13-episode series explores Florida's restaurants, beaches, lifestyle and more
Chef Emeril Lagasse digs deeper into the rich cuisine, stunning scenery and diverse culture of the Sunshine State in Cooking Channel's returning series "Emeril's Florida," premiering Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. In the second season, Emeril travels from the Atlantic to the Gulf to parts in between in his quest to discover the best local cuisine and the stories and people behind them. From farm-to-table purveyors in Orlando to the laid-back beach bars, grills and restaurants along Florida's coasts, Emeril highlights the unique lifestyle and varied cuisines that make the state a magnet for travelers from near and far.
"I'm thrilled to bring 'Emeril's Florida' back for its second season on Cooking Channel," Emeril said. "We discovered that we only scratched the surface of the fantastic food, history and physical beauty that make Florida such an incredible state, and that there's much more to explore."
In the premiere episode, "Coming to America," Emeril explores some of Florida's most treasured imports: restaurateurs and chefs who have immigrated from around the globe. He first meets up with Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka, owners of the Cress Restaurant in DeLand. Hari, who was born and raised in Mumbai, India, is a tenured math professor. Jenneffer is a world traveler and podiatric surgeon. Emeril finds out how the couple manages two successful full-time careers while still running one of the best restaurants in the state.
He also visits with Chef Jose Martinez, who relocated from Paris to Longboat Key on Florida's Gulf Coast. Emeril tries some of the delicious signature dishes at Martinez's critically acclaimed Maison Blanche restaurant, which serves French cuisine with an American twist.
Emeril then speaks with BT Nguyen, who was evacuated, along with her sister, from South Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in the mid-1970s. Now the owner of the highly acclaimed Restaurant BT in South Tampa, Nguyen shares the tale of her journey to America while Emeril samples some of her distinctive French-Vietnamese cuisine.
Lastly, Emeril talks to Tampa teenager Guillermo Quezada, who was named Top Florida High School Chef in the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association's ProStart 2013 Competition. Originally from the Dominican Republic, the high school senior talks with Emeril about his background and cooking influences, and gives the famed chef a taste of the dishes that wowed the competition judges.
Emeril is the chef/proprietor of 13 restaurants nationwide, with acclaimed restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, Bethlehem, Penn., and Charlotte, N.C. He has hosted more than 2,000 episodes on Food Network, and is the food correspondent for ABC's "Good Morning America." He is the best-selling author of 17 cookbooks. His latest cookbook, "Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches," debuted in October 2012.