Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has lived in New Orleans for more than 30 years and considers fishing more than just a hobby.
"I'm an avid fisherman. I'm not some knockoff," said the 52-year-old Lagasse, who has written 18 cookbooks and owns a dozen restaurants. "I was just out last weekend fishing, and to see the Gulf these days, it's remarkable. It's pristine."
Lagasse visited ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn., on Wednesday on behalf of the Gulf Coast Seafood Tourism bash, a two-week celebration of seafood, culture and tourism. The event, sponsored by BP, coincides with Monday's Sugar Bowl, this weekend New Orleans Saints playoff game and next week's BCS national title game. B
P has spent more than $80 million for seafood marketing and testing, nearly $180 million to promote tourism and $7 billion in claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
"As much harm as the spill caused, BP has done a lot of good for the area now. The seafood is safer than ever because they do more testing. I'm proud of their efforts and where I live," Lagasse said. "When football fans come this week, I want them to know the beaches are great, the water is great and the seafood is rockin'."
And Lagasse said that after his media tour to talk about his new restaurants, his new TV shows and tourism, it's back to fishing.
So what's the biggest fish he's ever caught?
"This past year, a 440-pound blue marlin. It was tagged and released," he said. "I'm serious about fishing."
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