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Emeril Lagasse, the talk of New Orleans and one of the best-known chefs in the country, is credited with revitalizing Creole-Acadian cooking. Using only fresh, top-quality ingredients of Southern Louisiana, Emeril has managed to preserve the bayou's culinary tradition while adding on a contemporary flair. Now chef/proprietor of three New Orleans restaurants, he opened his flagship restaurant, Emeril's, in the New Orleans warehouse district in 1990. NOLA (an acronym for New Orleans, Louisiana) was launched in the French Quarter in 1992, and in June 1998, the classic Delmonico's in New Orleans was reopened under Emeril's management. In fall 1995, he opened the highly acclaimed Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. A new restaurant in Orlando at Universal Studios will unveil in January 1999 and a steak house in Las Vegas will open in Spring 1999.

In addition to running his top-rated restaurants, Emeril has become a national television personality. Host of the Food Network's highest-rated programs, "The Essence of Emeril" and "Emeril Live", he won the 1997 CableAce Award for "Best Informational Series." He can also be seen weekly as food correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America.

Emeril has also become an established cookbook author, sharing his inventive cuisine in EMERIL'S NEW NEW ORLEANS COOKING (William Morrow & Co.; 1993; hardcover) and taking the back roads through the bayou to uncover LOUISIANA REAL & RUSTIC (William Morrow & Co.; Sept. 1996; hardcover). His popular holiday entertaining cookbook, EMERIL'S CREOLE CHRISTMAS (William Morrow & Co.; Oct. 1997; hardcover), was on the bestseller list. Emeril's cookbook, EMERIL'S TV DINNERS (William Morrow & Co.; Oct. 1998; hardcover), features recipes from Food Network's award-winning Emeril Live and The Essence of Emeril.

The reception Emeril and his restaurants have received in the culinary community confirms his commitment to top quality and innovative food. In 1991, Food & Wine named Emeril "ONE OF AMERICA'S TOP TWENTY-FIVE NEW CHEFS." The James Beard Foundation honored him (MORE) as the "BEST SOUTHEAST REGIONAL CHEF" in 1991 and in 1997 nominated him for their highest honors: most "OUTSTANDING CHEF" and "OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD" for Emeril's. Restaurant reviewers have been equally quick to heap praise on his restaurants. New Orleans Times-Picayune restaurant critic Gregory Roberts gave Emeril's a "FIVE BEAN" (Superior) rating in 1995. Emeril's was also dubbed "RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR" by Esquire in 1991. Other honors include the 1994 American Express "FINE DINING HALL OF FAME" given by Nation's Restaurant News and Restaurant & Institution's prestigious IVY AWARD in 1994. NOLA also received "RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR" by Esquire in 1993, while Emeril's New Orleans Fish House was recently named Zagat's Survey's "BEST NEW RESTAURANT" in Las Vegas.

Emeril has received recognition from national publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Travel & Leisure, USA Weekend, Southern Living, Men's Journal, Newsweek, Self, Esquire, Time, TV Guide, USA Today, and People. He has been seen frequently on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Prime Time Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

Emeril, who is of Portuguese and French Canadian heritage, grew up in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts, where he worked in a local Portuguese bakery and learned the art of bread-baking and pastry. As a teenager he turned down a music scholarship to follow his dream of cooking and worked his way through the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University, from which he received an honorary doctorate. Emeril trained in France and then returned to work in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Persuaded to move to the Big Easy, Emeril fell in love with New Orleans and worked as executive chef at the legendary Commander's Palace for seven and a half years before opening his own restaurants.

Marcelle Bienvenu, born and raised on the Bayou Teche, graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and worked as a feature writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. She operated her own restaurant, Chez Marcelle, near Lafayette, Louisiana, and has worked for many of the top restaurants in New Orleans. Marcelle currently writes for several Louisiana publications, including Louisiana Life Magazine, Teche News, and Times of Acadiana. She also has a weekly "Cooking Creole" column in the Times-Picayune, which she has been doing since 1984. Coauthor of Emeril's LOUISIANA REAL & RUSTIC (William Morrow, 1996), EMERIL'S CREOLE CHRISTMAS (William Morrow, 1997), and EMERIL'S TV DINNERS (William Morrow, October 5, 1998), Marcelle is also sole author of numerous other books. Marcelle still resides on the Bayou Teche in St. Martinville, Louisiana.

Felicia Willett is a graduate of the School of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University and currently coordinates food production for the Food Network's Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril shows. She also works on a number of other creative projects, including the coordination of chef Emeril Lagasse's food segments on ABC's Good Morning America. A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, she live in New Orleans.

Awards and Achievements
"The Ivy Award" -- Restaurants & Institutions
"American Express Fine Dining Hall of Fame" --Nation's Restaurant News
"Best Southeast Regional Chef" -- The James Beard Foundation
"Best New Restaurant" -- John Mariani, Esquire magazine
"One of the top 25 Chefs in the Country" -- Food & Wine magazine
"Five Beans" -- Gregory Roberts, food critic

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