Emeril Lagasse is a certified megastar. He has a self-titled kingdom, which consists of multiple restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows, packaged goods and a charitable foundation. Lagasse's well-branded empire is conservatively estimated to be worth more than $70 million and is the direct result of his hard work and tenacity.
As a teenager, he worked at a Portuguese bakery in his New England hometown, where he learned to make bread and pastries. He enrolled in the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University, and at the age of 23 was offered a job in New Orleans as the executive chef at the Commander's Palace restaurant. In 1990, he "kicked it up a notch" by opening his first Emeril's Restaurant. Then in 1992, the fledgling Food Network came knocking.
He made his debut on the network with "Essence of Emeril," for which Lagasse was originally paid $50 per episode. His other show, "Emeril Live," is now in syndication. The success of these two shows put the Food Network on the map and made Lagasse a household name. His fans can attest that Emeril definitely gives you a lot of "bam!" for your buck.