Home base is the support system where we have a culinary team, my own writers because of the shows and the books and stuff, we have a culinary team of about six people. Marketing, public relations, accounting and all that sort of stuff.
We're setting up an urban farm for kids on more than 20 acres in New Orleans. We want to make this a world-class educational center for the community.
My favorite Aspen memory is saving an upside-down cake that had exploded from the high altitude.
I was on the board of Andre Agassi's foundation, and seeing the way it operated blew my mind. In 2002, I told my wife, I want to start a foundation to give back, I want it to be for kids in hard circumstances, and I want it to be culinary-driven, because that's who I am.
I can't tell you enough about cinnamon. Cinnamon is an awesome spice to use and it goes great with something like apples in the morning or in a mixture of fruit or in your oatmeal or even in your cereal.
I have a lot of influences. I'm American-schooled. I'm classically trained. I'm a pretty universal student, if you will. I have a lot of degrees, which really don't pay the rent. I have two doctorate degrees, I have a bachelor's degree, but I'm still a cook.
Whether it's books or TV, or whatever the case may be, the backbone of what I do is my restaurants.
I grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts. My background was modest, and I worked at a Portuguese bakery in town.
You have to be cautious of eating continuously the same thing. Beef comes to mind right away, and there's nothing wrong with beef, but you've got to do whatever you're doing in moderation. So try to break it up a little bit. Eat some fish or some shellfish at least a couple of times a week.
I think all kids need snacks. Mine are fruit machines. I give them things like apple slices, berries and melon. Do I let them eat ice cream? Absolutely. But not every day.
I think you have to be careful with spices. Kids' palates can be very delicate, and they might not like things overspiced. In my cookbooks for kids, I do a milder version of my signature spice blend, Emeril's Essence, called Baby Bam, which has no cayenne pepper.
You can easily put together your own favorite spice blend, whether that's a salt and pepper mixture or you're adding herbs to it or Creole spice. Just watch out for the sodium content. That why I encourage you to make your own.
You go to a restaurant in the States and kids have these game boards at the table. You don't see that in Italy or Spain. It's not because they can't afford to buy them, it's because that's not what eating together as a family is about.
I respected it. I submerged myself into it. So on a lot of days off I would go and fish with the fishermen and the families that ran the boats. I would go work the fields with farmers. I would go and talk with farmers about growing particular products for me.
Start with a clean grill. Keep it clean by brushing with a wire brush after preheating, and again after cooking. Make sure to oil your grates and your food before putting it on the grill to keep it from sticking.
My food is Louisiana, New Orleans-based, well-seasoned, rustic. I think it's pretty unique because of my background being influenced by my mom, Portuguese and French Canadian. There's a lot going on there.
When I want to kick it up, I like to add hardwood chips or chunks to the grill; it adds bold smoky flavors. The most common woods are hickory and mesquite, but you can find alder, apple, cherry and, my personal favorite, pecan.
When I cook with my son, I might chop vegetables and have fun with different shapes. Cooking is a way to teach kids about other things, like reading or math with all of the weights and measures. There are so many things that are part of cooking that are also very educational.
Scatter soaked hardwood chunks over your coals for a quick and easy way to add a smoky nuance to your grilled foods.
I love fresh citrus and always keep lemons, limes, and oranges on hand; they come in handy for spritzing up quickly grilled meats, seafoods, and vegetables, especially when followed up by a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.