Chef Emeril Lagasse is the chef/proprietor of 13 restaurants, including three in New Orleans (Emeril’s, NOLA and Emeril’s Delmonico); four in Las Vegas (Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, Delmonico Steakhouse, Table 10 and Lagasse’s Stadium); two in Orlando (Emeril’s Orlando and Emeril’s Tchoup Chop); three at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania (Emeril’s Italian Table, Emeril’s Chop House and Burgers And More by Emeril) and one in Charlotte, N.C. (e2 emeril’s eatery).
As a national TV personality, he has hosted more than 2,000 shows on the Food Network and is the food correspondent for ABC’s "Good Morning America.” He is also the host of “Fresh Food Fast” and “The Originals with Emeril” appearing on the Cooking Channel. His latest TV show, “Emeril’s Florida,” began its second season in January 2014 on the Cooking Channel. Lagasse also joined the judges’ table on “Top Chef: New Orleans”—season 11 of Bravo’s hit food series “Top Chef” and will join TNT’s new reality cooking series, “On the Menu,” as Menu Master in fall of 2014.
Lagasse is the best-selling author of 18 cookbooks, including Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking which introduced his creative take on Creole cuisine. His latest cookbook, Cooking with Power, was released in October 2013.
In 2002, Lagasse established the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support children’s educational programs that inspire and mentor young people through the culinary arts, nutrition, healthy eating, and important life skills. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $5.5 million to children’s causes in New Orleans, Las Vegas and on the Gulf Coast. In 2013, Lagasse was named the Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation for his dedicated efforts to further the culinary arts in America, as well as his philanthropic work supporting children’s educational programs through his Foundation.
Lagasse's restaurant company, Emeril's Homebase, is located in New Orleans and houses culinary operations, a test kitchen for recipe development, and a boutique store for his signature products.
Emeril Lagasse joined the Martha Stewart family of brands in 2008; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) acquired the assets related to Emeril’s media and merchandising business, including television programming, cookbooks, the Emerils.com website and his licensed kitchen and food products.
Chef de Cuisine
Armed with more than 20 years of experience in the culinary arts, Ryan Vargas took the helm at Emeril's Tchoup Chop at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando as chef de cuisine in October 2013. Vargas, a Hawaii native, joined Emeril's Tchoup Chop after spending about 13 years leading the kitchens at some of the island's top resorts, including the Four Seasons Resort in Hualalai and the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua Maui. Before moving to Orlando, Vargas also led the kitchen at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Fla., where in 2011 he was voted as "Palm Beach County Best Chef" by the Palm Beach Post.
Growing up on the island of O'ahu in Hawaii, Vargas looked up to his father, who was the Master Chief Chef for the U.S. Navy, and inherited his love of great cuisine. "He would take me to the mess hall, and I recall being excited and amazed with the sights, sounds and smells," Vargas remembers. "I knew at the age of 5 that I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps."
Complementing Executive Chef Emeril Lagasse's bold and fresh flavors, Vargas describes his style of cooking as "fun and whimsical, classics-with-a-twist, and not complicated but refined." His techniques and styles reflect the melting pot of island life, mixing different Asian cuisines with Pacific Island influences.
Classically trained, Vargas graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y. in 1991 with an associate's degree in Culinary Arts. He lives in Orlando with his wife, Rhonda, and their three children, Lakea, Lilinoe and Rocco.
A seasoned veteran of Emeril Lagasse’s Orlando restaurants with experience in all facets of front of house operations, Andy Vaughn today serves as the general manager of Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando®. As GM, Vaughn is in charge of all front of house operations and team management for the restaurant.
Vaughn joined the Emeril’s team as a buser at Emeril’s Orlando in 2002, quickly being promoted to back then front waiter before joining the management team about two years later. Vaughn served as the restaurant’s dining room manager for several years, where he also expanded his knowledge of and palate for wine. In 2008, he was promoted to sommelier of the restaurant, in charge of its award-winning wine list. Vaughn was promoted to general manager at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop in December 2013.
Originally from Annapolis, Md., Vaughn’s family moved to Eustis, Fla. while he was in high school. After graduation, Vaughan served as a First Class Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy for four years, deploying for two tours of duty in the Middle East. After finishing his military service in 2000, Vaughn returned to Orlando, where he still lives with his wife, Sami, and their son, Wesley.