Emeril Lagasse talks food, milestones and Florida

Emeril Lagasse no longer has his restaurant at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel but that doesn’t mean the celebrity chef doesn’t still visit the area. Lagasse has a show, Emeril’s Florida, devoted to all things food related in the Sunshine State. He’ll be in Miami Beach for the South Beach Wine & Food Fest Friday night to host The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown presented by The Captain Morgan Rum Company.

So why is Florida spotlighted on your show?

I’ve been vacationing there ever since I moved to New Orleans about 30 years ago and I have 2 restaurants there. There is so much to offer for tourists and locals alike. The dining scene has really exploded and the agricultural and seafood offerings are some of the best around.

What has been one of your favorite stops so far?

You know, it’s really hard to choose. Every place I’ve featured on the show has been outstanding and has such character but one of the spots I discovered while filming Emeril’s Florida is Blue Moon Fish Company in Fort Lauderdale. It’s an awesome spot and being a fisherman, really fresh fish with a picturesque water view is hard to beat in my book.  

Your restaurant in New Orleans is celebrating 25 years in March. Are you going to throw a party?

Hard to believe. It’s a huge milestone and we will absolutely be celebrating. We are incredibly thankful to all our customers who have and continue to support us and what we love to do. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on the beginning and relook at some of the classic dishes…we keep growing and evolving.  

What is advice you could have given yourself 25 years ago that would have come in handy now?

I’ve always been a big believer that in order to be successful you have to really be passionate about what you’re doing. I still make sure that I believe in and are committed to projects that excite me.

You were a pioneer in the celebrity chef genre. Who are some of your current chefs that you watch on TV if any?

Truthfully I don’t watch much TV but I am amazed at how much food television there is today and it’s exciting to see that there is a true desire in viewers to watch it. So many chefs are raising the bar on teaching the American public how to cook and so many home cooks have reached new levels because of food programming.

 What are some upcoming food trends you see for 2015?

I’ve been seeing a lot of ramen popping up on menus and not just traditional ramen.

Are you looking forward to the SoBe fest? What makes it stand out from other fests around the country?

Absolutely, I’ve been involved with SOBEWFF since its inception and it’s something I love doing. Think about it, the country’s most talented chefs in the most vibrant and tropical city in the country, what’s not to love? This year I’ll be hosting Art of the Tiki; a cocktail showdown, where 8 of the best bartenders will compete with their cocktail creations, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what they whip up.

What is a typical day like for you?

There really is no typical day, I still travel quite a bit, especially to my restaurants throughout the country, so when I’m there I’m typically collaborating with the chefs on new ideas and I still like to get back in the kitchen. When I’m not traveling, I love being at home with my family.  

What other news do you have? 

I’m working on a new cookbook due to come out in the fall, Essential Emeril; it will highlight my top 100 favorite recipes of all time so it’s been a really meaningful project.