Emeril Lagasse was inducted May 20 into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame, a program run by the food service industry magazine Nation’s Restaurant News to honor leaders in restaurant and food development. In its nomination, the magazine credits Lagasse with ushering in the era of the celebrity chef.
A native of Fall River, Mass., Lagasse first made a name for himself as chef at Commander’s Palace. He opened his first restaurant, Emeril’s (800 Tchoupitoulas St., 528-9393; (www.emerils.com), in 1990 and his second, NOLA (534 St. Louis St., 522-6652), two years later. In 1993, he published his first cookbook and began his ongoing presence on the Food Network. He later renovated a stalwart New Orleans steakhouse to open his Emeril’s Delmonico (1300 St. Charles Ave., 525-4937), which is scheduled to reopen in the fall. Emeril’s Homebase, the company that oversees all of Emeril’s projects, is headquartered in the Warehouse District. Other New Orleans chefs inducted in the MenuMasters Hall of Fame include Paul Prudhomme, who was honored in 2003, and the late Warren Leruth of the long-gone LeRuth’s Restaurant in Gretna, who was honored in 1998.