Founded in 2002 by Chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden,
Emeril Lagasse Foundation is a 501c(3) public charity headquartered in New Orleans. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education.
Since its inception, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted more than $14 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs.
Projects funded by the Foundation include an outdoor classroom, gardens, fresh foods cafeteria and teaching kitchen at Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, an accessible learning kitchen for special needs students at St. Michael Special School, a four-year culinary arts program for high school students at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Center at Café Reconcile, hospitality training at Liberty’s Kitchen for at-risk youth preparing healthy school meals, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Innovation Kitchen providing food service training for individuals with developmental disabilities at Arc Broward and much more.
In 2018 the Foundation launched its signature program, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen, a national education initiative created to enrich the lives of elementary and middle school children through a fun, fresh perspective on food.
Fundraising is a crucial part of the Foundation’s efforts and essential to achieving its mission. Funding for the Foundation’s programs is provided through individual and corporate donations, as well as annual fundraising events. Each fall, the Foundation hosts its signature annual fundraising weekend, which includes the black tie gala and top ranked charity wine auction, Carnivale du Vin, and the outdoor food and musical festival, Boudin, Bourbon & Beer. In the spring, the Foundation hosts Line, Vine & Dine, a weekend fishing tournament in Fort Lauderdale and the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown weekend, a spirited BBQ competition in Santa Rosa Beach.
We are inspiring kids to learn through food and giving them the resources, tools and knowledge to do so. There is so much need to reach kids outside of the traditional classroom. Preparing a meal, understanding where it comes from and sharing it with others is an experience that grounds and connects us all."
Chairman and Founder
Chef Emeril Lagasse’s passion for food was ignited as a young boy growing up in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts, where he spent time in the kitchen with his mother, Hilda.
In 1990, Lagasse set out on his own, opening Emeril’s Restaurant in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. Two years later, he opened NOLA Restaurant in the French Quarter. In 1995, Emeril brought his “New New Orleans” cooking to Las Vegas and opened Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, located in the MGM Grand Hotel.
As a national TV personality, he has hosted more than 2,000 shows on the Food Network, and is the food correspondent for ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Alden Lagasse is dedicated to helping children, supporting charities, managing her own business, and rearing two children. She is a native of Gulfport, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1989.
In 2002, Alden demonstrated her passion for helping children by co-founding the Emeril Lagasse Foundation with her husband. She has dedicated her time as a Board Member to creating and developing ideas that generate new opportunities for children. She has also co-chaired the capital campaign for the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, a children’s museum that focuses on performing arts and education for young children.