I had the rare pleasure of dining in his New Orleans flagship restaurant last week gratis as part of the National Restaurant Association Marketing Exectuive Group meeting.
To my surprise, Emeril flouted any notion I had of celebrity chef (chef, notwithstanding, Emeril is a Celebrity) and took the evening quite seriously, spending most of it sweating it out in the kitchen. Not actually cooking, mind you, but taking a commander's role in overseeing the craft and delivery of his culinary experience. It was great to see someone who's reached such stature in his field still taking the time (and obvious) pleasure in its sincerest expression - entertaining people with food. Despite the outsized image he's created, Emeril is obviously not too big for his own britches and hasn't forgetten where he came from.