Don't look for rattlesnake on Emeril Lagasse's menu

Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:05am EDT
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By Chelsea Emery

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Don't look for rattlesnake or processed cheese in any of Emeril Lagasse's recipes. Only fresh ingredients are on his menus and will be as long as the Gulf oil spill does not hurt supplies.

Lagasse, who worked in a local Portuguese bakery while growing up in Massachusetts, turned down a music scholarship to pursue a culinary career. After stints perfecting his skill in France, Lagasse now owns several restaurants.

The chef, cookbook author and television personality who is know for his New Orleans-style cooking and enthusiastic "Bam!" exclamations, spoke to Reuters about the impact of the Gulf oil spill, the links between music and cooking and the biggest challenges of restaurant work.

Q: Where do you find recipe inspiration?

A: "It really starts with the ingredients -- seasonality and ingredients. There's a movement about sustainability, there's a movement about farm to fork-- well, I've been doing that for 35 years. When you have a great product, you have great food. And that's my philosophy in everything I do."

Q: Any other inspirations?

A: "I have a music background. I turned down a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music to pay to go to cooking school. So music is in my head all the time. Music makes people happy like food makes people happy.

"On a personal note, I'm very connected to the soil and very connected to the sea. The ocean does something magical for me."   Continued...

<p>Chef, cookbook author and television presenter Emeril Lagasse is shown in New York on June 29, 2010. REUTERS/handout/Steven Freeman</p>