When considering some of the best and most diverse chefs in America, Emeril Lagasse comes to mind.
His beautiful culinary creations inspired by French, Portuguese, Creole, and Cajun dishes are world-renowned. He has had the privilege of partaking in several TV shows and has written many popular cookbooks.
Emeril received many awards and honors and has several restaurants to his name. He was very talented and driven since a young age.
His passion for food is apparent by the number of resources and time he dedicates to creating new flavors and presenting various ingenious dishes.
Let’s take a look at Lagasse’s life and how he became one of the top chefs in USA.
His Early Life
Emeril Lagasse (full name Emeril John Lagasse III) was born on the 15th of October in 1959 in Massachusetts.
His family was from Quebec; therefore, they were French-Canadians. His father was Emeril John Lagassé Jr., and his mother was Hilda Medeiros, from Portugal.
As a teen, he started working at a bakery that had a Portuguese origin, and there he discovered his love for cooking. He enrolled at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s culinary arts program to improve his skills further.
Once he has graduated from high school, Lagasse received a full ride for the New England Conservatory of Music because he was a very talented percussionist.
However, he turned that down to study at Johnson & Wales University in 1978 to become a chef. A few decades later, he secured a doctorate from the same school.
The Start Of His Career
After receiving his degree, he wanted to expand his culinary knowledge, so he traveled to Lyon and Paris.
He started improving his skills and learning all there is to know about traditional French cuisine. He then returned to the US and practiced what he had learned in some of the finest restaurants in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.
He then got an offer from Ella and Dick Brennan to work for them in New Orleans, where he managed the kitchen for approximately eight years at Commander’s Palace, a well-known and established restaurant.
By 1990, Lagasse wanted to start his restaurant and opened Emeril’s Restaurant in New Orleans. In another district in 1992, he opened up the NOLA restaurant.
By 1995 he was motivated and well established, so he opened up Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel.
In 1998, he opened another restaurant in a different district of New Orleans called Emeril’s Delmonico. Furthermore, in 1999 he launched two more restaurants, one at the Venetian Resort called Delmonico Steakhouse and the other at Universal Studios called Emeril’s Orlando.
He then ventured Northeast and established Emeril’s Chop House in Pennsylvania at the Windcreek Bethlehem in 2009.
A few months later, ‘Lagasse’s Stadium’ also launched at the Palazzo as a sports entertainment and restaurant venue.
In the same year, he started his first burger venture called Burgers and More by Emeril in Pennsylvania at the Windcreek Bethlehem. Seven years later, he opened up his third restaurant at the same place called Emeril’s Fish house.
In 2016 he launched his new restaurant called Meril in New Orleans, and in 2017 he ventured to Florida’s Miramar Beach to open Emeril’s Coastal.
Currently, Lagasse owns ten restaurants combined in New Orleans, Pennsylvania, Miramar Beach, and Las Vegas.
Awards And Recognition
Emeril Lagasse can be considered the best chef in the USA and is neck and neck with some of the other renowned chefs of America such as Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali.
This title has not been given lightly, as his track record and achievements speak for themselves.
Without furder ado, here is a list of his most prominent accolades:
His restaurants win top ratings and praises from critics constantly. That is a testament to the years of experience and expertise he has garnered to be able to deliver food of the highest quality!
- Esquire Magazine: “Restaurant of the Year” – 1990 for Emeril’s Restaurant
- Esquire Magazine: “Best New Restaurant” – 1993 for NOLA
- Zagat: “Best Restaurant in Las Vegas” for Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House
- Las Vegas Life Magazine: “Best Steakhouse” for Delmonico Steakhouse
- Wine Spector: “Grand Award” – 2004-present for Delmonico Steakhouse and Emeril’s Restaurant
- Restaurants and Institutions Magazine: Ivy Award
Alongside being nationally recognized by Southern Living and Travel & Leisure magazines for his restaurants, Emeril Lagasse is known to have a varied and robust wine list in these restaurants.
As far as personal awards go, Emeril has been recognized by several credible sources, putting his name among not only the best chefs but the best people in history:
- Wine Spector: “Grand Award” – 1991
- The Beard Foundation: “Best Southeast Regional Chef” - 1991
- GQ Magazine: “Chef of the Year” – 1998
- People Magazine: he was one of the people in the “25 most intriguing people of the year” – 1999
- Restaurants and Institutions Magazine: “Executive of the Year” – 2004
- Wine Spectator: “Distinguished Service” award – 2005
- Nation’s Restaurant News: Inducted into the “MenuMasters Hall of Fame” – 2006
- New Orleans City Business: “Restauranteur of the Year” – 2007
- Futurama: Inspired a regularly appearing character named, Elzar, the four-armed chef
- Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival: “Lifetime Achievement Award” – 2009
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Became a part of “Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000” – 2012
- James Beard Foundation: “Humanitarian of the Year” – 2013
- Taste Awards: “Lifetime Achievement Award” – 2014
Lagasse on Television
He has been a host on various Food Network shows over 2000 times and is Good Morning America’s food correspondent.
His first show, The Essence of Emeril, aired in 1994 and was about the spices he has created, which he called his ‘essence.’ It mainly revolved around Creole and Cajun cuisine.
He also appeared on Top Chef many times and was regarded as an excellent, unbiased guest judge and was also a host along with a counterpart for “On The Menu,” a cooking series on TNT.
Lagasse now has his series on Amazon called: “Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse.”
Emeril has written nineteen cookbooks, most of which are bestsellers, just like the Julia Child cookbook.
His first book was called “Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking” in which he expressed his creative input on improving Creole dishes.
His last cookbook was published in 2015 and was named Essential Emeril: Favorite Recipes and Hard-Won Wisdom from My Life In the Kitchen.
The Emeril Lagasse Air Fryer
Lagasse has a line of kitchen products for cooking on a website called Emeril Everyday.
The Emeril Lagasse Air Fryer is famous and well-rated because it has several different functions in one small machine.
It has a rotisserie toaster, air fryer, bake, broiler, and dehydrator functions to make your life easier and help you create delicious dishes at the comfort of your home.
The Philanthropist, Author, TV Personality Chef- Emeril Lagasse
There is no denying that Emeril Lagasse can be considered the best chef in America. His rise to fame was natural, and his talent, skills, and perseverance have certainly paid as he is a celebrated chef who many aspiring chefs look up to.
Whether you want to learn Emeril Lagasse recipes, Julia child recipes, or Anthony Bourdain recipes, a Superprof tutor can guide you using their years’ worth of experience.
All you need is passion and the will to better yourself, and you can reach for the stars, much like Emeril Lagasse.