FOOD: Transforming the American Table

Cooking Live

 

Emeril Live, the first live Food Network program, began airing in 1997. The show’s success, combined with nationwide appearances, made Emeril Lagasse one of the most recognized chefs in the country. As he demonstrated a genuine fusion of his native Massachusetts Portuguese cuisine with flavors from France, Louisiana, and the southwestern United States, he helped inspire a new recognition and acceptance of fine regional American food.

On the set of Emeril Live, about 2000

On the set of Emeril Live, about 2000

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Trained in culinary school, Emeril worked in France and various American cities before moving to New Orleans.

Chef jacket

This jacket is from his first New Orleans restaurant, Emeril’s, which opened in 1990. He often wore a chef’s jacket on his television shows and in his public appearances.

Gift of Emeril Lagasse

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Cookbook, 1993

Cookbook, 1993

Emeril’s first cookbook demonstrated his innovative interpretations of traditional Creole cuisine.

Gift of Emeril Lagasse

 

Plate, about 1990s

Emeril opened NOLA, his second New Orleans restaurant, in 1992.  Combining New Orleans Creole and Cajun cuisine with influences from Vietnam and the American Southwest, NOLA reflects the cultural fusion of Emeril’s adopted city.

Gift of Emeril Lagasse

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Cooking Competitions

In the 2000s, dramatic competitions began to draw larger audiences than traditional “how-to” programs. The shows challenged chefs to compete against one another—and the clock—while preparing dishes with odd and surprising ingredients.

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger bridged both worlds. They cooked as the Too Hot Tamales on Food Network from 1995 to 1999 and competed on Top Chef Masters in the 2010s.

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger shortly after they opened their first restaurant in Los Angeles, 1982

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger shortly after they opened their first restaurant in Los Angeles, 1982

Photo by Mitzi Trumbo, courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, co-owners of Border Grill in Los Angeles, 2018

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, co-owners of Border Grill in Los Angeles, 2018

Photo by Bart Nagel, courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Knife bag, 2011

When Mary Sue Milliken appeared on the television show Top Chef Masters in 2011, she packed this bag with her knives and other favorite tools to use during the competition.

Gift of Mary Sue Milliken

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