Emeril Lagasse has a new cookbook and new season of TV's "Top Chef" premiering in a week, but what really got the chef talking was boudin and beer.
Lagasse said Wednesday that chefs from across the country are heading to New Orleans this week to serve up some of their favorite dishes using or inspired by boudin — a pork and rice sausage common in Louisiana cuisine.
"It's a staple in what we do in Louisiana, but lots of cultures have their own versions of boudin," Lagasse told The Associated Press.
Chefs from San Francisco and elsewhere will join two dozen from New Orleans for Lagasse's "Boudin and Beer" street party at The Foundry, where on Friday they'll dish out their fare among live music and Louisiana-brewed Abita beer.
The Foundry is the site of a former brewery dating back to the 1850s.
The event kicks off a two-day celebration of Louisiana food and culture benefitting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, a charity the chef established in 2002 to support children's education programs in culinary arts and nutrition.
The celebration continues Saturday with a gala, wine auction and five-course dinner prepared by chefs Mario Batali, Marc Forgione, Tyler Florence and others.
Lagasse said it wasn't hard to lure the award-winning chefs to New Orleans.
"New Orleans is one of the greatest food cities in the country, if not the world," said Lagasse, who has lived there 30 years. "I fell in love with the city, the food, the culture. It's why I'm still here."
Lagasse has three restaurants in New Orleans and nine in other U.S. cities. He's returning as a celebrity judge for the 10th season of Bravo's "Top Chef," which premieres Nov. 7, and just released "Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches," a cookbook with more than 100 sandwich recipes.