Eric Linquest has more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, most of which he has spent working alongside chef Emeril Lagasse in building Emeril’s family of restaurants. As president and COO of Emeril’s Homebase, Linquest oversees all aspects of both the development and operations for the company’s 12 restaurants in four cities—New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando and Bethlehem, Pa. at the Sands Resort Casino. Linquest began his lifelong restaurant career in his hometown of Jackson, Mich., where he took a job at a local restaurant while attending high school.
Linquest’s unique path to New Orleans—like many travelers before him—began on a riverboat along the Mississippi River. In 1978, he joined the passenger paddleboat the Mississippi Queen as a busser for its restaurant, working his way up to server, sommelier and finally maître d’ over five years. He moved to New Orleans in 1983, taking a job at the famous Pontchartrain Hotel’s Caribbean Room restaurant, where he worked for two years before moving to Commander’s Palace, another historical Crescent City restaurant. Ella Brennan, one of the owners of Commander’s Palace, had recently hired a new, young chef named Emeril Lagasse. Linquest quickly bonded with Lagasse, working hard together and forming a close personal relationship. By 1989, Lagasse decided to leave Commander’s Palace and venture out on his own, tapping Linquest to help open his first restaurant, Emeril’s, in 1990. Linquest served as general manager of the restaurant, which quickly received local and national critical acclaim. Lagasse, Linquest and their growing team opened a second restaurant, NOLA, two years later in the New Orleans French Quarter, followed by Lagasse’s first Las Vegas restaurant, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, in 1995. Emeril’s Homebase was founded in 1995 and has expanded to include 12 restaurants, providing about 900 jobs nationwide.
Linquest serves on the board of directors for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to serving the communities in which Lagasse operates restaurants. Linquest graduated from the University of New Orleans in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, Gigi, and their two daughters, Megan and Lauren.