beef tenderloin, while his New Year's Day Supper Family Style includes shrimp, duck, and bread pudding.
Emeril's TV Dinners includes recipes for dishes made on his Food Network shows. Lagasse collects meals that celebrate special events and the traditional holidays, as well as those exclusive to Louisiana, such as the Sugar Bowl, Jazz Fest, and Shrimp Festival, in Every Day's a Party: Louisiana Recipes for Celebrating with Family and Friends. Recipes are enhanced by Lagasse's personal notes, and the book contains photographs of family and friends. Additional recipes from his shows are collected in Prime Time Emeril: More TV Dinners from America's Favorite Chef.
Lagasse, whose foundation supports educational and other programs for children, wrote his first cookbook for young people with Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone. The book can be enjoyed by all ages, however, and includes such energetically titled items as My-Oh-My Spaghetti Pie, Ka-Bam Kabobs, Grill-It-Up-a-Notch Ham and Cheese Sandwich, Baby Bam Burgers, and Oh-Yeah-Baby Glazed Carrots. There are seventy-five recipes in all in this oversized volume. The chef instructs young readers in kitchen safety, too, and comments on equipment to accompany the recipes. Pictures of Lagasse consist of cartoon bodies topped with a photograph of his head. Booklist contributor Stephanie Zvirin noted that "Lagasse has done a good job of selecting foods kids like to eat and will have fun cooking." Lagasse continued his writings for children with Emeril's There's a Chef in My Family: Recipes to Get Everybody Cooking and Emeril's There's a Chef in My World: Recipes That Take You Places.
From Emeril's Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emeril's Restaurants is a collection of dishes from his restaurants, and his tenth book, Emeril's Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude includes recipes for casserole dishes and "Emerilized" versions of old favorites, such as macaroni and cheese, chicken pie, and tuna tetrazzini. Some are more unique, like his spinach enchiladas. Mark Knoblauch commented in Booklist: "Most recipes serve 8 to 12 easily, making this a great inspiration for party planners."
Cooking and history meet in Emeril's Delmonico: A New Orleans Restaurant with a Past, in which Lagasse writes of his French Quarter restaurant, which served guests for a century before he acquired it in 1997. He dedicates the book to the former owners and staff and includes photographs of historic menus, the restaurant in former days, and other memorabilia. The book contains a broad range of fare, from a section on cocktails, many of which list absinthe as an ingredient, to a chapter that focuses on oyster dishes, to recipes for hamburger buns and mayonnaise. "This is a nice melding of ideas and food present and past, classic and new," attested a Publishers Weekly contributor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Business Leader Profiles for Students, Volume 2, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Booklist, August, 1996, Mark Knoblauch, review of Louisiana Real and Rustic, p. 1871; November 15, 1999, Barbara Jacobs, review of Every Day's a Party: Louisiana Recipes for Celebrating with Family and Friends, p. 589; September 15, 2001, Mark Knoblauch, review of Prime Time Emeril: More TV Dinners from America's Favorite Chef, p. 176; May 1, 2002, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone, p. 1524; October 15, 2003, Mark Knoblauch, review of From Emeril's Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emeril's Restaurants, p. 378; September 1, 2004, Mark Knoblauch, review of Emeril's Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude, p. 36.
Child Life, September, 2002, review of Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup, p. 6.
Library Bookwatch, February, 2005, review of Emer-il's Potluck.
Library Journal, November 15, 1997, Judith C. Sutton, review of Emeril's Creole Christmas, p. 72; September 15, 1998, Judith C. Sutton, review of Emeril's TV Dinners, p. 107; October 15, 1999, Devon Thomas, review of Every Day's a Party, p. 98.
Nation's Restaurant News, May 24, 1993, Michael Schrader, review of Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking, p. 120.
People, November 30, 1998, review of Emeril's TV Dinners, p. 47.
Publishers Weekly, July 1, 1996, review of Louisiana Real and Rustic, p. 53; September 20, 1999, review of Every Day's a Party, p. 589; March 18, 2002, review of Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup, p. 105; September 15, 2003, review of From Emeril's Kitchens, p. 58; August 30, 2004, review of Emeril's Potluck, p. 46; August 8, 2005, review of Emeril's Delmonico: A New Orleans Restaurant with a Past, p. 230.
Restaurant Hospitality, June, 1993, Brian Smale, review of Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking, p. 44; November, 1996, review of Louisiana Real and Rustic, p. 47.
School Library Journal, July, 2004, Lauralyn Persson, review of Emeril's There's a Chef in My Family: Recipes to Get Everybody Cooking, p. 124.
Emeril Lagasse Home Page,http://www.emerils.com (July 18, 2006).