Is Emeril Lagasse a Big Fat Corn-Fed Hypocrite? Bam!
Celebrity branding is nothing new in the food biz. Ever since Ettore Boiardi Americanized his name and slapped his image on a can of spaghetti, chefs have looked for ways to leverage their way into home kitchens. Hey, everybody needs to make a living, right?
But with his "Emeril's Red Marble Steaks," a certain culinary heavyweight has gone too far.
Emeril Lagasse hosts Emeril Green, a program on the Discovery Channel-owned Planet Green that tackles the hurdles home cooks face when they try to cook in a healthy, environmentally friendly way.
Not one to leave his business burners turned down low, Lagasse lent his name last month to a swanky line of mail-order beef -- the aforementioned Emeril's Red Marble Steaks. According to the new venture's website, Red Marble's parent company and supplier, Allen Brothers, specializes in:
"...wet and dry-aged USDA grain and corn-fed prime beef and other products for more than 110 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls Allen Brothers steaks 'the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.""
What's wrong with this picture?
www.redmarblesteaks.com Here's a hint: Let's call this handsome feller "Corn-Fed Emeril"
Hold it right there.
Did we say "grass-fed beef"?
Indeed we did.
Far from being a mere cattle-ranching or meat-tasting preference, corn-fed vs. grass-fed is a vital distinction. In many ways it defines the struggle to find sustainable methods to mitigate the damage inflicted by an over-industrialized agriculture system.
Here's Emeril now, getting all moist extolling the virtues of grass-fed beef!
In case you're too busy to chew on that entire clip, here's how Green Emeril nutshells the advantages of grass- over corn-fed:
planetgreen.discovery.com And here, for your delectation, "Grass-Fed Emeril": Click the screenshot above to watch Emeril Lagasse wax rhapsodic about the green, green glories of grass-fed beef
"Yep, grass-fed beef is definitely the way to go. It not only helps the environment, it gives you leaner, healthier meat from cows that are humanely treated."
So on the one hand we have Lagasse admonishing us to Green up the Planet with grass-fed beef, and on the other we have him shilling for his own brand of corn-fed steaks.
Phone messages and e-mails to Red Marble Steaks and Allen Brothers seeking clarification on product origin went unanswered.
Besides assuring that his steaks come from grain- and corn-fed cattle, Emeril's Red Marble site informs us that the company ships orders via UPS "frozen in a styro-foam cooler with dry ice" to all 50 states, Puerto Rico and, in some cases, Canada."
Thousands of miles in Styrofoam! How green is that?
Here's an idea: Let's ask Planet Green!
We'll leave you with this, from Planet Green's Emeril FAQ:
Whenever possible, Chef Emeril uses locally sourced ingredients of all kinds -- that would be one factor that determines their "greenness." When local products, in this case products that have traveled less than 150 miles to get to the market or grocery store, are not available, Emeril opts for organic products which have a smaller environmental impact than conventionally grown ones, all things being equal.