HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Why does everyone hate Emeril?

  • a
  • Ari Ariel Jan 5, 2001 09:32 AM
  • 18
  • Share

Ok...the live show is a bit much, but why does everyone hate Emeril? The shows he does in a studio without the audience are often good.
Besides, isn't he introducing the general American public to ideas about food they never contemplated before? If so, isn't he really doing us all a great service?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. j
    Jason Perlow

    Its not that I hate Emeril, its the monster that Emeril has become.

    I liked Emeril when he was a chef with an interesting personality hosting a cooking show about New Orleans-style cooking. Now its this over-the-top thing (BAM!)that is more for entertainment value than anything else.

    From all of the personal accounts I have heard Emeril, despite how over the top he is on his show, he's a very quiet, reserved, nice guy. I wish we could see more of that.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Jason Perlow

      I admire ANYONE in the food world who can bring more people to the table, so to speak. I may have no interest in owning one of those "100 BEST MOMENTS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC," but if it turns one child--or adult--on to the glories of Mozart, I'm all for it.

      When Julia Child started out on television, she had MANY detractors. And where in the hell would we be without her??

      Actually, Julia introduced Emeril to television audiences about 9 years ago in her first MASTER CHEFS series.

      In fact, Emeril Lagasse is deeply esteemed among most of his colleagues. His restaurants are among the best in the South, and his staffs absolutely ADORE him. His cookbooks are the biggest sellers of them all, bringing an important audience to cookbooks, many for the first time. Ironically, in person (I've met him a few times), he's extremely shy!

      If he's too over the top for you with his BAMS and kicking it up a notch, JUST DON'T WATCH HIM!! But to deny his positive impact on the American eating public is just snobbery.

      1. re: Tom Steele
        w
        wendy jackson

        You are right, Tom. Emeril "ON" and Emeril "OFF" are two different people. Years ago, I was the chef's assistant for a visiting chef cooking school series. Emeril was the first chef I worked with. Naturally, I was nervous, but he was kind, encouraging, and put me at ease. Chatting with him after the class, I really liked the way he spoke about his restaurants, staff, and life in general. He was humble and appreciated all those behind the scenes supporting him.

        That said, I do have a hard time watching his show. So I just say no and change the channel!

        1. re: Tom Steele
          y
          yvonne johnson

          I don't think anyone is saying he isn't a nice bloke, or that he can't cook. I ate at Commanders Palace in New Orleans when he was there, I believe, and his bread pudding was to die for. His jambalaya from "Louisiana Real and Rustic" beats Prudhomme's and is the best recipe I'm come across. What bothers me about his tv performace is that he could be a lot more articulate. The parts of the show where he displays produce, say, 20 types of sausage, are cringe-making because he doesn't say anything informative. I'm not saying he doesn't know. I'm saying he is not prepared for the show. He's like a teacher who comes to class and hasn't prepared and tries to wing it. And he wings it too often. If I were his producer I'd get more cue cards.

          1. re: Tom Steele

            As a former food professional, I agree with the assessment that Emeril is a major asset to modern American food culture. But it is VERY difficult to get by his demeanor - obviously, to me at least, the result of being ill at ease in front of an audience or camera. I sympathise, but I must admit that I cannot bear to watch him any more; the "BAM" stuff is (barely) tolerable, but I just can't get by the third person speech ("and then she stirs the batter like this"), and the hysterical emphasis on "Essence" - presumably mostly Cayenne.

            1. re: Tom Steele

              I too ate at his restaurants. The food was good. I met him several times. he is a genuinely nice guy - very quiet.

              My problem with his show is not him. It's the oafish, drooling,pavlovian nimrods in his audience. The women who dress up in BAM! moo moos and the ciples who dress up their kids so that Emeril will come by and kiss them. It's the sweating lip smacking fools who look like they're about to have seizures every time he throws that damn essence on something. Get the camera off these people and the show would be a bit more tolerable.

              1. re: Tom Steele

                Here's Emeril: "Hey, Hey, Hey!....check it out and give it up for Doc Gibbs. What we're gonna do is this....we're gonna just kinda begin to start to add about 30, 40 cloves of garlic, and Bam! You know what I'm sayin? Wallah! Oh yeah babe, you wanna talk about good? How you doin Rhoda? Woatch this...cut a hole in it so the vapors have a chance to excape. Kick it up a notch or get your own show! Then I said to myself, "SELF?" If you just came from another planet....be very caffle cuz I don't know where you get your shrimp from, but mine don't come seasoned. So, stick around, be happy-happy, and remember Pork Fat Rules!"

                I don't know where I got this quote from, but it seems apt:

                "I always get the impression, watching Jacques Pepin, that dinner at his house is always really good, without a lot of screaming and yelling and notch-kicking."

              2. re: Jason Perlow
                t
                Toby Gorelick

                Somewhere I read he has a PhD...maybe yes, maybe no, but clearly no dummy Emeril. I think what makes me uncomfortable is watching a really bright guy act like a fool--that dichotomy makes me grit my teeth and feel very uneasy. He channels his energies into shtick rather than teaching. So many missed opportunities to convey all the whys and wherefores of cooking.

                1. re: Jason Perlow
                  s
                  stephen kaye

                  over-exposed, over-theatrics>emeril. hope thats not going to happen in the new mario/italy show, preview was very weak/over-theatric, etc.

                  1. re: Jason Perlow

                    I saw a piece on a newsy-type show that was about the "business" of being a cooking-show host (wish I could remember where right now!). Their main point seemed to have been that cooking ability was rather less important than having "that certain" on-screen persona in the popular success of a show. The focus of that show was a "school" for wanna-be tv chefs that someone on the west coast runs.

                    If you consider that many of the most influencial and innovative chefs in this country aren't hosting tv shows, it makes you think that tv ratings are more probably the driving force behind the Food Network's choices for show hosts.

                    To me, it means that the famous, influential chefs that can also translate onto the tv screen are doing VERY well. If they actually teach us something in the process, even better. It may be dissappointing that so much of the broadcasting is aimed for those who don't cook as much as we here might. I just listen for a new idea here and there - they are often there.

                    All that being said, we all know that Emeril is a fabulous chef, and most people love him (he's like a teddy bear you just have to hug!). If he's a little corny sometimes, I think it's because he's gone to that school that taught him how to be a tv personality - more than just a great cook and a true financial success, for both the network and him.

                    Doesn't seem to matter what the columnist (whose name escapes me at the moment) thinks - it's Emeril's fans that matter.

                  2. I don't know about a service, but I sure don't hate him. I think he's funny. So he likes pork fat? So he likes to yell "BAM!" So what? I know people who finally broke from the meatloaf/mac and cheese/red sauce penitentiary and started making some NEW dishes after watching Emeril. I remember Amanda Hesser (in the Times) writing a piece about him a year or two back that made me cringe, it was so nasty. I think people need to calm down about him. People who criticize him for his use of fat must not have seen much of early (or even recent) Julia Child.

                    Now Bobby Flay ... that's another story.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: John Tracey

                      I don't know if anyone else has the same perception, but it seems to me that Emeril has toned down the show quite a bit in the last few months and gotten more serious. It's no longer "essence on everything" which if memory serves me, was one of Amanda Hesser's complaints. I think the show has improved a lot and does serve a purpose of exposing people to new types of food.

                      1. re: rjka

                        I have eaten at Emeril's restaurant in New Orleans twice and consider those meals to be two of the finest that I've had in this country. Emeril was in the restaurant both evenings and I would hesitate to guess how good the restaurant is when he's away. I well remember Amanda Hesser's nasty article which permanently destroyed my view of her credibility. Her observations about the television show were here own and I agreed with some of them, but then she disparaged his background and abilities as a chef based on what appeared to me to be second hand information and I had the strong feeling that she had never personally eaten in the restaurant at that time.

                        1. re: jason
                          g
                          George Lynch

                          I also had the pleasure of eating at Emeril's with a party of seven when we were in N.O. a couple of years ago, and I too enjoyed the meal, with one exception: it was hard to find a wine on the huge wine list (many pages) that had a price consisting of only two digits. But everyone agreed the meal was great, and Emeril stopped by the table to say hello.

                          Same group had dinner a different night at Commander's Palace and concluded they are living on their reputation. Besides the "attitude" (captain describing specials while never looking at our table, as if we were some sort of slightly repugnant pests), they poured the wrong champagne, mixed up orders, and generally left us feeling like we had wandered into a club where we didn't belong.

                          I will admit Emeril really can cook and he really knows how to run a restaurant. However, I still don't care for his cutesy-poo shtick on TV.

                          1. re: jason
                            g
                            George Lynch

                            I also had the pleasure of eating at Emeril's with a party of seven when we were in N.O. a couple of years ago, and I too enjoyed the meal, with one exception: it was hard to find a wine on the huge wine list (many pages) that had a price consisting of only two digits. But everyone agreed the meal was great, and Emeril stopped by the table to say hello.

                            Same group had dinner a different night at Commander's Palace and concluded they are living on their reputation. Besides the "attitude" (captain describing specials while never looking at our table, as if we were some sort of slightly repugnant pests), they poured the wrong champagne, mixed up orders, and generally left us feeling like we had wandered into a club where we didn't belong.

                            I will admit Emeril really can cook and he really knows how to run a restaurant. However, I still don't care for his cutesy-poo shtick on TV.

                            1. re: jason

                              I remember reading an article in the Times re Emeril last year and it was scathing. I wonder if it was Amanda Hesser's article. She mentioned during the show the food Emeril prepares is past out to the audience and she said it was awful because it wasn't cooked. She said everything was fat upon fat upon fat in his recipes.

                              I can't watch Emeril's show. I used to watch it at lunch time and became nauseous. I am sure he is a good guy but I agree with most posts--stop the schtick. PBS does a good job with their cooking shows when they aren't fund raising. Rick Stein is great! Also, Jacques Pepin and of course the invincible Julia.

                        2. As an entertainer, his schtick is a bit limited, but every now and then he lets his cooking talent peek through.

                          1. g
                            George Lynch

                            I certainly don't hate Emeril, but I can't watch his shows either, solely because his cutesy-poo shtick really turns me off.

                            Even granting that you are correct that he "...introduc(es) the general American public to ideas about food they never contemplated before..." doesn't make his act any more tolerable for me.

                            I think Emeril is a talented chef who's probably a great guy and who got lucky enough to become rich and famous. I've eaten his food in his restaurant in New Orleans and enjoyed it thoroughly, and we were thrilled when he stopped by our table.

                            But I have to say that I still can't take his TV shtick. If he stuck to cooking and explaining, I'd probably be his number one fan.