New Orleans favorite Emeril Lagasse will be honored with the James Beard Humanitarian Award this May, thanks to his work wtih the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the James Beard Foundation announced today.
Lagasse will be honored along with nonagenarian Cecilia Chiang (who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award) on Monday, May 6. Other nominees will be announced later in March.
The Foundation, which supports opportunities and organizations catered to disadvantaged children, has reportedly given $5.3 million to children's education and culinary programs. "Over 10 years ago, I founded the Emeril Lagasse Foundation with the hope of giving back by exposing young people to the culinary arts — especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds," Lagasse said in a press release.
Furthermore, the Foundation has created a culinary arts program, offering high school students a four-year culinary arts program in partnership with Johnson & Wales University.
"Since Emeril entered the culinary scene more than 20 years ago, he’s become one of America’s best-known chef personalities," James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro said, “But what truly sets Emeril apart is his passionate advocacy for youth. Through his own foundation, Emeril makes an incredible impact in communities where his restaurants operate by supporting key educational initiatives and culinary arts programs that create opportunities for children in need."
Past Humanitarian winners include Charlie Trotter, Gael Greene, Danny Meyer, Wolfgang Puck, Rick Bayless, and Alice Waters.