Celebrity chef gives back to Hawaii's military members

By Leland Kim bio | email

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - Hawaii's military celebrates Flag Day with a world-renowned chef. Culinary superstar Emeril Lagasse was at the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor to sign his new book Sunday afternoon, but it was also to honor our troops.

Hundreds of service members and their families eagerly waited in line for a chance to meet one of their idols. It's not a singer or an actor, but internationally renowned chef Emeril Lagasse.

"It's wonderful," said U.S. Navy 1st Lt. Stephanie Wright. "It's wonderful to have a celebrity come out and appreciate the military and give special time to the military."

Lagasse just published "Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Season," his first new book in four years. He says it's the perfect cookbook for the islands.

"What better place to grill than in Hawaii?" said Lagasse. "It's a 12-month season here."

He chose Pearl Harbor as the venue to give back to our service members. He's been a huge supporter of our military, having traveled to the Middle East several times to talk to our men and women in uniform.

"This is so small for me to do this for the troops compared to what they're doing for us," said Lagasse.

"When he does it, it's a tremendous honor for someone like him, a celebrity to be so down to earth and want to do this for free," said Stephanie Lau, marketing manager at the U.S. Navy Exchange. "He actually does this for free for the military and the dignitaries."

Service members appreciate his support, especially when so many are fighting two wars overseas.

"It just makes you feel warm in your heart to know that there are people out there that care," said Wright. "I know everyone cares about it but to have somebody come out and go out to Iraq and Afghanistan and go see the troops and just show support for the military is huge."

A way one celebrity is kicking it up a notch to support our troops.

Following the book signing, Lagasse had a private cooking demo for 450 lucky guests. The event was put together by the U.S. Navy Exchange.