A Conversation with Emeril Lagasse

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A Conversation with Emeril Lagasse. The super chef shares his thoughts on cooking and some terrific Emerilized recipes.

Only the few, the elite, the extra special are known by only one name. Enter the sometimes extreme, always charming, culinary king, Emeril. The one man that dared to take a stand, and now stands alone at the head of the pack forging a path to share his knowledge of cooking.

Emeril took time to talk with Fabulous Foods from Louisiana . Since the first time that I talked with him about a year ago, he has reached yet another pinnacle - that of "Food Correspondent" for ABC News' Good Morning America. Lagasse will feature his culinary techniques on GMA every THURSDAY morning. This classically-trained chef will offer a broad range of information on food, shopping, cooking and entertaining. He will also showcase the finest dishes from regions around the country.

A Few moments with Emeril:

Fab Foods: Where did you grow up?
Emeril: I grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts. My background was modest and I worked at a Portuguese bakery in town.

Fab Foods:
I read in your bio that you turned down a music scholarship to work your way through the culinary program at the University.
Emeril: That's true. If you don't follow your dream, who will. Life just doesn't hand you things. You have to get out there and make things happen....that's the exciting part. When you reach the level of accomplishment you have been striving for and then take it one step further.

Fab Foods: How did Louisiana become home for you?
Emeril: Well the story is long but to put it in capsule form, I moved to Louisiana to become the executive Chef at Commander's Place. And I must say I had some encouragement from friends such as Ella Brennan, the queen of the New Orleans's culinary set and others. This was very flattering to a young man with a dream. I was only 26 years old. I guess I feel that I was following my instincts and at the same time being guided by the best. I became totally intrigued with Louisiana, the people the food. It is a part of my life. Everything that has happened for me since moving here has just been icing on the cake.

Fab Foods: What has made you so popular?
Emeril: As far as a chef, I am committed to using only the finest and freshest products. People have come to expect that and I will never let them down.

Fab Foods: Describe your food.
Emeril: New New Orleans cuisine. Real New Orleans cooking, with a flair. I don't limit myself.

Fab Foods: How does is feel to have the highest rated cooking show ("The Essence of Emeril"), on the TV Food Network?
Emeril: Great! I love to teach and I am thrilled that so many people want to learn from me. My job is really an art form. I must say I still am shocked at how many people, regardless of their age, want to learn to cook. T.V. has added so much for me. It has added such a dimension for me, it is wonderful.

Fab Foods: I loved the introduction to "Louisiana Real & Rustic." You gave so much information about the people and histories of the different foods and how they relate to different areas. It was like reading from your personal journal.
Emeril: I respect the people of Louisiana and I find that many people seem to simplify their cooking in to one category, Cajun/New Orleans style etc. and let it go with that. Well, let me tell you there is more to it. There are different regions, styles and legacies that go on for generations. I want people to know about that. I want people to know that the word "Creole" has many different meanings, and the difference between Creole and Acadian cooking. As you can tell I am passionate about the Louisiana that I love. I guess you could say I am restoring and preserving the past and sharing the future.

Fab Foods: If you had one thing to say to people about cooking, what would it be?
Emeril: Enjoy, have fun! Remember...flavor!

In between her busy schedule writing travel stories, Victoria Forrest writes a monthly syndicated entertainment column and features here at FabulousFoods.com.