Emeril Lagasse, who became one of the first stars on the fledgling Food Network and introduced "Bam!" to the popular lexicon, nearly went broke a few years ago. His unlikely knight-in-shining-armor was none other than domestic diva, Martha Stewart.
Hurricane Katrina was the culprit. Lagasse has three New Orleans restaurants and lost at least one million dollars, with profits dropping by a third. Also, his 17-year run on Food Network was over. Adding insult to injury: his Mississippi home was destroyed. It was precipitous times for the celebrity chef who opened his first restaurant over twenty years ago. But in 2008 Martha swept off her white horse (with a perfectly braided mane) and purchased the rights to Lagasse's empire of cookbooks, televisions shows and kitchen products for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock.
"She showed up at a tough time when I thought the whole ship might be going down," Lagasse admitted during a recent interview. "Basically, what I have now is a business partner." "I don't have any regrets. The experience with Martha Stewart has been delightful. She's a smart lady and a hard worker. My little bit just fits into a corner of her empire, and I'm happy to be there."
Lagasse is once again back on top. He has a show on Sirius radio called "Cooking with Emeril," and has a business partnership with Allen Brothers which will sell Emeril's Red Marble Steaks. They'll be available online next month.
Finally he's back in the medium that made him a star -- T.V. His new television show began this week on ION Television.
We missed our "Bam!" It's good to have them back.