Film and TV

Emeril Returns to Television with Emeril's Table, Talks to Us About Taking the Intimidation Out of Dinner Parties

Chef Emeril Lagasse is back with his brand new show, Emeril's Table, premiering Monday September 26, at 11 a.m. EST/10 a.m. CST on the Hallmark Network. Each half-hour episode of the series will feature five guests sitting around Emeril's chef table as he provides cooking lessons, offers tips and tricks, fields questions, and attempts to take the intimidation factor out of cooking.

In a telephone conference call for the media, I had a chance to hear the chef speak about the new show and how it will differ from shows of the past. The more intimate series will showcase a different side to Emeril. Think less BAM! and more fam.

When asked to compare Emeril's Table to shows like the party-filled Emeril Live set in New Orleans, Emeril replied, "This show is really back to serious cooking, but it is fun because with the audience, five people, the ranges of life bring a lot of realism to the show and to the programming... There's not a lot of bam-bam, thank you ma'am. It's just, you know, real downright cooking and education about the subject of what we're doing."

Each of the five guests come from different walks of life, from newlyweds and busy moms to vegetarians and firefighters, all with unique obstacles that they face around their dinner tables. The Chef will cover meals from start to finish, providing his professional insight and answering questions on grocery shopping, timing issues, technique, seasoning and more.

During the press conference, I was able ask Emeril a question myself. Being newly engaged and having millions of what is probably unnecessary dinnerware and serving ware items on the mind, I asked the chef how to take the intimidation factor out of hosting your first dinner party.

His answer was simple. First, know your guests' likes and dislikes. "The worst thing that you want to happen is [you] have six people over for a dinner party and three of them are allergic to shellfish," said Emeril.

Second, pay attention to what is in season, because as the chef said, "foods and moods change seasonally...Keep it simple, keep it fresh."

Third, try to have a menu where you can do prep work in advance. "That [way] you can enjoy your guests and enjoy the dinner party as well," said Lagasse.

I know I'm not a professional, but I'd add a fully stocked bar to that list. Just for when I inevitably burn the roast chicken I've been preparing for my guests all day.

In the end, the Chef claimed, "It's all about encouraging that family table." And I, for one, would be more than encouraged to eat at Emeril's family table. I was practically drooling as he spouted off what it was like around his home kitchen.

"Tonight...we're having pasta Bolognese with a green vegetables and a very light salad. We had a family table last night of about 14 with some local shrimp done very simply scampi-style with a simple rice pilaf and a great salad and some roasted asparagus, and it was perfect," said Lagasse. Sounds perfect to me.

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano