"Emeril's Florida" will put South Walton in the spotlight this Sunday on the Cooking Channel.
The program will feature several restaurants in South Walton and the area in general, including Bud & Alley's, Fish Out of Water, and Stinky's. The famous chef even made two filmed visits to Seaside Neighborhood School.
The program will feature the superstar chef cooking local fare at the restaurants.
Dave Rauschkolb, owner of Bud & Alley's, said Lagasse assisted Bud & Alley's Chef David Bishop in preparing their signature crab cakes, barbecue shrimp, and an oyster dish.
"A big crowd came to watch and it was a lot of fun," said Rauschkolb. "I have always been a great admirer of his, and we were extremely pleased to be included."
Rauschkolb said having two chefs in his kitchen at once was not a problem.
"Emeril and David had a good rapport. Emeril has eaten at Bud & Alley's for years. In real life, Emeril is very gracious and funny and a great guy to be around," said Rauschkolb, who was also filmed and interviewed about the history of Bud & Alley's.
"It's great that he is shining a spotlight on 30A with this show. The more foodies who see this area on TV, the more exposure, and the more people who will come here and to our restaurants," said Rauschkolb, who said he will be watching the show's premier.
Seaside Neighborhood School Principal Cathy Brubaker is another who will be watching on Sunday.
"Emeril and his film crew came to the school last April and did a cooking demo and tour of our school's edible garden. He filmed students working in the garden and he talked to them about it. He also talked to me about the idea for the garden, how it is implemented into the curriculum, about the school in general and the idea for the charter school and how it performs statewide," said Brubaker.
Brubaker said the school promotes healthy eating and uses produce from the garden to teach kids about fresh veggies.
"He's really big into it in New Orleans and has an edible garden there. It's a real hot button for him," she said.
Brubaker found the famed chef to be very engaging, friendly, and personable.
"He seemed to enjoy talking to the kids," she said.
During his demo there in April he cooked fish and prepared a fresh salad and green beans picked from the school's garden. He also talked about his show with the kids and where his phrase "BAM!" came from. He said it came from taping a lot of shows in one staging and he began inserting "BAM!" to wake up the crew, said Brubaker.
Emeril also embarked on a charter fishing trip from the Baytowne Wharf Marina at Sandestin and cooked up dinner right on the docks. One local segment also featured Florida Governor, Rick Scott. And, he also visited Mac Farms, located in Santa Rosa Beach, to view the locally grown and distributed herbs and vegetables. Many restaurants in the area receive their produce from Mac Farms that utilizes a hydroponic style of farming.
Lagasse, who serves as host and executive producer for the show, will prepare several different dishes and recipes that will be available for the Walton County Tourist Development Council to share on its website. The TDC paid $150,000 for 30 minutes of original content, which took a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners to approve on Aug. 8, 2012.
Emeril now resides at Sandestin with his family.
“The show is about what this great state offers,” Lagasse has said. “So, it’s not just about cooking, it’s not just restaurants, although that’s a nice chunk of it. But it’s about the beaches, it’s about fishing, it’s about farming, it’s about the agriculture. When people think about Florida, of course, they think about sunshine and how beautiful it is. But they don’t really know the variety, the extent of what is really here. There’s so much here it’s incredible.”
The show is expected to be seen in more than 90 million households all over the United States and in millions more throughout the world. The first of 13 episodes aired this past Sunday highlighting dining and entertainment in Orlando. The Cooking Channel episode featuring South Walton will air on Jan. 13 at 9:30 a.m. It will re-run on Jan. 14 at 9:30 a.m. and Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m. Future episodes will also feature segments involving South Walton.