Biography of Emeril Lagasse
Master chef, acclaimed restaurateur and bestselling cookbook author are just a few of the ingredients of Emeril Lagasse’s stardom. He’s the chef and proprietor over ten restaurants spanning New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami and Gulfport.
Highly recognized for his expertise in the kitchen Emeril has won top recognition from food critics, magazines and business organizations alike. His restaurants have been awarded “Restaurant of the Year” by John Mariani in Esquire Magazine, the Ivy Award, and “Best Restaurant in Las Vegas” by Zagat, amongst others.
Emeril himself has received accolades such as “Best Southeast Regional Chef” by the James Beard Foundation, “Chef of the Year” by GQ Magazine and “Executive of the Year” by Restaurants and Institutions Magazine.
It is estimated that his empire generates US$150 million annually in revenue.
Emeril was born October 15, 1959 in Fall River, Massachusetts to his French-Canadian father, Emeril Jr., and his Portuguese mother, Hilda. Emeril began working in a Portuguese bakery where he developed and perfected skills in bread and pastry baking during his teen years. In high school he delved into music taking part in various dances and banquets as a percussionist. Forfeiting a music scholarship Emeril enrolled in Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island and graduated in 1978 with an honorary Doctorate degree.
Emeril honed his culinary skills in Paris and Lyon in France and returned to the United States to practice what he had learnt. He worked in fine restaurants in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans where he spent seven years as executive chef for Commander’s Palace.
Emeril the Restaurateur
Emeril replaced Paul Prudhomme in 1982 when he assumed the position at Commander’s and started to gain recognition in the culinary world. He subsequently opened his first restaurant Emeril’s in downtown New Orleans in 1990 and won Esquire magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year” in the same year. NOLA Restaurant located in the French Quarter followed in 1992; Nola was praised by Esquire as “Best New Restaurant” in 1993. Three years following the opening of NOLA Emeril brought Las Vegas its own Emeril restaurant named Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House.
Emeril’s restaurant business quickly grew and so did his Creole and Cajun type dishes. In 1998, Emeril opened another New Orleans based restaurant Emeril’s Delmonico in the Garden District. Two more restaurants followed in 1999, Emeril’s Orlando at Universal Studios City Walk and Delmonico Steakhouse named “Best Steakhouse” by Las Vegas Life magazine. Tchoup Chop followed in 2003 along with Emeril’s Miami Beach in Miami. Between 2007 and 2009 Emeril added Emeril’s Gulf Coast Fish House, Table 10 and Emeril’s Chop House to his restaurant chain.
Emeril: TV Personality and Author
Emeril is a prime presence on the Food Network having hosted over 1500 shows. His television debut was on the show Great Chefs. He then went on to create his own show The Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live which as cancelled in 2007. He has received eight Daytime Emmy nominations for his Food Network Shows. Emeril appeared on Shop at Home Network and the show From Emeril’s Kitchen which ran from 2005 to 2006. Emeril newest series Emeril Green is aired on Planet Green.
Emeril has thirteen bestselling cookbooks including Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking his first book which was published in 1993, Emeril’s Creole Christmas (1997) and Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My Soup!: Recipes for the Kid in Everyone (2002)
Emeril married his schoolmate Elizabeth Kief in October 1978, but the couple divorced in 1986. They have two children