Emeril John Lagasse was born October 15, 1959 in Fall River, Massachusetts. He worked in a Portuguese bakery as a teenager where he discovered his talent for cooking and subsequently enrolled in a culinary arts program at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School. He went on to attend Johnson & Wales University in hopes of becoming a chef. He graduated from Johnson and Wales in 1978 and the school later awarded him an honorary doctorate. In 1982 Lagasse succeeded Paul Prudhomme as Commanders Palaces executive chef. Lagasse initially gained fame in the culinary world as executive chef of Commander?s Palace. After leaving Commander?s he opened his first restaurant, Emeril?s, in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1990. It was designated Restaurant of the Year in Esquire magazine of that year. Lagasse is mainly known for his emphasis on Creole and Cajun cooking styles. Indeed, many of his restaurants as well as his corporate office Emeril?s Homebase, are located in New Orleans. Lagasse is the executive chef and proprietor of thirteen restaurants. In April 2008 Emeril closed the doors on Emeril?s Atlanta, which had been open since 2003. Emeril?s Atlanta has been the only Emeril?s restaurant to close. In May 2009 during preparations for the opening of Emerils Chop House at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Emeril announced that he has plans to open two more restaurants in the resort the first of which will open in November 2009 and will focus on gourmet burgers. Emeril first appeared on television on the show Great Chefs where he was featured on no fewer than ten episodes including Great Chefs, the Louisiana New Garde, New Orleans Jazz Brunch and Great Chefs - Great Cities. After several appearances on several other FoodTV programs, Lagasse hosted his own show, The Essence of Emeril. Essence in the title refers to Emeril?s Essence, the name of a spice blend of his own concoction that he frequently uses in his cooking. On television, Lagasse is known for his light and jovial hosting style as well as several catchphrases, including BAM!,kick it up a notch, aw, yeah, babe and feel the love, usually said before or after adding something spicy to a dish, or after the reaction to adding something, respectively. Lagasse is currently hosting his new daily series Emeril Green that airs on Discovery Channels new eco-lifestyle network Planet Green. Emeril Green is filmed on location at Whole Foods Markets across the United States. In April 2010 Lagasse began hosting a new weekly variety program, The Emeril Lagasse Show, which airs on Ion Television each Sunday.