NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)- When you’re in New Orleans, whether you’re a local or visitor, you know you’re always in for a treat. It could be the food you’re eating or the celebrity you are seeing and at one famous spot they are once again blending the two.
Let’s just say when you head over to a certain Central Business District restaurant, you’ll get both. Good food and maybe a selfie with Emeril Lagasse.
After his namesake restaurant sat dark for more than a year, this week they fired up the ovens for the first time in a while.
Decadent, delicious food is once again being created in the kitchen at Emeril’s New Orleans.
“It feels great. It feels good with the staff. I think the staff is ready,” Emeril Lagasse assured us.
From the oven, it’s served, then quickly devoured. Emeril is cooking up something new for his favorite city.
“I think when I opened Emeril’s, the mark I was making was ‘New Orleans cooking,'” described Emeril. “Now, 31 years later I’m doing “new” New Orleans cooking.”
The moment you step into Emeril’s, you are greeted with savory smells. At the back of the restaurant is where you’ll catch a glimpse of the famous top chef himself, carefully curating your meal.
“I really want them to leave here saying, Wow! That was an experience,” said Emeril.
Like many other New Orleans restauranteurs, getting to this reopening stage has not been easy for Emeril and his “krewe.”
“We have been waiting and waiting. The team did six weeks of training then, the hurricane hit.”
Counting down the days until he could reopen his famous restaurant, he has been working hard to make sure his team and customers are safe when they dine with him.
“There is no way that we cannot move forward in life, thinking that this pandemic is going to go away.”
So, staff will be masked up and cleaning diligently and customers must show their vaccine cards before taking a seat at one of his tables.
Even though Emeril’s was dark and empty for more than a year, giving back to the community he calls Home Base, is one of the key ingredients to how he made it through this shutdown.
“The Emeril Lagasse Foundation didn’t stop during the pandemic. The thing is, is that mentoring can’t stop it has to continue,” said Emeril.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation works with St. Michael’s School, Cafe Reconcile, Liberties Kitchen, NOCCA, and more many more. He proudly told us that they have put $12 million back into the New Orleans community.
2020 and most of 2021 have been the perfect recipe for disaster in New Orleans; a global pandemic mixed with a catastrophic hurricane, but Emeril says, he’s constantly reminded of what he loves about this town and the people.
“New Orleans is so resilient. It amazes me every day how resilient people are here. The spirit you know, you just can’t you can’t, as long as the Saints are winning, you know we are going to be okay!”