What Emeril Lagasse Said It Was Like To Work With Gordon Ramsay On MasterChef: Legends

Season 11 of Gordon Ramsay's "MasterChef: Legends" kicked off last night on Fox, with a guest appearance from New Orleans legend Emeril Lagasse. The celebrated restaurateur dropped by the "MasterChef" kitchen to help Ramsay and company with the first round of eliminations, by the end of which 15 contestants were chosen.

Ramsay and Lagasse go back a bit, it turns out. The "MasterChef" host is a friend of Lagasse and had been trying to get Emeril on his show for many years, Lagasse told TV Insider. This time around the chefs' busy schedules lined up, and Lagasse was able to make it. His timing couldn't have been better: Season 11 of "MasterChef" updates the show's format with an expanded bench of guest judges, including fellow master chefs and bakers Paula Deen, Roy Choi, Nancy Silverton, and Masaharu Morimoto. Lagasse was a fitting choice for guest judge of episode one. With 11 restaurants to his name, numerous books and TV appearances, the decorated chef –– and inventor of "New New Orleans" cooking –– is a household name, and brought tears to the eyes of more than one MasterChef contestant when he took the stage.

Lagasse had 'an absolute blast'

As with all things Gordon Ramsay, that episode of "MasterChef" featured plenty of high-pressure situations and brutal honesty throughout. Tough love is part of the whole Ramsay brand, but even Lagasse had to break bad news to a couple of contestants, raking one contestant over the coals for undercooked pesto and telling another that her lava cake had "missed its mark." The two seem to enjoy each other's company, Ramsay having gunned for Lagasse as a "MasterChef" guest judge for 11 years, and Lagasse telling TV Insider in an exit interview he had "an absolute blast being around Gordon."

Ramsay is well known for his "firm but fair" mentorship style, and Lagasse seemed to be on the same wavelength, giving praise and criticism wherever it was due. Teaching and mentorship were very much on master chef Lagasse's mind while reflecting on his appearance on the show. According to TV Insider, he described Ramsay as not only "a great restauranteur [and] a great chef" but also "a really great mentor," adding, "He has lots of wit about it and how he goes about it" and that he "was just so pleased to be a part of [MasterChef]."