Emeril Lagasse – Jollity in Chef Pants
Emeril Lagasse is one of America’s most celebrated celebrity chefs. Born on October 15, 1959 in Fall River Massachusetts, Emeril was raised by his Portuguese mother Hilda and his French Canadian father Emeril. He worked as a teenager in uniform work shirts in a local Portuguese bakery where he developed his life-long interest in cooking. At fourteen he enrolled in a culinary arts program at a local vocational high school, where he also played drums in the school band and played in a band at dances and parties. Upon graduating high school Emeril was offered a music scholarship to New England’s Conservatory of Music, but he decided instead to pursue a chef’s career by enrolling at the college of culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence. To help pay his tuition he worked at a local restaurant, where he met his future wife Elizabeth Kief. Over the next five years the couple had two children, Jessica and Jillian. Shortly after graduating college in 1978, the couple married and Emeril traveled to France in order to polish his skills.
Upon returning to the United States Emeril worked for several years in chef pants in some fine restaurants in the Northeast, and also Wisconsin’s Telemark Lodge under Tony Wise. In 1982 he was appointed executive chef at New Orleans’ famed Commander’s Palace restaurant. The demands of his job, which required Emeril to put in 18 hour days, strained his marriage and led to divorce. But it was at Commander’s Palace that Emeril began to achieve national fame, which led to his opening his own New Orleans restaurant – Emeril’s – in 1990, which emphasized Cajun and Creole cuisine. In its first year Emeril’s restaurant won Esquire magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year” award. Over the next eighteen years Emeril opened thirteen more restaurants.
Emeril began his television career on the show Great Chefs, where he appeared on ten episodes. After appearing on several other shows on FoodTV, Emeril began his own program, The Essence of Emeril. The essence in the show’s title refers to the name of a blend of spices which he employs frequently in his cooking, and which is available commercially in several different flavors. One of Emeril’s teachings is that all cooks should create spice blends for themselves, which reflect their own personal taste, to customize recipes. Emeril has been nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards eight times, but has not yet won. Emeril’s popularity as a television personality is due to his jovial style of hosting, as well as his famous catch phrases such as “feel the love”, “Bam”, and “kick it up a notch” which he usually says when he adds something spicy to a recipe. He exalts in using lard to fry or make sausage, with the war cry “Pork fat rules!” Emeril’s lively style in front of a studio audience led to his starring briefly in an NBC sitcom in 2001, but the show was canceled after only a few episodes. Emeril was the Grand Marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2008, dressed in a business suit – a rarity for him since his trademark uniform is chef’s white aprons. Emeril’s latest project is a daily Discovery Channel series Emeril Green, which airs on the Planet Green network.