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WTVC Exclusive: Emeril Legasse

This week I was lucky enough to attend a luncheon and interview session with super star chef Emeril Legasse.  Chef was in town plugging both his new TV show Emeril’s Table and also his newest cookbook Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders.

The event was sponsored by Page & Palette and featured a menu of recipes from Emeril’s new book as prepared by the staff at The Wash House.  The menu included Chicken Pot Pie w/ Biscuit top, Mussels in a green curry, Pozole, Grits & Grillades and Key Lime Bread Pudding.  While everything was good, the mussels and Pozole were easily the best dishes.  The interview was conducted by good friend and Mobile Press Register food editor David Holloway. However, I was able to ask one question.

ME: Chef, when you first came to New Orleans you were replacing one of the nation’s great chefs in Paul Prudhomme at one of America’s most historic Emeril Legasserestaurants, Commander’s Palace.  Can you speak to what it was like taking the helm of such an important restaurant?

Emeril:  Well, and thank you for mentioning Chef Paul.  That guy is one of the real greats.  It was an honor to follow him at what is one of the truly great American restaurants.  When I took over at Commander’s I wanted to subtly make changes.  I wanted to maintain the standard already set by Chef Paul and the Brennan family but at the same time start slipping in dishes that were my own and that reflected my interpretation of Louisiana cooking.

In the kitchen, I was kind of like the coach of a football team.  If I called play 61 you don’t run play 62.  You run the play I called.  That’s how I was, I showed the way I wanted things to be done and I expected them to be done that way.  And we were making everything from scratch and by everything I mean even ketchup and mayonnaise and even Worcestershire Sauce.

I wanted everything done right and I was not tolerant of things not being done right.  When I first started I had a staff of 19, after a rough couple of days dealing with attitudes I fired nine people in one night.  Nine out of 19.  It was tough the next couple of days but I replaced them and we moved on.

 

See, I only needed the one question.  Chef also announced that he was about to open another new restaurant in Charlotte but I’m not sure of the name or the cuisine.  I got some footage of the event including some of David’s interview with Emeril.  Watch it:

The Pioneer Woman Moves from Blogosphere to TV

From the Food Network:

BLOGGING SUPERSTAR AND ACCIDENTAL ‘PIONEER WOMAN’ REE DRUMMOND RUSTLES UP NEW FOOD NETWORK SERIES

NEW YORK – July 19th, 2011 – Award-winning blogger and best-selling cookbook author Ree Drummond brings her signature wit and down-home recipes to an all-new Food Network series. Shot on location at her family’s picturesque Oklahoma ranch, The Pioneer Woman premieres Saturday, August 27th at 11:30AM ET/PT,serving up a slice of frontier life along with the “accidental country girl’s” step-by-step recipes for creating wholesome, hearty family meals and elegant menus for entertaining. Before the on-air premiere, fans will have a chance to get a sneak peek of footage from the premiere episode beginning Monday, August 22th at 9am ET on www.foodnetwork.com/pioneerwoman.

Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman“Ree’s easy-going humor and down-to-earth approach to food and life have won her millions of devoted fans online,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Programming and Production for Food Network. “In her new series, she’ll welcome us onto the ranch and into her home to share her secrets for turning simple variations on traditional American fare into memorable mealtimes for family and friends.”

Over the past five years, Drummond has chronicled her life as a city-gal-turned-rancher’s-wife on her phenomenally popular food and lifestyle blog, ‘The Pioneer Woman’. With her new Food Network series, Reeinvites viewers home to the range to watch and learn as she flips Lemon Blueberry Pancakes for son Todd’s birthday breakfast, achieves a Perfect Pot Roast for Sunday family dinner, and serves up Fig, Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza and Sangria for ladies night in. In between culinary conquests, Ree takes time to wrangle horses, compete in a shooting contest with her husband Ladd (aka “The Marlboro Man”), have fun with her four adorable kids and try to keep Charlie the basset hound out of trouble.

Ree Drummond is a writer, photographer, ranch wife and mother of four. Her blog, ThePioneerWoman.com, attracts over 20 million page views per month and was named Weblog of the Year at the 2011, 2010, and 2009 Bloggie Awards. Drummond is also the author of the #1 best-selling cookbook “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl” and the 2011 memoir “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story,” which opened at #2 on The New York Times Best Seller list for nonfiction hardcover. Ree’s children’s picture book, “Charlie the Ranch Dog,” which chronicles the adventures of her much-beloved Basset Hound, also premiered at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. Drummond has appeared on numerous national talk shows including “Good Morning America,” “TODAY,” “The View” and “Fox & Friends.”

For more information, videos and recipes visit www.foodnetwork.com/pioneerwoman and checkout Ree’s blog.

Review: Master Chef Cookbook

MasterChef CookbookThe hot-off-the-presses MasterChef Cookbook is striking the first time you look at it.  It’s satiny metallic cover embossed with the MasterChef logo is almost intimidating.  Looking at it I was left with the impression that it might open up at any moment to reveal a bright red spandex suit that would give me super powers.

The book contains recipes from each of the 14 finalists plus a contributions from hosts Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot Bowles.  Glaringly absent from the book is Chef Gordon Ramsey but honestly if you wanted a cookbook by Gordon he’s already written over a dozen.  However, if you saw a recipe on MasterChef that you just really loved then this is the book for you.

Within its 272 pages you’ll find 75 recipes and a 150 photographs making it first rate food porn.  Additionally you’ll find an essay by Bastianich entitled “Wine Notes.”  The chefs of the MasterChef kitchen have also assembled step by step instructions intended to help you master the basics of cooking called “Master the Basics.”  Now that’s branding.

graham elliot joann cianciulliThis torrent of culinary data is masterfully brought together by veteran cookbook author and producer JoAnn Cianciulli.  Cianciulli (chan-chew-lee) is one of the food industry’s top insiders having worked with most of the country’s best chefs.  She has also worked behind the scenes on some of the most popular food shows like Bravo’s Top Chef and numerous Food Network programs.

MasterChef Cookbook is a great companion to the hit series.  It brings together a behind-the-scenes look at the contestants and hosts, recipe made famous on the show and ample bonus material.  If you are a MasterChef fan then you need to get the MasterChef Cookbook published by Rodale Books and available at amazon.com.

http://www.dirtydishesmedia.com/site/

MasterChef: Meet the Contestants

“MASTERCHEF” STARTS COOKING TUESDAY, JULY 27, ON FOX

NATIONWIDE SEARCH BRINGS 50 AMATEUR HOME COOKS

TO LOS ANGELES TO VIE FOR FIRST-EVER “MASTERCHEF” TITLE

Top 14 Revealed Tuesday, August 10

Sharpen your knives and fire up your stoves! Famed chef Gordon Ramsay’s newest culinary competition series, MASTERCHEF, based on the smash international hit, is set to start cooking Tuesday, July 27 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. After a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America, the series will turn one of 50 hopefuls into a culinary star and America’s first-ever MASTERCHEF.

Sheetal Bhagat of MasterChefIn the premiere episode, the hopefuls will have one hour to prepare their signature dishes and present them to the distinguished MASTERCHEF judging panel: Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay; restaurateur and wine maker Joe Bastianich; and the youngest four-star chef in America, Graham Elliot. The judges are looking for passion, creativity and most importantly great flavor and taste. Only the most deserving home cooks who impress the judges will win the coveted white apron and will move on to the next round of the competition.

On Tuesday, Aug. 3 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), the judges will reveal the Top 30, and each week, the stakes will be raised as more hopefuls are eliminated until the Top 14 are announced on Tuesday, Aug. 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). Then, beginning Wednesday, Aug. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), the show moves to a new night and expands to two-hour episodes as the hopefuls dish out their absolute best in an effort to impress the judges and continue in the competition.

Are you looking for recipes from the show? Check out my review of the MasterChef Cookbook HERE.

Click HERE for a chart listing the hometowns, professions and signature dishes of the 50 home cooks.

Also a good read is Chris Spradley’s blog post about his Casting Call Experience for MasterChef.  Read it HERE.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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