With the glut of food TV shows that are out there these days, there are still a few modern superstar names that ring through - and perhaps none resounds more loudly than Emeril Lagasse. The King of Bam almost single handedly made The Food Network what it is today and now he has a new show of his own called "Emeril's Table" on the Hallmark Channel. In a recent conference call interview, the world-famous chef talked about the series and how to overcome culinary intimidation.
Emeril Lagasse Gathers Guests Around 'Emeril's Table'
Emeril described the premise for his new series and how he feels about it, saying, "I'm very excited about 'Emeril's Table' and basically this half hour show is really very exciting and very educational for folks. I would say that it's a bit of intimacy that part of the all these daily entertaining of the half hour, giving the ultimate cooking lessons to a wide range of visitors."
On each episode, Lagasse will welcome a select number of guests. He revealed, "We're seeing the hottest reservation on television. There's five seats at the food bar so that's where it becomes very intimate and very educational for the home viewer as well as for the audience members. The audience members range from newlyweds and busy moms to firefighters and vegetarians to all sorts of folks in life, real people experiencing real food."
And the type of meals he'll be dishing up should appeal to just about everybody. He remarked, "It's not just one direct style of cooking. It's really trying to, with my style, trying to take the intimidation factor out of cooking for folks at home and encouraging them something about food whether it's shopping or a new ingredient or a new technique. So in essence that's really the show."
Emeril Lagasse Talks About What Intimidates Home Cooks
Lagasse explained why he thinks home cooks are sometimes overwhelmed by the notion of preparing meals at home. He acknowledged, "Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses in the kitchen as a cook, whether it's a beginning cook or one with a little bit more experience. On the show with these guests, we've experienced them all. We've had folks that are frightened about going to the grocery store and don't even know where to begin."
He added, "We have folks that have timing problems. That seems to keep coming up and keep coming up that how do I keep the potatoes warm. I'm trying to cook the steak, yet I'm burning the broccoli."
Lagasse categorized yet another fear factor. "Then of course the downright area of just technique and doing it right and building a recipe from start to finish whether it's seasoning or depth of flavors, etc. We showcase all of those things just about every show."
He gave an example of how he hopes "Emeril's Table" will help remove some of the mystery. Lagasse noted, "Every show we're trying to talk a little bit about shopping or an experience that the show is about, i.e., let's just say Spain. This is how it was in Spain. This is how they did it in Spain. This is how they always do it in Spain. This is how we're doing it today. You choose what you feel comfortable with."
Emeril Lagasse Talks About What Concerns Home Cooks
The show will also take a look at dollars and cents - helping viewers make smart purchasing choices to lighten budgetary concerns. Lagasse shared, "There's the shopping or fabricating part of it…. You can buy broken down chicken and you can pay $3.29 a pound for it. You can buy a whole fryer chicken for $1.29 a pound and this is how you would butcher it. And look at the money that you're going to save. You're going to save $21 and some cents if you do it this way as opposed to that way."
This all over approach to food prep should take the stress out of in-home culinary challenges. Lagasse divulged, "We're giving them also lots of combinations of how to buy it, how to fabricate it, how to cook it and a lot of history about where it comes from. Whether it's something simple as maybe a Brussels sprout or a string bean or what really is grass-fed beef as opposed to dry-age beef. And I've been doing this for a little while, I've done a lot of television, I've shot a lot of shows. I got to tell you, I'm super, super proud of 'Emeril's Table.' It's going to be an awesome show."
Emeril Lagasse Talks About What First Intimidated Him as a Cook
And if anyone knows food shows, it's Lagasse. He's the godfather of modern day cooking shows, having been the kingpin of The Food Network when it first launched. But he wasn't always a master chef. Emeril was once a young cook, just starting out. He reflected on what intimidated him in those days defining it as "the general mass of it. First of all, 'How do I get it? How do I shop for it?' And then later on becoming a chef, it was, 'Now how do I grow it.'"
As his knowledge base grew, he was overwhelmed by the concept of finding the essence of his own cooking. "Then after that it was just, 'Okay, what do I want to cook?' And what I realized is that I learned how to cook onion soup, as an example, probably 12 different ways from 12 different chefs. And then all of a sudden a light bulb went out and it was like, 'You know what? Now I'm going to cook onion soup my way. I know now I want to use a combination of beef and chicken broth. I don't want to use just beef. I want to caramelize my onions to this certain degree. And as you begin to start doing it a little bit more and a little bit more, you begin to start getting a lot more comfortable with it and you begin to start discovering a technique of your own."
"Emeril's Table" premieres on Monday, September 26 at 11 a.m. EST/10 a.m. Central on the Hallmark Channel.
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