Big Star, Small Screen: A Live Chat with Emeril

The superstar chef shares how he's keeping busy during the pandemic and how his team is serving those in need

Big Star, Small Screen: A Live Chat with Emeril
Emeril has been spending the pandemic cooking with family and planning for when his restaurants can reopen. (Sara Essex Bradley)
May 20, 2020

Emeril Lagasse may be a superstar chef, television icon and powerhouse restaurateur with two Wine Spectator Grand Award winners, but when it comes to his experience staying home during the coronavirus crisis, he’s just like many of us.

“It’s not a lot of fun being locked down, but it’s a lot of fun that we’re spending a lot of time as a family,” Lagasse said May 19 on Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, an Instagram Live series sponsored by Wine Access. “You’ve just got to make the best of it.”

Lagasse told Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews that life at home has involved plenty of cooking and eating, while working daily with his team to support the employees out of work at his restaurants, all of which are still temporarily closed. “In these tough times, we’re just trying to keep as much of the staff as we can,” he said.

Lagasse noted that a small group from his team is in New Orleans feeding doctors, nurses and first responders at a rate of 1,200 to 1,800 meals per week. “We’re not on a grand scale, but we’re doing our part to do what we can do in the community.”

In discussing the crisis, Lagasse conveyed longing for an end, while emphasizing the importance of patience. “We’re all ready to get back to work … but at the same time, we also have to be smart and we have to be safe,” he said. “Like you, I’m tired of talking about it! I want to talk about wine.”

Watch the full episode with Lagasse, and tune in to Straight Talk on Wine Spectator's Instagram page, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET. Coming up May 21, senior editor Bruce Sanderson talks with Rocco Lombardo, the president of wine importer Wilson Daniels.

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