From NOLA.com- the website of the New Orleans Times-Picayune
High-powered cooking: Martha Stewart appears with Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans
Posted by Judy Walker, Food editor, The Times-Picayune October 23, 2008 4:44AM
Categories: Breaking News, Living: Food, Top News
AP file photo
Martha Stewart presents celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse with a birthday cake made entirely out of Rice Krispie treats, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008. The cake was fashioned in the shape of a golf course green after Emeril's passion for golf.In February, Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse cooked up a business deal. On Friday, the two will cook -- really cook -- together for the first time in New Orleans.
At a gala to benefit the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, they will prepare a recipe from her new book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School." The gala is being held in conjunction with the opening of two Macy's stores here, at Lakeside Shopping Center and at The Esplanade. And Stewart and Lagasse are just two of the mega-watt stars of the culinary world coming to town for this weekend's festivities.
But it is Martha Stewart who has become an icon in her own time. Who else is invoked as the epitome, as in "My friend is the Martha Stewart of neighborhood shrimp boils," or "I'm not Martha Stewart, but I like to arrange flowers"?
During a telephone interview to promote her appearance for the department store, which carries a line of her housewares, linens, dinnerware and cookware, Stewart's famous voice was calm and modulated.
She said she has not been to New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.
"I'm anxious to come down and see that things are getting back on track, as I hear they are," she said.
But it is primarily a business trip. In addition to doing the Friday cooking demonstration, Stewart will sign her book from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Macy's Lakeside.
She and Lagasse, the area's own high-wattage culinary star, teamed up earlier this year when he sold his line of branded products (retaining his 11 restaurants) to her company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock.
"It's working out very well," Stewart said of the partnership.
"Emeril is working very hard, as usual. He's very entrepreneurial, a very hardworking man. He and Tony Cruz, his partner, are wonderful additions to our company. We look forward to all his products, and we've been working with him on the development of his new series of books he's doing for Harcourt Brace.
"The reason he and I work so well together is we can bounce ideas off each other. We're not competitive. We're very cooperative. He appeals to a different audience. I think we broaden our audiences by this liaison."
In September, Stewart's company announced that Lagasse and HarperStudio are collaborating on a multiyear, 10-book project. The first book, on indoor and outdoor grilling, will be published in time for Father's Day 2009.
While she's in Louisiana, "we'll have a shrimp boil, which is one of my favorite things in the whole world," Stewart said. "I'm going to visit my little haunts, go to Lucullus, which is one of my favorite shops." Patrick Dunne, the owner of the culinary antiques shop in the French Quarter, is an old friend, she added.
"I'll just look around and eat some good food," she said. "And have a Sazerac or two."
Her own new book is accompanied by a new "Cooking School" segment on her TV show, "The Martha Stewart Show," which airs at 1:05 a.m. weekdays on WGNO-TV. Episodes are repeated the following weeknight at 7 p.m. on the Fine Living Network, available locally on Cox (Ch. 356) and Charter (Ch. 158) cable, DirecTV (Ch. 232) and the Dish Network (Ch. 113) satellite.
The new book, at 504 pages, was a long time in the making, Stewart said. Each recipe in it, she explained, "teaches a technique or a point or an important lesson in the preparation of food that, once mastered, everybody will be able to cook."
And being able to cook healthful meals at home is more important now, in the current economy, than ever before, she said.
The recipe for salt-crusted fish uses three pounds of kosher salt, which used to be 89 cents a box, Stewart said. Now, it's about $3 a pound.
"You have to use that good coarse kosher salt, which isn't as salty as regular table salt. And the fish is just so succulent and tender and wonderful. And it's easy. This is an easy dish," she said. "And when you bring it to the table, the presentation just astonishes people."
On the telephone, Stewart's voice reflects her enthusiasm also for her blog, www.marthastewart.com. She takes most of the pictures for it herself.
"Isn't it fun?" she said. "We are very interested in giving sort of educated information to our readers and our Internet users. .¤.¤. So the blog is really my way of giving them a glimpse of what I do on a daily basis that's not necessarily public or well known."
The day of the interview, she had taken a tour of all the new barns in her neighborhood, she said, and was planning to blog about interesting techniques different barn owners had used.
Besides Lagasse and Stewart, other familiar foodie figures who will be on the red carpet at the Macy's opening gala are chefs Tyler Florence, Dave Lieberman and Cat Cora, who is an American Iron Chef. They also will do tastings and sign their books Saturday at