The Moment That EJ Lagasse Knew He Wanted To Follow In His Father's Footsteps - Exclusive

Emeril Lagasse is a world-renowned chef — known for his restaurants as well as his cookbooks and TV shows. On top of his career, he's also a dad — and his son, EJ Lagasse, is following in his footsteps. Earlier this year, it was announced that the younger Lagasse would be taking on the role of chef at Emeril's, his father's first restaurant, which opened in New Orleans in 1990 (before the 20-year-old was even born).

In a recent episode of Tasting Table's "Shared Tastes," the father and son chefs sat down together to discuss their shared love of cooking — and when EJ knew he wanted to take the same culinary path as his dad. Emeril noted that he has fond memories of when EJ said he wanted to become a chef too, alongside all of the memories of EJ being in the kitchen with Emeril while he worked. 

The chef asked his son when he made that decision for himself. EJ explained that he first mentioned it at a very young age, after they'd had dinner at Cafe Boulud. EJ said, "I think I said it to you very early on, but it was so early that I don't think any responsible parent could take that seriously ... You gave it the old, 'Yeah, sounds great, man.' I'm like eight years old, so how do you take that at any part seriously?" Of course, that passion would only grow as EJ got older.

EJ Lagasse knew that he wanted to be a chef since childhood

During the conversation for Tasting Table's "Shared Tastes," EJ Lagasse explained that a few years after proclaiming as an eight-year-old that he wanted to be a chef, he still wanted to be a chef. EJ continued, "It was just a few years later that we were in the kitchen at Emeril's, and I told you one night after dinner service that I was like, 'Hey, this is really what I want to do.'" Fittingly, this conversation happened at the restaurant where EJ would later become a chef — but not before gaining other experience first. 

EJ added, "And the first thing you said is, 'Well, you're not going to work for me. You're going to go work for other people.' Anyway, it was the best advice that I could give anybody." EJ expanded upon why he thought that was great advice, explaining that he wouldn't have been able to grow as a chef if he had stayed in a kitchen that he was comfortable in, as he was at Emeril's.

After gaining experience on his own, he was able to grow into his own chef, which, in turn, led him to understand his father to a greater extent. Speaking to Emeril, EJ said, "I'm understanding some of the hardships that you might've went through. It gives me a different sense of empathy and understanding of your thought process now."

Emeril's New Orleans is currently closed. Stay tuned for a fall renovation reveal of the NOLA Flagship restaurant, with EJ Lagasse at the helm.