Emeril Lagasse is not all onomatopoeia and elaborate recipes. On the recent episode of HBO’s Treme, Lagasse takes Janette Desautel (played by Kim Dickens) on a visit to Uglesich’s, where he shares hard-won wisdom that comes from managing a successful restaurant and being a celebrity chef.
If there is a certain reflexivity in Lagasse talking about the travails of the restaurant business, it has everything to do with Anthony Bourdain, who wrote the part for him.
Bourdain has made fun of Lagasse in the past, but has since gotten to know him. As he told the Times-Picayune, he wanted to reveal Lagasse as “older, ‘darker,’ sadder, with the burden of years of responsibility for hundreds of people—an empire—on his shoulders… also generous and loyal to his friends.”
Uglesich’s is symbolic in this scene. As Lagasse explains, the shuttered New Orleans restaurant, known for its creative mix of high-end dining in a down home setting, represents a concerted choice to stay small.
You can watch the scene over at Eater.