Emeril Lagasse's Favorite Memory With Julia Child - Exclusive

Many have heard of the brand name that is Emeril Lagasse, but not too many stop to consider exactly who the chef behind the camera really is and what made him the man and cook he is today. Lagasse himself will be the first to tell you that he considers Julia Child to be one of the most important guides on his path to success. Lagasse says Child was more than a mentor to him. "Julia was a great friend," he told Tasting Table. 

Child made several appearances on "Emeril Live," and Lagasse appeared on one of her shows as well. Lagasse credits Child as not only an important teacher for him but also someone with whom he was always able to laugh and have a good time. "The thing about Julia," said Lagasse, "is that, besides being a character and one of the greatest ladies on the planet, she always had to give me some sort of feedback. That's just Julia."

That feedback, along with Child's general attitude and approach to cooking, TV, and life, inspired Lagasse to pursue and achieve the iconic career he's had, turning him into one of the most recognized culinary household names. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Emeril Lagasse shared one of his favorite memories with the late, great Child, and he opened up about the immense influence she had on his career.

Lagasse looks back fondly on the one thing he taught Julia Child

There's no doubt that Emeril Lagasse treasures the sage life advice and countless cooking lessons he got from Julia Child, whether it was from watching her on TV or working with her directly. But one of his favorite memories to look back on is the time the tables were turned, so to speak, and Lagasse got to give Child an important culinary education.

As Lagasse told it, "She asked me to do 'Cooking with Master Chefs' and cover New Orleans. I made her etouffée and I also taught her how to eat crawfish." He explained to Tasting Table, "There's an art to sucking head and pinching tail." It's an acquired skill, and a messy process no matter what your crawfish experience level is. But Lagasse loved every minute. "I have the pleasure of telling people that I taught Julia Child how to do that," he said. "We had a ball. It was absolutely one of the best afternoons I could imagine."

Lagasse says Julia Child helped shape him from a young age

Of course, while Julia Child can thank Emeril Lagasse for showing her the trick to surviving a crawfish boil, he himself has much more to thank Child for. Her influence on him started when he was just a kid, leaving an impression on him simply "because of her style." In particular, Lagasse said, "I remember, as a young boy, that I would watch her show. ... Julia was just Julia and stuff happens. ... One of the things that I learned from her was that you just got to go with the flow."

On top of that, Lagasse said he's always been inspired by Child as a teacher, something that he always wanted to be a big part of his work. He explained, "There was always an educational perspective of her show that was important to her, of trying to teach people," even while always having fun along the way. "That stuck with me," added Lagasse. "When I created any shows like 'Essence of Emeril' or 'Emeril Live,' ... I just went about it that way, trying to educate people and take the intimidation factor out of it so that people get excited about cooking instead of being intimidated about cooking."

Watch Chef Lagasse's newest shows, "Emeril Cooks," and "Emeril Tailgates," available exclusively on the Roku Channel, and visit Emeril Lagasse's website to learn more about his restaurants.