St. Petersburg, Florida -- The St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is known worldwide for its beaches. Things are about to change.
With the help of a celebrity chef andrestaurateurEmeril Lagasse, the area is about to prove it's more than just sun and sand here in the Sunshine State.
"I think we're really undervalued and underestimated about our cuisine here in Florida...we have great food, we have great chefs, a lot of talent. It's not just Miami, it's all over the state, that makes me happy," Lagasse, who recently moved to Florida's panhandle.
Emeril is host of the new show "Emeril's Florida' on the Cooking Channel which debuted on Sunday on Brighthouse Channel 142, Verizon 166.
As you'd guess, it's about all things Florida. On March 10, it will be St. Petersburg/Clearwater's turn to showcase all there is to taste and experience.
"Every year, it gets better and better," said Steve Jordan, Executive Chef at Caretta on the Gulf at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach, which is among the restaurants being featured on the upcoming episode.
Photo Gallery:'Emeril's Florida' showcases St. Pete/Clearwater
Surrounded by a production crew, cameras and lights, it's a rare opportunity for the young chef to share what he's doing at the restaurant with a man who inspires the culinary mind.
"We follow the seasons, a lot of organics, all of our meats are all natural," said Jordan.
He's among the chefs working to put the Bay area and Florida on the map, showing the state is more than orange juice, theme parks and beaches...it's a culinary destination.
Chef's in the Tampa Bay area are trying new things, picking up on trends you'd expect to find in places like New York City and Napa.
"There's a lot of great chef's here, they all look out for each other and we're all tying the same thing, trying to make this area the best it can be," said Jordan.
"The more that I discover, the more that I uncover, the more that I can't wait to get back to the area," smiled Lagasse. "The passion really excites me, whether it's a grouper sandwich or a grouper at a white table cloth restaurant, people have a lot of passion. It's great."
The first season of 'Emeril's Florida' will feature 13 episodes. The production company, based in Tampa, says it plans a second season with Emeril.