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TV chef Emeril talks boudin, beer and New Orleans

Associated Press Modified: October 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm •  Published: October 31, 2012

Lagasse said it wasn't hard to lure the award-winning chefs to New Orleans.

"New Orleans is one of the greatest food cities in the country, if not the world," he said.

Lagasse has lived in New Orleans for 30 years. In the early 1980s, he served as executive chef at Commander's Palace before opening his own restaurants.

"I fell in love with the city, the food, the culture. It's why I'm still here," he said.

Lagasse has three restaurants in New Orleans and nine others across the U.S.

He launched his TV career on the Food Network in the mid-1990s, popularizing his catchphrase "Bam!" He also made it to the big screen, lending his voice to the character of Marlon the Gator in the New Orleans-set 2009 Disney film, "The Princess and the Frog."

Lagasse is returning as a celebrity judge on the 10th season of Bravo's "Top Chef," which premieres on Nov. 7. He's also hosting a Cooking Network show airing in January called "Emeril's Florida," which he says will resemble a travel show of interesting people and places along the state's Panhandle and down to the Florida Keys.

Lagasse just released a new cookbook, "Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches," which includes more than 100 sandwich recipes, including a fried soft-shell crab po-boy with lemon caper spread and a classic roast beef with French onion dip.