Acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Emeril Lagasse (1959-) was born on this day and grew up in the small port city of Fall River, Massachusetts. Of Portuguese and French Canadian descent, Lagasse credits his parents for his love of cooking and strong work ethic.
"We had little money, but we were rich in the things that mattered--a warm, loving family, lots of good times, and plenty of good food," he explained.
"If you understand people and understand their culture, then you can easily understand their food."
As a teenager, Lagasse worked as a bread and pastry baker, graduated from the prestigious Johnson and Wales University with a culinary degree and honed his craft in France, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia before settling in New Orleans, the perfect place to simmer his bold and spicy recipes, celebrations of Cajun/Creole cuisine.
"That's where I found my roots," he said. "I felt that here in New Orleans, this is really where I was born." His first Emeril's Restaurant opened there in 1990.
As the popular host of his own daily show Emeril Live on the Food Network, Master Chef Lagasse became known for adding passion and personality to his recipes, accompanied by a four-piece band.
"Iím all about surprising peopleís palates and exceeding their sensory expectations," said the charismatic Lagasse.
In 1998, he said: "I have 450 employees. I'm getting ready to add another 250 employees in the next year. I feel great. I'm healthy. And I'm having a blast. I can't wait for tomorrow."
More COOKING Quotations
"BAM! Kick it up a notch!"