Emeril Lagasse is many things: a chef, an actor, a writer, an entrepreneur, but perhaps most of all he is a business man. His empire spans across all media outlets, including 15 restaurants, 15 cookbooks, over 2,000 shows on the Food Network, a radio program, a magazine column, and a children's culinary educational charity.
Born in Massachusetts to a Portuguese mother and a French Canadian father, Lagasse began baking early on at a Portuguese bakery. A talented percussionist, Lagasse was offered a full scholarship to the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, but he turned it down to attend Johnson and Wales University for a degree in the culinary arts. He then worked in a variety of restaurants in France, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, before taking his first step into stardom by replacing Paul Prudhomme at Commander's Palace in New Orleans.
Lagasse opened his first restaurant in 1990, Emeril's, to immediate critical acclaim. Two years later, Lagasse opened a second New Orleans restaurant, Nola, and by 1993 he had already published a popular cookbook, Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking. In that same year the newly-hatched Food Network approached him, but it wasn't until his third program attempt that Lagasse struck (more) gold with his series Essence of Emeril. As his restaurants increased in number across the country, so did his shows across networks, and his food products across restaurant aisles.
Lagasse opened e2 Emeril's Eatery in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2011, featuring his well-known specialties and local regional seafood favorites.
Culinary Style: New Orleans fusion
Restaurants: Emeril's New Orleans, NOLA Restaurant, Emeril's Delmonico, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, Delmonico Steakhouse, Table 10, Lagasse's Stadium, Emeril's Orlando, Emeril's Tchoup Chop, Emeril's Chop House, Emeril's Italian Table, Emeril's at MGM Grand, E2 Emeril's Eatery, E2Go, and BAM (Burgers and More)
DID YOU KNOW?
In May 2013, Legasse won the James Beard Award for "Humanitarian of the Year".