My philosophy from day one is that I can sleep better at night if I can improve an individual's knowledge about food and wine, and do it on a daily basis.
I make some of my best recipes with a simple homemade stock. Keep shrimp shells stored in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you have almost a gallon-bag full, you can make a stock in 30 minutes that you can use in soups and sauces. You can then freeze the stock in ice-cube trays.
Music is one of those things that is constantly going in my head all the time. It's sort of like the evolution and creation of doing food, or my philosophy about wine. It's always beating in my head, so it keeps the spirit moving.
I can't tell you enough about cinnamon. Cinnamon is an awesome spice to use and it goes great with something like apples in the morning or in a mixture of fruit or in your oatmeal or even in your cereal.
I love fresh citrus and always keep lemons, limes, and oranges on hand; they come in handy for spritzing up quickly grilled meats, seafoods, and vegetables, especially when followed up by a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
You go to a restaurant in the States and kids have these game boards at the table. You don't see that in Italy or Spain. It's not because they can't afford to buy them, it's because that's not what eating together as a family is about.
I try to teach my son about sanitation, especially when handling foods like chicken that could be dangerous. I remind him to wash his hands all the time. When my son cooks with me, he stands on a step stool so he can reach the stove. I teach him about safety and fire.
I guess I feel that I was following my instincts, and at the same time being guided by the best. I became totally intrigued with Louisiana - the people, the food. It is a part of my life. Everything that has happened for me since moving here has just been icing on the cake.
If kids can learn how to make a simple Bolognese sauce, they will never go hungry. It's pretty easy to cook pasta, but a good sauce is way more useful.
Home base is the support system where we have a culinary team, my own writers because of the shows and the books and stuff, we have a culinary team of about six people. Marketing, public relations, accounting and all that sort of stuff.
My inspiration was my mom. She's a great cook, and she still cooks, and we still banter back and forth about cooking. Growing up in a mostly Portuguese community, food was important and the family table was extremely important. At a very young age I understood that.
You have to be cautious of eating continuously the same thing. Beef comes to mind right away, and there's nothing wrong with beef, but you've got to do whatever you're doing in moderation. So try to break it up a little bit. Eat some fish or some shellfish at least a couple of times a week.
Wrap fish fillets, sliced veggies, and other quick-cooking items inside foil packets with bundles of fresh herbs and throw them directly on the grill; the steam will release the herb's perfume and flavor anything contained inside the pouch.
I think you have to be careful with spices. Kids' palates can be very delicate, and they might not like things overspiced. In my cookbooks for kids, I do a milder version of my signature spice blend, Emeril's Essence, called Baby Bam, which has no cayenne pepper.
When I want to kick it up, I like to add hardwood chips or chunks to the grill; it adds bold smoky flavors. The most common woods are hickory and mesquite, but you can find alder, apple, cherry and, my personal favorite, pecan.
You can easily put together your own favorite spice blend, whether that's a salt and pepper mixture or you're adding herbs to it or Creole spice. Just watch out for the sodium content. That why I encourage you to make your own.
Those other 10 o'clock shows that come on, all you get from them is headaches and nightmares when you go to bed! At least we give you food, know what I mean?
I'm working harder than ever now, and I'm putting on my pants the same as I always have. I just get up every day and try to do a little better than the day before, and that is to run a great restaurant with great food, great wine, and great service. That's my philosophy.
We'll be going to the fish market and a farmer's market this afternoon to get what we need to make and eat dinner as a family. I'm trying to expose my kids to going to a farmers market or the fish market and learning what that's all about.
When I cook with my son, I might chop vegetables and have fun with different shapes. Cooking is a way to teach kids about other things, like reading or math with all of the weights and measures. There are so many things that are part of cooking that are also very educational.