Chef Emeril Lagasse is the chef/proprietor of 12 restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando and Bethlehem, Pa. 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.” In 2014, Lagasse participated in his third consecutive season as a main guest chef in Bravo’s hit food series, “Top Chef,” and joined TNT as co-host for their cooking series, On the Menu. Most recently, “Emeril’s Florida” entered its third season in January 2015 on the Cooking Channel.
Lagasse is the best-selling author of 18 cookbooks, with his 19th, Essential Emeril, slated to release in October 2015. 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.
In 2002, Emeril 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 distributed $5.7 million in grants for children’s charities in New Orleans, Las Vegas and on the Gulf Coast. For his philanthropic efforts, Emeril was named the 2013 Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation.
Chef de Cuisine
Chef Brian Mottola has spent 15-plus years cooking in award-winning restaurants such as Carpe Diem in Charlotte, Boulevard in San Francisco and Emeril’s in New Orleans. In September 2012, he took the helm of e2 emeril’s eatery in Charlotte, N.C., as its chef de cuisine.
Mottola’s love for cooking and great cuisine was first shaped around his family’s dinner table. He grew up in Madison, N.J., watching his Italian-born mother prepare family meals, mostly classic Italian dishes such as hearty lasagna, pastas and soups. “I grew up in a dinner-table family,” Mottola says. “Any time of day, that’s where you could find us.”
After graduating from the prestigious culinary school Johnson and Wales in 1997, Mottola began working as a line cook for renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse at his original restaurant in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. In 1999, Mottola moved to Las Vegas to help open Chef Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian Casino and Resort, where he served as the butcher and saucier. Next, he worked under Chef Nancy Oaks at her prestigious San Francisco restaurant, Boulevard.
Mottola eventually moved back to New Jersey to work as a sous chef at Café Matisse, and he later opened his own restaurant, Pop’s, in honor of his grandfather. He owned and operated Pop’s, serving Cajun, Creole and barbecue-style cuisine, until 2008 when he moved to Charlotte, N.C. Mottola first worked as the sous chef at Carpe Diem under Chef Paul Ketterhagen, before rejoining Emeril’s team to open e2 emeril’s eatery in January 2012 and serving as sous chef.
Mottola is hands-on in the kitchen, using only the best-quality local and regional ingredients to drive his seasonal menu and nightly specials. “We’ll regularly change the menu based on available local ingredients that are in season,” Mottola says. “I’m excited to continue Chef Emeril’s tradition of New Orleans cuisine featuring the great products available here in North Carolina.”
Milan, or Miki, Nikolic is the General Manager of Chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants in uptown Charlotte, N.C., e2 emeril’s eatery and e2GO, a quick-service breakfast and lunch outpost. With more than two decades of hospitality experience, Nikolic joined the Emeril’s family of restaurants in 2011, helping to open e2. Nikolic served as Bar Manager at e2, transforming Charlotte’s cocktail scene by introducing an abundance of local, fresh ingredients and hand-crafted cocktails. Nikolic was promoted to General Manger of e2 in August 2013.
Before moving to Charlotte, Nikolic managed the bar at Chef Mario Batali’s Carnevino in the Venetian l Palazzo Las Vegas for six years. He also has experience working in the dining rooms at B and B Ristorante in Las Vegas and Guy Savoy in Caesar’s Palace. Originally from Yugoslavia, Nikolic earned a degree in Culinary Arts from the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism in Belgrade and attended the Institute of Hotel Management, Food and Beverage Management. In 2013, Nikolic was named “Best Mixologist” in Charlotte magazine’s Best of the Best Awards.