How do we take mass media and make it intimate – make it teach us one-by-one what we want to learn or make it entertain us as individuals?
Emeril Lagasse has been wrestling with that question – and his latest answer is Emeril’s Table, premiering on Monday Sept. 26 on the Hallmark Channel at 11:00 and 11:30 AM ET/PT. Emeril has gone from yelling “Bam!” to a large studio audience to addressing five guests sitting at his studio bar. Super Chef caught a sneak peak of the first episode, “Homemade Pasta” in which Emeril shares recipes for Cheese Ravioli in Rich Sage Butter Sauce and Gluten Free Pasta with Pancetta and Marinara Sauce.
In the show four siblings and one of their wives chat about Italian favorites. Two guests get to help make the dishes and they all try them. The ravioli is more instructive, especially since it isn’t easy to get right – and certainly Emeril’s student doesn’t quite master it on the first try. That’s fine since the audience probably won’t either – but the idea is not to give up, to learn how to fix mistakes, and to learn what the dough should look like – and not be afraid of trying the recipe at home. Emeril is ready to answer his guest’s questions – he knows his subject well, and shows off confidence. There is no gaarlick here, no Bam!, but plenty of Emeril’s signature “Yeah, Baby” when things go well.
Super Chef joined a group interview of Emeril and was able to ask both about children guests and the change to a small audience.
Super Chef: Do you change your cooking for kids?
Emeril Lagasse: But as far as my cooking style, my presentation to them, my menu with them would not be any different because they’re 10 or 12 years old.
SC: And you are going to be having kids on Emeril’s Table?
Emeril: Absolutely. We’ve had children on already in a couple of different age groups. When they’re a little younger than, you know, 7 or 8 it’s a different challenge. It brings on a different challenge just because for the most part, you know, 4 or 5 year olds; they have just a little shorter attention span. So you can’t be dragging things out for hours. You’ve got to get it done.
But 8, 9, 10, 14; we’ve had those kids on. They’re into it. They want to know; they want to learn; they’re inquisitive. Most of them have been in the kitchen like your son with a parent. Most of them really are trying to enhance the family table themselves. Most of them are involved with food shopping which is also very important.
So, you know, my philosophy is this. You know, kids are the future. They’re tomorrow, they’re next week, they’re next year, and next month, and you have to invest in that in order for it to evolve.
SC: How have you adjusted to a smaller crowd?
Emeril: You know, for me it’s much more intimate for me with this show. And it’s sort of like, you know, Emeril’s grown up and it’s like a lot more adult kind of show meaning that, you know, I’m serious but yet, you know, a little bit experienced so I’m not so, you know, TV worried.
I’m doing what I love to do and what I do every day, which is cook. I’m crossing boundaries that I normally wouldn’t have done when I was younger but I am now because I’m a lot more experienced meaning particularly with ethnic foods and techniques.
Emeril: And I’m just downright trying to share that and share that love that I have for what I’m doing.
SC: Emeril’s Table seems a little less scripted so you don’t know what they’re going to be asking – and you’re prepared for almost any question because of your experience. And things are slightly toned down because it’s a smaller group. You don’t have to be quite as boisterous to get them really excited. Is that correct?
Emeril: You hit it right on the head. It’s a mature cooking show and I don’t mean that from at all being a snob because I’m not a food snob at all but it really is. It is a very mature, very intellectual, very right-on with cooking whatever the subject is but there’s humor. There’s not a lot of bam-bam, thank you ma’am. It’s just, you know, real downright cooking and education about the subject of what we’re doing.