Point of View

January 12, 2010, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Celebrity Chef

I’ve been there on a thousand other Saturday nights.  A large pot of water boiling on the stove in anticipation of the crowd walking in, taking their seats, ready to be fed, to be comforted, to be satisfied and to be full.  I keep thinking its Saturday night, always the busiest night. Will the crowd be pleased? Will the gratification be instant? Can we keep up the pace?  I wonder why I am anxious.   This isn’t my kitchen!  To a chef though, all kitchens are their kitchens, familiar turf.  All the excitement and anticipation and preparation are common among us.  Pleasing people is what we do, what we strive for, what keeps us loving being back behind the line, pressured, hot, and moving at a frantic pace. 

I’m excited as Emeril Lagasse takes the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center.  Emeril is a hero in this chef’s world, someone who has made his own success– restaurants, television shows, best-selling cookbooks, and product lines. I have to ask myself, success at what expense? I relate to his shy, introspective nature.  I cook, I create, I ‘m not a story teller, well only in the kitchen.  I too was influenced as a child by my mother’s cooking and found it difficult to find a job without French training.  He and I have a lot in common.

Into his element, Emeril steps behind the stove.   It was amazing to watch him move around an impromptu kitchen—albeit a highly theatrical stage kitchen—with such comfort and ease.  I start to relax, sit back in my seat knowing that he was in his comfort zone and quintessential Emeril.  In the kitchen he is home. 

Emeril’s message was simple and one that every water boiler can take away with them.

We are busy people and good, local, fresh, healthy and tasty doesn’t mean slaving in a kitchen for hours. 

As Emeril cooked and the show came to a close that ingrained Saturday night tension slowly dissipated as it did each and every week. I could relax, the crowd was pleased and I was full.

The writer owned and operated restaurants in the New York City area for over 25 years and is now retired and living in South Florida.

Celebrity Chef Returns
October 28, 2009, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Celebrity Chef

The 2009-2010 season return of the CELEBRITY CHEF SERIES, presented in partnership with the recognized leader in career education, Johnson & Wales University (JWU), features internationally acclaimed chefs.  The widely popular three-part CELEBRITY CHEF SERIES features culinary arts maestros such as Ingrid Hoffmann, Anthony Bourdain and Emeril Lagasse, among several other highly recognized chefs, engaging in onstage intimate interviews, cooking demonstrations and a Q & A interaction with the audience.


However, what’s cooking behind-the-scenes is just as exciting!  One hundred JWU high-performing students indulge in this once-in-a-lifetime monumental opportunity to rub shoulders with some of their all-time favorite culinary arts greats.

“As a Culinary Arts Major at Johnson & Wales University, my experiences with the Celebrity Chef Series have been unforgettable landmarks in my collegiate career,” said Dana Beninati, a JWU student. “The opportunity to interact and cook with elite culinarians such as Daisy Martinez and Ingrid Hoffman has provided me with valuable inspiration that will continue to motivate in the pursuit of my dreams,” added Beninati.

The students feast on several up-close-and-personal experiences.  Prior to the event, the students enjoy a sit-down family style dinner with the chefs, where they get the opportunity to ask career questions and learn tricks of the trade.  During the event, students act as sous chefs—preparing the on-stage featured dishes and samples for the exclusive post-show VIP cocktail hour.  Lastly, a select group of high-achieving students share the stage spotlight with the role model chefs during the live event cooking demonstrations.


The CELEBRITY CHEF SERIES takes place at 8 P.M. in the John S. And James L. Knight Concert Hall. The next two shows take place on November 13, when Anthony Bourdain hosts Jacques Pépin and Eric Ripert, and January 9 with Emeril Lagasse

To purchase tickets or for more information on subscriptions, please contact the Adrienne Arsht Center box office at 305.949.6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.

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