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    Food, wine and celebrity chefs will take to the track this weekend as part of the inaugural Fork, Cork & Style event from 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Churchill Downs. Restaurants from across the country will offer up regional favorites that have been featured on TV shows from "Man v. Food" to "Saturday Night Live." High-end vintners will pour the good stuff at a grand wine tasting.

    But the highlight will surely be scheduled cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. It's been nearly two decades since Emeril debuted his first show, "How to Boil Water," on the Food Network. Since then, he's become a superstar chef with a full resume that certifies the talent behind his fame. Here are three reasons why Emeril is and will continue to be one of the best celebrity chefs: 

    • He brought entertainment to the kitchen. In the heyday of "Emeril Live," Emeril had a house band, celebrity guests and a full studio audience on deck just to watch him create in the kitchen. Cooking became theater, and everyone wanted a ticket.
    • He created his own cooking catchphrases. You didn't see Julia Child yelling when she threw a palmful of spices into a pan. "Bam" and "kick it up a notch" crossed over from a Food Network soundstage into the pop culture lexicon, right up there with "bling" and "fo shizzle."
    • He bounced back from failure. Anyone remember "Emeril"? This sitcom was as smelly as two-week-old buttermilk, and it was canceled after 11 episodes. But that was back in 2001. Since then, Emeril left behind the scripts and went back to the stove. The chef is now on five TV shows and one radio show, proving that his venture into comedy wasn't the shark-jump of his television career.

    For more information about Fork, Cork & Style and to buy tickets, visit the event's website at


    Photo courtesy of Fork, Cork & Style

    Visit for more from Ashlee Clark. 


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