Emeril John Lagasse (pronounced /ˈɛmərəl ləˈɡɑːsi/ em-ər-əl lə-gah-see; born October 15, 1959) is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author. A regional James Beard Award winner, he is perhaps most notable for his Food Network shows Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril as well as catchphrases such as “Kick it up a notch!” and “BAM!” The "Emeril Empire" of media, products and restaurants generates an estimated US$150 million annually in revenue.
Lagasse was born on October 15, 1959, in Fall River, Massachusetts to a Canadian Québécois father, John, and Portuguese mother, Hilda. He worked in a Portuguese bakery as a teenager where he discovered his talent for cooking and subsequently enrolled in a culinary arts program at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School. His talents as a drummer earned him a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music but he chose instead to attend Johnson & Wales Universityin hopes of becoming a chef. He met his first wife, Elizabeth Kief, while working at a restaurant called "Venus De Milo" to pay his way through school. He graduated from Johnson and Wales in 1978 and the school later awarded him an...