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Chef Emeril Lagasse

Celebrity Chef

Superchef Emeril Lagasse - who helped lure America back into the kitchen with his tantalizing fare and stylish preparation - steps out from behind the cooking counter and into the spotlight faster than you can say "Bam!" as he virtually stars as himself in the role of a gregarious host of a cable television cooking show.

Culinary Arts

Before he became a national television personality on the Food Network's "The Essence of Emeril" and "Emeril Live," Lagasse was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts. He set aside his early goals of becoming a musician to take command of an equally demanding career in the culinary arts at the renowned Johnson and Wales University, from which he received a doctorate degree. He worked at several excellent restaurants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia before he was brought south to New Orleans by the owners of the Big Easy's legendary restaurant, the Commander's Palace, where he remained executive chef for over seven years.

Lagasse eventually opened his own establishment, Emeril's Restaurant, in the chic warehouse district of New Orleans and later started his second, Nola Restaurant, in the historic French Quarter. His other restaurants include: Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas; Delmonico Restaurant and Bar in New Orleans' Garden District; Emeril's Restaurant Orlando; and his most recent, Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. Emeril's Restaurant was dubbed Restaurant of the Year by John Mariani in Esquire magazine in 1990 and recently earned the prestigious Ivy Award. In 1993, Lagasse was named Best Southeast Regional Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Nola was feted as Best New Restaurant in 1993 and Emeril's Fish House was honored as Best Restaurant in Las Vegas by Zagat.

Lagasse's two cable series reach millions of viewers daily. "The Essence of Emeril" was voted by Time as one of the top-10 television programs of 1996 while "Emeril Live" garnered a CableACE Award for Best Informational Series. His duties also include weekly Friday appearances on "Good Morning America" as a food correspondent as he shares recipes and anecdotes. In addition, Lagasse has authored "Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking," "Louisiana Real and Rustic," "Emeril's Creole Christmas," "Emeril's TV Dinners" and "Every Day's a Party," all of which have exceeded 2,000,000 in combined sales. His latest tome, "Prime Time Emeril," is due for publication in September.

Playing himself will afford Lagasse another creative outlet for his personality. "It shouldn't be too difficult," he says. "I play myself -- passionate about food, cooking and making it all fun. Life should be fun. This type of show hasn't been done before and I'm excited to see the outcome."

In whatever spare time he can find, Lagasse enjoys collecting wine and sometimes fantasizes of joining the PGA Tour in his latter years. His Website, Emerils.com, was launched in 1998 and draws over 300,000 viewers per month. Lagasse is married to his wife, Alden, and his birthday is October 15. NBC New Show Preview: http://www.emerils.com/emeril/preview.htm