Chef Emeril Lagasse is a household name. From his television shows to his many restaurants across the country, almost everyone is familiar with his work. Chef Lagasse is known for his Creole and Cajun style cooking as well as his catchphrases, “Bam!” and “Kick it up a notch!” He was also awarded the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award in 2013.

We asked Chef Lagasse about his greatest culinary inspiration and what makes a great chef.

Bocuse d’Or USA: Why are you a part of the Bocuse d’Or USA?
Emeril Lagasse: It’s a great platform to support young American Chefs as well as promote the craft on an International level.

Bocuse d’Or USA: Why is the Bocuse d’Or competition important in the grander culinary world?
Emeril Lagasse: It’s a great platform to promote our craft and encourage healthy competition.

Bocuse d’Or USA: What does “American Cuisine” mean to you?
Emeril Lagasse: That’s a tricky one because American cuisine is so much a melting pot of other cuisines. It really can be anything you want it to be.

Bocuse d’Or USA: What makes a great chef?
Emeril Lagasse: A great chef is someone who is inspired by food who is constantly growing and learning from other chefs and cuisines.

Bocuse d’Or USA: What inspired you to start cooking?
Emeril Lagasse: My family really got me into cooking at a young age.

Bocuse d’Or USA: Who is your greatest culinary inspiration? Why?
Emeril Lagasse: Julia Child and how she made cooking approachable. She was a remarkable lady.

Bocuse d’Or USA: When did you open your first restaurant?
Emeril Lagasse:
March 1990 – Emeril’s New Orleans

Bocuse d’Or USA: How did you develop your personal cooking style?
Emeril Lagasse:Honestly, nowadays my kids are a huge influence on me and my cooking. Expanding their palates and teaching them about food is a huge inspiration.

Bocuse d’Or USA: How has your personal cooking style changed over the years?
Emeril Lagasse: It’s constantly changing depending on the season and what is currently inspiring me. It’s never stagnant.

Bocuse d’Or USA: What advice do you have for young chefs and restaurateurs who are just getting started?
Emeril Lagasse: Find a mentor who you can learn from and keep an open-mind. Learn from your mistakes.


Thank you to Chef Lagasse for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions. To learn more about him, check out