Naples Food Scene Stars in 2015 Episode of Emeril’s Florida

Friday, December 19, 2014By JoNell Modys

Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades Area Featured in Cooking Channel Show Hosted by
Famed Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse

Media Contacts:

JoNell Modys,, 239-252-2425
Carlyn Topkin,, 212-891-0214  

Download Naples, Fla. episode location photos here:

Naples Food Scene Stars in 2015 Episode of Emeril’s Florida
Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades Area Featured in Cooking Channel Show Hosted by Famed Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse

Naples, Fla. (December 18, 2014) – The fast-evolving food scene in the greater Naples, Fla. area stars in an episode of Emeril’s Florida,hosted by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, that will air three times in February 2015 on the Cooking Channel with later airings on the Food Network. The episode was made possible through a sponsorship by the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA. Air dates on the Cooking Channel are Sunday, February 15 at 2:30 p.m.; Monday, February 16 at 9:30 a.m.; and Thursday, February 19 at 10:30 a.m.

The 30-minute episode features approximately 20 minutes of content in four segments featuring local restaurants and chefs, events including the Stone Crab Festival, a trip to a local organic farm and highlights about areas that are favorites for visitors including Everglades City, Marco Island and the Naples Pier at sunset. The $120,000 marketing sponsorship includes multiple airings on the Cooking Channel between February and May with subsequent airings on the Food Network between July and December 2015, along with 60-second destination ads on both networks during the episode, several video vignettes for the tourism website, television ad spots for the destination on Cooking Channel and Food Network, promotion of the Naples episode on’s new Food and Dining landing page, launching in conjunction with season three of Emeril’s Florida, and more.

“We view the Emeril’s Floridasponsorship as a solid tourism marketing investment since Florida’s Paradise Coast has been steadily rising in awareness globally as a sought-after dining destination,” said Collier County’s tourism executive director Jack Wert. “Naples landed on Conde Nast Traveler’sBest American Cities for Foodies list in the magazine’s 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards, and the fast-growing list of chef-driven restaurants continues to add to the steady increase in vacation visits to our area.”

Episode Features Farm and Sea-to-Table Dining and More
The Naples area episode provides a look at the vibrant cuisine scene that has brought Naples into the limelight as a favorite of “foodie” travelers. The CVB provided background on the area and introduced the Emeril’s Floridaproduction team to area food personalities and what’s happening in the region. Ultimately, the decision on which chefs and locations were featured on camera was made by the show’s producers.

Emeril explores the rising culinary scene in Naples during the episode. On his first stop Emeril goes Italian at Osteria Tulia, one of the hottest restaurants in the Naples area. Emeril's next stop is Mereday's Fine Dining, a waterfront restaurant serving contemporary cuisine based on the freshest, seasonal and finest available ingredients. His last stop is Pinchers Crab Shack, which is best known for its stone crab but also is recognized for having the freshest fish in Southwest Florida. Emeril finishes the episode by preparing another of his Florida seafood favorites, Crab Louie Salad with Florida Greens.

Emeril starts the Naples episode by meeting with Chef Vincenzo Betulia at Osteria Tulia. The menu and décor of Osteria Tulia are inspired by Chef Betulia’s authentic cuisine of his childhood and the centuries-old tradition of Italian osterie, informal village taverns serving simple, homemade local specialties and regional wines. The pastas, sauces and desserts are house-made by Chef Betulia and his culinary team of 30, which includes his mother, father, wife and cousin, Frank Pullara, Osteria Tulia’s chef di cucina. The cameras also follow chef Betulia to Collier Family Farms, a local organic farm that is custom growing the supply of eggplant and heirloom tomatoes used in his signature Sicilian caponata, served complimentary to all diners. Osteria Tulia was awarded an Open Table Diner’s Choice Award in 2013 and received a Golden Spoon Award by Florida Trend magazine, which selects the top restaurants in the state of Florida. The Chef and Emeril sit down to talk about the restaurant and also sample some of his favorite dishes.

The second stop for Emeril in Naples is Mereday's Fine Dining. Owner/Chef Charles Mereday has helped put Naples on the culinary map, earning accolades in Conde Nast Traveler magazine and praised as a “genius” by Florida Trend magazine. His cuisine is crafted from exceptional ingredients at the peak of their seasons and flavors and presented with simple beauty. As an ingredient-driven chef, diners find accents from cuisines around the world, as well as regional dishes that are deeply local and reflect culinary heritage. With a new menu every day there is always a new flavor to discover. Chef Mereday and Emeril talk about the dining scene in Naples and then he prepares some of his signature dishes for Emeril to try.

The third location Emeril visits in Naples is Pinchers Crab Shack, which has an ownership stake in its own fishery, harvesting fresh fish, shrimp, Florida blue crab, and stone crab claws in season. Owner Tony Phelan is a Texan through and through, but following the oil bust in the late 1980’s Tony brought his family to Florida in 1988 seeking new opportunities. Tony is now a firm believer that the streets of Florida are paved with gold and it’s easy to see why – Tony’s popular "Pincher’s" concept has 11 locations and 600 employees and grossed over $40 million last year. But, the road to success for Tony hasn't been easy. In 1995 Tony was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given months to live. His doctors continue to be amazed that he's still going at it each and every day. The lessons he's learned through the good and bad times stay with him today. His Pinchers restaurants are decorated with rustic Florida décor, which Tony and his wife have collected through the years (signs, fishing posters, woodwork, etc.) and the fixtures such as the tables and bars are made from pallets and steel barrels, which is how they furnished the original Pincher’s due to a lack of money. He is a bargain hunter and has outfitted his kitchen with appliances he bought at low-ball prices. Tony’s segment is a great story about the human spirit and the American dream and he and Emeril share stories about the restaurant business and also taste some of Tony's favorite seafood items on his menu.

About Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB
The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the official tourism marketing and management agency for Collier County, Florida, known as Florida’s Paradise Coast, which welcomes over 1.6 million visitors annually who spend over $1.6 billion while vacationing in the destination. The CVB produces the area’s ongoing destination marketing campaigns, website and visitor guides, and provides information and assistance for travel media, group meeting and event planners, tour operators, and travel agents. The CVB is funded entirely by the Collier County tourist development tax collected by hotels, short term vacation rentals and campgrounds. No local property taxes are used to fund the CVB or its marketing campaigns and tourism industry support activities. For more information visit or call 1-800-688-3600 for visitor information, or 239-252-2384 to reach the local CVB office. Follow the destination on Twitter @ParadiseCoast and on Facebook at  

About Emeril’s Florida
Emeril’s Florida 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 each episode, Emeril visits Florida’s top restaurants and resorts. He also prepares one of his favorite recipes in each episode which often will feature some of the best seafood Florida has to offer. The program is sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), and local Convention and Visitors Bureaus.