‘MasterChef: Legends’: Emeril Lagasse on Working With Gordon Ramsay, Learning Every Day and More
“Gordon and I have been friends a long time, and he has been trying to get me to do the show for quite a while, but it’s never worked between his schedule [and] my schedule, and this just happened to work,” Lagasse tells TV Insider. “It was absolutely time well worth spent waiting because it was a fabulous experience. I had an absolute blast being around Gordon.”
And he quite enjoyed working with his friend, whom he calls “very passionate about what he does,” explaining, “this guy is the real deal, and he’s a great restauranteur, a great chef, and a really great mentor. He has lots of wit about it and how he goes about it, but it is fantastic. I was just so pleased to be a part of it.”
Lagasse joins Ramsay, chef Aarón Sánchez, and renowned restaurateur Joe Bastianich as the iconic culinary legend in the premiere of Season 11. (Paula Deen, Roy Choi, Nancy Silverton, and Morimoto will also appear during the season.) Only 15 of the best home cooks in America have the chance to impress with all new challenges, including a head-to-head battle with Ramsay. The winner will claim the MasterChef title, the $250,000 grand prize, a complete Viking kitchen and kitchen tools, and bakeware products from OXO.
For Lagasse, his focus was on mentoring the contestants. “I cook every day and I’m very passionate about what I do and feel very strongly about what I do,” he says.
He saw was how much the world of cooking has changed and “the level of where these young cooks are,” he continues. “I look back 20, 30 years ago of where it was then and where it is now, and it’s really, really impressive to see the amount of knowledge already that these young cooks have and the passion that they have and where they want to go. Some of them need adjustments, but most of them, it’s really great to see.”
Learning is just part of the industry, the chef explains. “I tell people if you don’t learn every day, you’re cheating yourself because there’s so much to learn in this industry. There’s so much to learn with food to try to master — no pun intended — every day. That’s my attitude and that’s how I look at it. When I hang up with you, I’m going back to my restaurant and getting ready for service tonight, and it’s like, ‘What am I going to learn? What am I going to bring? Also, who am I going to mentor today? And who am I going to teach something to? I think that’s a lot also about what the show stands for too.”
MasterChef: Legends, Season Premiere, Wednesday, June 2, 8/7c, Fox