James Beard Award winner
Location: New Orleans, LA
Establishment: Emeril's New Orleans, Emeril's Delmonico, NOLA Restaurant, E2 Emeril's Eatery, E2GO, Emeril's Orlando, Emeril's Tchuop Chop, Emeril's New Orlean's Fish House, Delmonico Steakhouse, Table 10, Legasse's Stadium, Emeril's Chop House, Emeril's Italian Table, Burgers and More by Emeril
Why he's a big deal: He was offered a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music but instead attended Johnson & Wales where he was later awarded an honorary doctorate degree. He is known for his New Orleans cuisine and is a recipient of Wine Spectator's "Grand Award" and James Beard Foundation's "Best Southeast Regional Chef" as well as "Humanitarian of the Year". He was named "Chef of the Year" by GQ magazine and one of People magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year." He is the owner of 13 restaurants from coast to coast and author of 18 cookbooks. He is currently a judge on Bravo's Top Chef and TNT's On the Menu.