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How to Kick Healthy Cooking Up a Notch

On television he extols bacon and butter, but at home, Emeril Lagasse cooks low-fat, vegetable-loaded dishes with his children.

Superstar chef Emeril Lagasse is famous for belting out phrases like "Pork fat rules!" on TV, but when he cooks for his family, vegetables rule. "A lot of parents ask me how to get kids to eat more vegetables," he says. "The first thing I say is that it starts from the top." At home, Lagasse leads by example, cooking healthy meals for his kids, four-year-old Emeril John (E.J.) and two-year-old Meril. Since every celebrity chef needs a sidekick, E.J. helps out while pretending to host his own version of Emeril Live. When Lagasse began noticing increased interest in cooking among children about four years ago, he started writing children's cookbooks. His third, There's a Chef in My World, includes kid-approved versions of international recipes, like grilled shrimp summer rolls. "Kids are now eating things like edamame and sushi," he says. "I didn't know what shiitake mushrooms were when I was 10—most kids today do." And helping children eat more healthfully has pushed Lagasse—who goes to the gym almost daily—to maintain his own well-being. "I've always been known for bold flavors and rustic cooking, but there is another side to me," he says. "As you evolve as a cook, you understand life and how serious it is. There comes a point where there's got to be a better balance."

Published August 2007
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