Lia LoBello and Amy Hattemer have learned how to “bam” from the best.
The two Queens residents appeared in recent episodes of expert chef Emeril Lagasse’s new cooking show, “Emeril’s Table.”
“I was super pumped up when I found out I was going to be on the show,” said LoBello. “I am a fan of his and I’m trying to get better at cooking, so it was a cool way to kill two birds with one stone.”
Each episode, Lagasse reserves five seats at his “table” for a select group of diners to join him and experience the nuances of cooking with a particular ingredient. He also fields questions from his guests, allowing viewers at home to learn along with the panel.
LoBello, a food blogger from Astoria, appeared on the Wild Mushrooms episode on September 27 at 11 a.m., during which the culinary craftsman prepared his original wild mushroom ragout over creamy stone ground grits and a porcini risotto with truffle oil.
“I was happy to be on the mushroom show because mushrooms are kind of a mystery to me with regards to how to cook them,” LoBello said. “I think a large part of the show was to take something you’re not familiar with and have Emeril teach you how to make it in an easy way.”
Hattemer, a Sunnyside resident who manages Joe, a coffee shop in Grand Central Station, was a guest during Coffee: Sneaky Flavor Enhancer in Savory Dishes, which aired on September 27 at 11:30 a.m. Among the dishes Lagasse added coffee to were short ribs with parmesan polenta and flank steak with a blood orange and plum salad.
“It was really cool to watch how Emeril used coffee in all these different ways,” said Hattemer. “It’s a great cooking ingredient, and you can definitely taste it. Emeril is just an amazing cook, so anything he put in front of us was going to be delicious. But it was especially interesting that coffee was a part of it.”
The experience on set was equally appreciated by the master and his apprentices.
“I have truly enjoyed filming this special series,” said Lagasse. “Some of my most fulfilling memories have been in the kitchen preparing a meal with my family and friends, and ‘Emeril’s Table’ creates that same kind of connection. Food brings us all a little closer together and I hope that as we’re gathering around my table each day everyone will invite us in to their kitchens and be inspired to cook along.”
Both LoBello and Hattemer believe they left the show as better cooks, and said they were calmed by Lagasse’s fun-loving and friendly nature.
“It was a little nerve-racking at first, but Emeril made it a very nice and comfortable atmosphere,” said LoBello. “We were all encouraged to ask questions while he was cooking, and I got the sense that he really enjoyed being the teacher, because during the breaks he would come and ask if we understood and how things tasted. I think he really wanted us to walk away having learned something.”