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Chef Emeril Lagasse received his first culinary experience from his mother, Hilda, when he was a boy growing up in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts. As a teenager, he worked at a Portuguese bakery where he mastered the art of bread and pastry baking. Upon high school graduation, Lagasse was offered a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music, but decided to pursue a career as a professional chef. He earned a degree from the respected culinary fortress, Johnson and Wales University, and later received an honorary Doctorate degree from the university. Lagasse then traveled to Paris and Lyon where he polished his skills and learned the art of classic French cuisine. Returning to the United States, Lagasse practiced his art in fine restaurants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia before heading south to the Big Easy. Lured to New Orleans by Dick and Ella Brennan, Lagasse established his star at their legendary restaurant, Commander's Palace, where he was executive chef for seven and a half years.
Lagasse is now the chef-proprietor of nine restaurants including three in New Orleans, two in Las Vegas, two in Orlando, one in Atlanta and one in Miami. In 1990, Chef Emeril opened Emeril’s Restaurant in the chic Warehouse District in downtown New Orleans. Two years later, he opened Nola Restaurant in the French Quarter. In 1995, Emeril brought his “New New Orleans” cooking to Las Vegas and opened Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, located in the monumental MGM Grand Hotel. In 1998, Lagasse opened Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans’ historic Garden District. He opened two restaurants in 1999 – in February, he headed down to Florida to open Emeril’s Orlando at Universal Studios City Walk and in May, he opened Delmonico Steakhouse is in the Venetian Resort/Hotel/Casino. In January 2003, he opened Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (pronounced chop-chop) at Universal Orlando’s Royal Pacific Resort. Emeril’s Atlanta opened in August 2003 at One Alliance Center in the Buckhead neighborhood in Atlanta, GA. Emeril’s Miami Beach opened its doors in November 2003 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
The recognition and awards he has garnered have made him known to food-loving Americans everywhere. His restaurants consistently win critical praise and top ratings. Emeril's Restaurant was dubbed "Restaurant of the Year" by John Mariani in Esquire magazine in 1990 and received the coveted Wine Spectator "Grand Award" in 1991. Also in 1991, Lagasse was named "Best Southeast Regional Chef" by the James Beard Foundation. Most recently, Emeril's Restaurant earned the prestigious Ivy Award. Nola has achieved the status of "Best New Restaurant" by Esquire magazine in 1993 and has been recognized nationally by Travel & Leisure, Traveler and Southern Living magazines. His third restaurant, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House was named "Best Restaurant in Las Vegas" by Zagat. In 2002, Delmonico Steakhouse was named "Best Steakhouse" by Las Vegas Life magazine. In 2004, Delmonico Steakhouse received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. Lagasse himself has also received accolades and awards for his culinary expertise. In 1991, Lagasse was named "Best Southeast Regional Chef" by the James Beard Foundation. In 1998 he was chosen as "Chef of the Year" by GQ magazine. In 1999, he was named one of People magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year." In 2004, he was chosen as “Executive of the Year” by Restaurants & Institutions magazine.
Chef Emeril Lagasse is a national TV personality. Lagasse joined the Food Network in 1993 and celebrated his 1000th show with the network in 2001. He is the host of both "The Essence of Emeril" and "Emeril Live", which reaches over 78 million homes daily. The former has been nominated for Emmy Awards in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and was voted by Time magazine as one of the "Top 10 TV Shows" during 1996. The latter has won a Cable Ace Award for "Best Informational Series." Chef Emeril is also the food correspondent for "Good Morning America" and appears on Friday mornings.
Lagasse is also a best-selling author. In 1993 he published the best-selling cookbook Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking, which introduced his creative approach to Creole cuisine. Nine other books have followed including Louisiana Real and Rustic, Emeril’s Creole Christmas, Emeril’s TV Dinners, Every Day’s A Party, Prime Time Emeril, Emeril’s There’s A Chef in My Soup, From Emeril’s Kitchens, his second children’s cookbook, Emeril’s There’s A Chef in My Family and Emeril’s Potluck. His eleventh book, Emeril’s Delmonico will debut in October 2005. As of July 2003, 3.5 million copies of Lagasse’s books have been sold.
In September 2002, Emeril established the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support and encourage programs creating developmental and educational opportunities for children. Lagasse's corporate office, Emeril's Homebase, is located in New Orleans. Emeril's Homebase houses Lagasse's restaurant operations, as well as cookbook and recipe development and testing, product shipping, the emerils.com website, and a store front for Lagasse's signature products.
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