(Holmes Beach, Fla.) – Chef Emeril Lagasse visited the Beach Bistro on Monday, Sept. 9 to film an episode for his 13-part series, “Emeril’s Florida,” which airs at 9:30 a.m. EST Thursdays on the Food Network.
A TV star, restaurateur and regional James Beard Award winner, Lagasse is best known for his shows “Emeril Live” and “Essence of Emeril,” and he is lauded for his Creole and Cajun cooking styles. Lagasse is currently traveling throughout Florida, experiencing the state’s highest-rated restaurants and resorts. When Sean Murphy, owner of the Beach Bistro and operating partner/founder of Eat Here, heard about Lagasse’s trip to Holmes Beach, he was thrilled.
“About a month ago, a man called and told me that Emeril wanted to come to my restaurant and tape a television show. After talking to him for a while I began to believe him,” Murphy says, adding that he had met Lagasse more than two decades prior.
Lagasse’s style has influenced and inspired Murphy. The Beach Bistro, in its early years, was going against the trend of cuisine minceur, which consisted of “plates with little bits of food and parsley water,” as Murphy puts it. The Bistro’s portions were hearty and the flavors were bold (bouillabaisse in large bowls, steaks with mashed potatoes and demi-glace, and rich sauces and butters).
“Around that time, I was invited to a cooking demo featuring a number of chefs. One of them was some kid from New Orleans, a new rising star. He looked like he was about 12. He prepared a magnificent chicken stew with lush mashed potatoes and killer gravy. I felt vindicated,” Murphy says. “It was a good day. I bought a cookbook and he signed it. That kid became Emeril, the first rock star chef and the most famous chef in the world.”
During Lagasse’s time at the Beach Bistro, he and Murphy shared such anecdotes, along with food and red wine.
“Two locations and six dishes in, he was praising my rack of lamb. He loved the Bistro Bouillabaisse, and he told me that the Bistro’s Food Heaven was amazing and that I should be locked up for being crazy enough to imagine a dish with lamb, butter-poached lobster and foie gras all on one plate,” Murphy says.
As the crew put the restaurant back together, Lagasse told Murphy about his current passion—the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which has contributed more than $5.5 million in grants for children’s charities. Lagasse’s philanthropy touched Murphy, who is deeply involved in community fundraisers, such as the Culinary Winter Carnival, which has raised more than $100,000 for the local children’s hospital.
“Emeril and I made plans to get together again. He took the time to have his picture taken with some of the staff, and the limo bus swept him away,” Murphy says. “He was a great guest. It was a great day. Emeril is cool.”
Follow the Food Network’s website for details about the airdate of the Beach Bistro segment.