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. 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 ten restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami, and Gulfport, MS. 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. Most recently, Emeril's Restaurant earned the prestigious Ivy Award. 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 2006, he was inducted into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame by
Nation’s Restaurant News.
Chef Emeril Lagasse is a national TV personality. Lagasse joined the Food Network in 1993 and has hosted over 1600 shows on the network which reaches more than 85 million homes daily. He is the host of the "Essence of Emeril" and "Emeril Live" which is now in syndication.
Lagasse is the best-selling author of twelve cookbooks including Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking which introduced his creative take on Creole cuisine, and Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My World, a children’s cookbook. As of 2005, 4.2 million copies of Lagasse’s books have been sold.
Lagasse's corporate office, Emeril's Homebase, is located in New Orleans and houses restaurant operations, a culinary test kitchen for cookbook and recipe development, the emerils.com website, and a boutique store for his signature products.