Vol. 1, Issue 30, December 9, 2003
The Secret's Out: It's Emeril Lagasse, Ph.D.
Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has admitted today that allegations made by the New Orleans Times Picayune last week are true, and that he does, in fact, possess a doctorate.
"You know, people do all kinds of crazy things when they're young. Some people get tattoos and stuff. Me, I spent a little extra time hittin' the books," said a grim-faced Lagasse as he faced reporters in an impromptu press conference convened outside the Food Network studios in New York City, where he tapes his popular cooking show "Emeril Live."
Emeril is one of the most famous chefs in the business today, with multiple hit cooking shows and several best-selling books to his credit. His down-to-earth, enthusiastic approach to Louisiana cuisine has propelled him to stardom.
"He has a real people's touch," said Food Network executive Judith Morris. "You'll never see Martha Stewart cooking live in front of a hundred people, playing to the crowd and yelling 'BAM' when throwing an extra touch of saffron to a gourmet paella. Emeril's the kind of guy you'd want to hang out with and have a few beers."
It is precisely for this reason that the revelation of Emeril's advanced degree is troubling. Apparently a disciple of famed philosopher Martin Heidegger, Emeril's doctoral dissertation concerns the theory and practice of phenomenological hermeneutics.
"There is a deeper rationale behind my use of a live studio audience," admitted Emeril. "The bringing of a message - in this case, a cooking lesson - actually involves listening as well, and is therefore a sort of intersubjective dialogue between me, the interpreter, and the audience, my interpretant, in which true being emerges."
"But, you know, you don't need to print that, okay? Because people might take exception to the expression of deeper meaning in the show. They just like me to keep it real and be a regular guy."
Fans were dismayed to learn of the chef's academic achievements.
"You know, Emeril was the only chef who made me feel like I could maybe do what he was doing too, you know?"said studio audience member Harriet Fenmore. "Not that I cook or anything, but I could do it like him. And then he kicks it up a notch, and I'd do that too if I was cooking. But now, I don't know. What the heck is a 'hermeneutic?'"
Emeril promised that his academic work has not and will not intrude on his cooking show.
"Don't you worry. All language may be poetry, including recipes, but that doesn't mean we need to dwell on the fact. Hey, let's forget about subjectism and linguistic mediation for a while, and just kick it up another notch!"
The Food Network declined to comment on whether Emeril's contract will be affected by the revelation. Some audience members, however, have already made up their minds.
"Forget the professor here. I'm going back to Iron Chef USA," said Fenmore.