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Emeril Lagasse & Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

Before Guy Fieri took us to “Flavortown,” and before Bobby Flay dared us to “beat him,” there was “Bam!” and “Let’s kick it up a notch!” Those two catchphrases belonged to the inimitable Emeril Lagasse who, after tasting something he liked – usually after adding copious amounts of garlic – would approvingly proclaim, “Aw, yeah babe!” Before adding some spice to a dish, it was, “Feel the love.” Anything that had something to do with the pig would often elicit, “Pork fat rules!”

Emeril (he’s usually known by his first name only) was the first Food Network star, a perch he gave up nearly 17 years ago. At 64 years of age, he’s now a bit more relaxed, though he still throws the garlic in the pot as he explains the recipe on the Roku channel, where he helms two shows.

“It’s all about building layers of flavor,” he offers. 

That understanding translates easily to Emeril, one of the top chefs who love cigars.

Emeril’s Favorite Cigar

Emeril likes cigars and sells them at some of his restaurants. His current favorite is the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story. It seems like just the right size for someone so busy.

“It’s smooth, toasty and full of nutty, creamy flavors,” Emeril shared with Cigar Aficionado. “Although it’s a small cigar, it burns for a good 45 minutes.” 

Of course, Emeril samples other cigars. In 2016, when he was shooting a show in Cuba on its cuisine, Emeril felt the love for the Montecristo No. 2.

“I smoked the hell out of it,” he said. “Definitely one of my favorites to kick it up a notch with. Paired with an Old Fashioned, it’s perfectly smooth and a bit spicy.” 

Emeril explains that he loves the smell of cigars.

"There's something about the aroma, the perfume. I smoke them to enjoy them."

He adds that he loves Dominican cigars. When he has time, that includes the stronger Ashton VSG and the Fuente Fuente Opus X. Emeril really enjoys watching cigars being rolled, something he does when he visits Miami or Tampa.

“I love the experience,” he says, adding that he appreciates how long it takes for a cigar to go from seed to the finished product. “People don't understand all that goes into growing it, aging it, enjoying it. I get excited about that."

The Emeril Empire

These days, Emeril is always on the go. If he’s not shooting his cooking shows, he’s checking in on any of his nine restaurants spread across Las Vegas, New Orleans, Pennsylvania, and Florida. He’s got a website,, where you can find recipes and shop for Emeril books, cookware, small appliances, cutlery, shoes, and coffee. Emeril also has three “restaurants at sea” on the Carnival Cruise Lines ships, for which he also serves as a culinary consultant. Oh, let’s not forget “Emeril’s Essence,” the spice blend that seems to appear in every one of the chef’s Cajun recipes.

Emeril Gives

In addition to all the money-making ventures, Emeril is a philanthropist. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation, founded in 2002, supports creating opportunities for children, especially those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The foundation has distributed more than $6 million and counting. In 2013, Emeril was named the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year.

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