Emeril Lagasse is probably one of the most iconic celebrity chefs ever, and rightly so.  Emeril has appeared in countless TV shows, authored multiple cookbooks, and owns a bunch of successful restaurants.  Even people who aren’t huge food television fans are sure to know Emeril, or at least his signature catch phrase:

Emeril Bam gif

“Bam!”  Well said Emeril.  I’m also a big fan of “gotta kick it up a notch”  Well, Emeril’s just recently turned 54, so in order to celebrate him, I’ve put together a list of things you may not know about Emeril, but will make you admire him even more.  Even if New Orleans style food isn’t your thing, Emeril is still a great guy and an awesome role model.  Here are some of my favorite Emeril Lagasse “fun facts”:

He was Julia Child’s mentee, and friend.

Emeril and Julia Child  pbs.org(photo via PBS)

Way back in 1993, Emeril appeared on Master Chefs with Julia Child to demonstrate some New Orleans cooking technique.  Emeril was lucky enough to get to work with her throughout his career, and there is probably no better mentor for a chef, especially a celebrity chef.    Check out a video of Emeril on Julia’s show and a brief interview with him here.

Emeril was offered a scholarship to study music, but chose culinary school instead.

young emeril huffpost(photo via Huffington Post)

Lagasse has always been interested in music, and after high school, the New England Conservatory of Music offered him a full scholarship, but he turned it down to go to Johnson and Wales to pursue a culinary education, and later went to Paris and Lyon to hone is skills.  Well thank goodness, because while Emeril Lagasse the musician could have been cool, things would not be the same without Emeril Lagasse the chef.

 Since 2002, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation has been providing opportunities for children.

emeril with little girl(photo via Emeril.org)

Emeril is directly involved in the work of his foundation, and is dedicated to improving the lives of kids by teaching them about cooking, and allowing them to explore their creativity and passion through the culinary arts.  The programs emphasize values that will help these kids in the future, like those of pride and self-discipline, and provides them with mentors and training.  The ELF has given over 5 million dollars in grants to various children’s charities and has funded projects like a kitchen equipped for special-needs kids to be able to learn about cooking.

He is basically a movie star.

~99089s200r90-P1.tif(photo via the Disney wiki)

Emeril voiced one of the alligators, Marlon, in the Princess and the Frog.  If you needed another reason to love him, he was in a Disney princess movie.  How does he have time for everything?

For his work with the ELF, Emeril was honored as the 2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year.

emeril james beard award winner

This is a tremendous honor, and Emeril truly is deserving of it.  His work has improved a lot of lives and communities, it is always awesome to see such a well-known personality truly striving to help others as many ways as he can.

For many, Emeril is just another celebrity chef, but hopefully these fun facts will help you realize just how great of a person Emeril is, and how he has used his fame to be able to help others out.  Emeril, you are truly an inspiration in so many ways!

Thanks, Chef Lagasse!

Jaimie is a senior at Adelphi University studying Communications and Political Science. She enjoys exploring and adventures, and recently spent a semester abroad in Prague.