Chef Emeril Lagasse Showcases Veteran-Owned Establishments on Latest Emeril’s Florida Episode

Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Ray,, 850.224.2250 x255
Christina Johnson,, 850.391.5040

Chef Emeril Lagasse Showcases Veteran-Owned Establishments on Latest Emeril’s Florida Episode  

  – The Cooking Channel will feature businesses in Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville and Malabar –

(Tallahassee, FL) – The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to present this week’s episode of Emeril’s Florida airing Sunday, March 22, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. EST on the Cooking Channel. In Sunday’s episode, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse travels to Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville and Malabar to salute two veteran-owned restaurants and one craft brewery.

“We owe so much to our military, and dining at restaurants owned by veterans is a perfect way to say ‘thank you for your service,’” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The FRLA is proud this week’s episode of Emeril’s Florida highlights three veteran-owned establishments and we encourage residents and visitors alike to support these businesses.”

Emeril’s first stop takes him to Fort Walton Beach.  There he meets Chef Tom Rice, an Army veteran of 27 years. Tom is a retired Sergeant First Class from the 18th Airborne Division and saw combat time in Desert Storm in 1991. After retiring from the military in 1996, Tom and his wife Peggy opened Magnolia Grill in a 1910 catalog house.  Since opening the restaurant, Tom and Peggy have decorated the restaurant with local artifacts, military memorabilia and other family collectibles. In fact, the entire second-floor dining room is so full of WWII artifacts, flags, pictures, medals and signs that the restaurant has become known as the “museum that serves food.” The menu at Magnolia Grill features mainly seafood and Italian food, which Chef Rice learned to cook when he worked in a diner as a young man.  The food, however, is only part of the story.  Chef Tom Rice is president of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast board of directors and has been a volunteer for the foundation since 2006. Fisher House Foundation is known for its network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. Emeril sits down with Tom to discuss his story, the restaurant and the Fisher House Foundation.

Emeril then travels to Jacksonville’s newest brewery, Veterans United Craft Brewery where he meets with Ron Gamble, a former Naval Flight Officer who founded the establishment. After retiring from active service, Ron’s wife bought him a home beer brewing kit and his passion began. After attending rigorous training at the Siebel Institute as well as managing brewhouse and cellar operations at several breweries in New England, Ron and Sheryl, a Jacksonville native, decided to head to the Sunshine State. It was there, the Veterans United Brewing Company was born.  Veterans United has 19 private investors, and more than 80% of them are veterans. The business officially opened in 2013 and they distributed their first batches of beer in the summer of 2014. In August 2014, they opened a new taproom to showcase their beer directly to local residents. Emeril takes a brewery tour and then samples some of their current offerings including Raging Blonde, Scout Dog 44 – Amber Ale, Buzzin’ Bee Honey Rye Wheat, and Hop Banshee-American IPA.

Emeril’s third stop is the Yellow Dog Café, an award-winning restaurant offering exquisite appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts in Malabar on the Indian River. There, Emeril meets Chef Stuart Borton, a United States Army veteran who along with his wife owns the restaurant. While growing up in Michigan, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army where he rose to the rank of Sergeant. After four years in service to his country, Stuart traveled to Australia where he began his career as a restaurant owner at the age of 21. In 1998, he moved back to the United States and along with his wife Nancy, and bought the original building where Yellow Dog Café stands. The couple describes the food they serve as “comfort food with flair.” Stuart hosts Emeril at the café where try some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including Potato Crusted Salmon, Rack of Lamb, Onion Crusted Chicken, and the Dog Bone Brownie.

The show reruns on Monday, March 23 at 9:30 a.m. EST and Thursday, March 26 at 10:30 a.m. EST.  Please check local listings.

Emeril’s Florida Season Three is a 13-episode series highlighting the Sunshine State through the eyes of Emeril on-location with a focus on food, cooking, events and activities around the state. Throughout the third season, Emeril will be visiting Florida’s top restaurants and resorts. He will also prepare some of his favorite recipes which often will feature some of the best seafood Florida has to offer. The FRLA and VISIT FLORIDA sponsor the series. For additional information on the series, including links to previous episodes, please go to the Cooking Channel website here. For a preview of Sunday’s episode, click here.

Editor’s Note:
For photo and video requests of Emeril Lagasse with local chefs and recipes of featured dishes, please contact Elizabeth Ray at or 850.224.2250 x255, or Christina Johnson at or 850.391.5040.


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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $76.1 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy, $4.6 billion in sales tax revenue, and more than one million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, October 6-8, 2015 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.