The James Beard Foundation has announced that Emeril Lagasse, a James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef, was named the recipient of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award. This award is given to an individual or organization whose work in the realm of food is said to help “improve the lives of others and benefited society at large”.
Lagasse will be honored at this year’s James Beard Awards on May 6 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
In 2002, Lagasse founded the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations and educational initiatives that create new opportunities for children, especially for those from disadvantaged circumstances. His work is focused within the communities where his restaurants operate. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation tailors its efforts to each community; its work has ranged from creating an outdoor classroom, gardens, and fresh foods cafeteria to a culinary learning center. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted over $5.3 million to children’s education and culinary arts programs in New Orleans, Las Vegas, and the Gulf Coast. In March 2011, Lagasse dedicated the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Arts Studio at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA), which offers high school students a four-year culinary arts program with a first of its kind master-apprentice curriculum, developed in partnership with Lagasse’s alma mater Johnson & Wales University.
Lagasse opened the Emeril’s Restaurant in 1990. Following the success of Emeril's Restaurant, he went on to open 13 establishments, including NOLA in 1992, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas in 1995; the reopening of the Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans in 1998; Emeril's Orlando at Universal Studios and Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas in 1999; Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at Universal Studios in 2002; Table 10 at The Palazzo in Las Vegas in 2008; Emeril’s Chop House, Burgers And More by Emeril and Emeril’s Italian Table at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania in 2009; and e2 emeril’s eatery in Charlotte, N.C. in 2012.
Lagasse is also a television personality. Anchored by Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live!, two series on the Food Network, he is the food correspondent for Good Morning America and has appeared on HBO’s Treme to Bravo’s Top Chef. Most recently, he launched Emeril's Florida, which airs on the Cooking Channel. In addition to his media schedule and restaurants, Lagasse has his own cooking related product lines.
Lagasse received two previous awards from the James Beard Foundation: He was inducted into the Who’s Who in 1989 and won the Best Chef: Southeast award in 1991. Additionally, Emeril was honored at the annual James Beard Foundation event Chefs & Champagne in 2011.
The James Beard Foundation Awards celebrates achievement in each of the following categories: restaurants and chefs, books, journalism, restaurant design and graphics, broadcast media, and special achievement awards. On March 18, the foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories. The recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award is selected by the James Beard Foundation Awards Committee, which consists of the chairperson from each individual Awards program, members of the foundation's Board of Trustees, and members at large.