Why You Won't See Emeril Lagasse Hosting Competitive Food Shows

Chef Emeril Lagasse first graced our television screens in the 1990s, becoming one of the first stars of the Food Network. He won over audiences with his easygoing manner and his supportive cooking instructions. Lagasse has always seemed approachable and straightforward. And while he has appeared as a guest judge on food competition shows, he has never wanted to take on that role on a full-time basis. So chefs like Tom Colicchio from "Top Chef" and Marcus Samuelsson from "Chopped" don't have to worry about Lagasse going after their jobs.

Lagasse explained to Tasting Table that he found that the television landscape had changed after he wrapped "Emeril Live." The cooking competitions dominated the airwaves, and he wasn't interested in jumping on that bandwagon as a judge. "That's not really my style," he said. Lagasse looks at those shows and wonders, "Where's the educational factor other than seeing somebody flub or see somebody do something beautiful?"

Emeril Lagasse is back on television

While cooking shows like "Essence of Emeril" and "Emeril Live" are few and far between these days, Lagasse is still finding ways to engage with and educate viewers on the medium that made him famous. He launched two shows, "Emeril Tailgates" and "Emeril Cooks," on the Roku network in 2022, allowing him to once again share his culinary wisdom with his viewers. But this is really a side hustle for Lagasse at this point because his focus is primarily on his restaurants. 

While his food empire has shrunk in size over the years, he still is a vital part of New Orleans with the original fine dining experience Emeril's as well as Meril (a more casual venture named after his daughter). He also has restaurants in Las Vegas and Florida. At Emeril's, Lagasse is helping to get the next generation ready to run the business. His son EJ is following in his footsteps, and recently took over as head chef of the flagship restaurant.