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Emeril Lagasse: 5 things I can't live without

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Photo: Sara Black

You know you’ve become a legend when the world knows you simply by your first name. Such is the case with Emeril, who has done just about as much as any chef in America to elevate food and the profession of cooking in this country. He came to prominence in 1982 when he succeeded Paul Prudhomme as executive chef of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Since then he has created an empire that consists of 13 restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte and Bethlehem, PA. He is a national TV personality who has hosted more than 2,000 shows on the Food Network and is the food correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America. He’s also the author of 18 best-selling cookbooks. In 2013, Lagasse was named the Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation for his efforts to further the culinary arts in America as well as his philanthropic work supporting children’s educational programs.

1. Celery salt. I use it in almost everything. People don’t usually guess that it’s in there, but I can tell you that it adds oomph to many dishes. My test kitchen team was very surprised when I shared this secret with them.

2. Electric deep fryer. It helps me fry things at the proper temperature, and that’s the most important part of frying. Fry right or don’t fry at all.

3. Instant-read thermometer. It takes the guess work out of cooking meats to the perfect temperature.

4. The Way to Cook. I don’t often need to pull out a cookbook, because at home I cook very simply for my family, but when I do need a reference for something, I take a look at Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. Her recipes never disappoint and are so well-written.

5. Immersion blender. I was so happy when immersion blenders came on the market. In my restaurants they are indispensable. At home, if you’re making a smooth soup or puree, they come in handy and are a real time-saver, too.

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