Emeril Lagasse is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality and cookbook author best known for his Food Network shows Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril as well as catchphrases such as "Kick it up a notch!" and "Bam!".
He joined the cooking reality competition Top Chef in 2011 as a judge.
As a boy, Emeril began bread and pastry making at a Portuguese bakery in his Fall River, Massachusetts, neighbourhood. Turning down a music scholarship to follow his culinary dream, Emeril worked his way through the Johnson and Wales University culinary program to earn a doctorate.
After school, Emeril turned his eye toward the classic cuisine of France. He polished his skills in Paris and Lyons before returning to the U.S., where he worked in several fine restaurants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
Building a reputation through his use of only the freshest products, he came to the attention of Ella Brennan, the doyenne of New Orleans's culinary community.
She persuaded 26-year-old Emeril to move to the Big Easy, where for nearly eight years he presided over Ella and Dick Brennan's legendary restaurant, Commander's Palace.
Emeril opened his own restaurant in 1990. From the day its doors opened, Emeril's Restaurant and its owner drew ecstatic praise.
Congratulations came not only from the local New Orleans gentry and the writers who prowl the region for culinary news, but also from such national magazines as Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure, as well as from such noted food critics as John Mariani and Gene Bourg.
Following the success of Emeril's Restaurant, Emeril opened multiple establishments including three in New Orleans (Emeril's, NOLA and Emeril's Delmonico); four in Las Vegas (Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, Delmonico Steakhouse, Table 10 and Lagasse's Stadium); two in Orlando (Emeril's Orlando and Tchoup Chop); three at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania (Emeril's Italian Table, Emeril's Chop House and Burgers And More by Emeril), and e2 Emeril's Eatery in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As a national TV personality, he has hosted over 2,000 shows on the Food Network, and is the food correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America. He is also the host of Fresh Food Fast and The Originals with Emeril, both appearing on Cooking Channel.
Lagasse is the best-selling author of numerous cookbooks including Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking, which introduced his creative take on Creole cuisine. His 17th book, Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches, debuted in October 2012.
In 2002, Emeril established the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support children's educational programs that inspire and mentor young people through the culinary arts, nutrition, healthy eating, and important life skills.
Lagasse's restaurant company, Emeril's Homebase, is located in New Orleans and houses culinary operations, a test kitchen for recipe development, and a boutique store for his signature products.
Emeril Lagasse joined the Martha Stewart family of brands in 2008; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia acquired the assets related to Emeril's media and merchandising business, including television programming, cookbooks, and emerils.com website and his licensed kitchen and food products.
Emeril lives with his wife Alden, son Emeril, Jr. and daughter Meril.