Emeril Lagasse Named James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

JWU alum, world-renowned chef Emeril Lagasse has been named the James Beard Foundation’s 2013 Humanitarian of the Year.JWU alum, world-renowned chef and television personality Emeril Lagasse '78, '90 Hon. has been named the James Beard Foundation’s 2013 Humanitarian of the Year.

Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, praised Emeril’s passionate advocacy for youth: “Through his own foundation, Emeril makes an incredible impact in communities where his restaurants operate by supporting key educational initiatives and culinary arts programs that create opportunities for children in need.”

“I’m humbled and honored to receive [this award],” said Emeril. “Over 10 years ago, I founded the Emeril Lagasse Foundation with the hope of giving back by exposing young people to the culinary arts — especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Over the years we’ve stayed true to our core values of education, mentorship, passion, creativity, self-discipline. I'm incredibly proud of the work we’ve done.”

Giving back is central to Emeril’s philosophy: since 2002, his charitable foundation has raised more than $5 million to fund educational programs for at-risk youth, including such as Cafe Reconcile, Edible Schoolyard NOLA and the culinary program at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA).

NOCCA’s Culinary Arts program was developed in collaboration with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and JWU’s College of Culinary Arts, which created the Center’s unique 4-year culinary curriculum for high school students. Learn more about JWU’s work with NOCCA.

Emeril is equally committed to helping deserving students at his alma mater. Since 2002, the Emeril Golf Classic at Johnson & Wales has raised more than $4.5 million for JWU culinary scholarships.

Lagasse will be honored at this year’s James Beard Awards, which take place on Monday, May 6 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.