Chef Emeril Lagasse received his first culinary experience from his mother, Hilda, when he was a boy growing up in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts. As a teenager, he worked at a Portuguese bakery where he mastered the art of bread and pastry baking. Upon high school graduation, Lagasse was offered a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music, but decided to pursue a career as a professional chef.
Chef de Cuisine
Joshua Laskay is a native New Orleanian. From an early age, his parents cultivated a deep love of global cuisine through their travels. His father constantly encouraged him to experiment with new foods and helped develop a life-long love of cooking and an adventurous palate.
Laskay started his career in the restaurant industry following high school, first as a bartender and before moving into the kitchen as a line cook. Before long, he was hired at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA Restaurant as a butcher. In the spring of 2004, Laskay was promoted to sous chef. Following Hurricane Katrina he served as sous chef at Emeril’s Orlando for a short stint before returning to his hometown. In 2007, he was promoted to executive sous chef at NOLA.
In July 2009, Laskay was selected to become chef de cuisine at NOLA and now leads the culinary team at Lagasse’s bustling French Quarter outpost. Today, he continues to explore the complexities of New Orleans’ Creole and Acadian cuisine – with its blend of French, Spanish, German and African influences. At NOLA, he experiments with a global palate, blending ethnic flavors such as Vietnamese and Southwestern cuisine with fresh, local ingredients indigenous to Louisiana’s Creole traditions.
Averriel Thomas has been at the forefront of New Orleans’ most prestigious restaurants for the past 25 years. He now brings his passion and understanding of the authentic New Orleans Creole traditions to NOLA – Chef Emeril’s eclectic outpost in the historic French Quarter.
Thomas began his career in 1980 at the same establishment where Chef Emeril Lagasse made his mark on New Orleans cuisine – the legendary Commander’s Palace. After more than 13 years with Commander’s, Thomas rejoined Lagasse at his flagship restaurant Emeril’s New Orleans as dining room and back-house manager. In 1998, Lagasse acquired Delmonico Restaurant and Bar, and enlisted Thomas to help re-establish ownership, supervise dining room operations and plan memorable events as assistant manager and private party coordinator.
In 2000, Thomas assumed the position of General Manager with one of New Orleans’ most well-known chefs, Susan Spicer, at her newest joint venture Herbsaint. In 2003, Thomas joined Smith & Wollensky as General Manager.
In June 2009, Thomas rejoined the company as Chef Emeril Lagasse appointed him to oversee all aspects of his Emeril’s French Quarter outpost NOLA Restaurant; the culmination of years of service inside the city’s best fine dining establishments.