IIRC , it was Emeril that made the FN .
I thought so too, but he's not even mentioned in the network's "timeline" on Facebook. It was founded in '93 and the first network-produced show was Bobby Flay's in '96. Maybe Emeril's show was produced elsewhere and merely licensed to FN.
The next two shows hit in '99 - Tyler Florence and Alton Brown. Paula's show didn't begin until 2001, so she was part of the third wave of FN programming, along with Rachel Rae.
I sort of lost interest a few years ago when the entire network kissed Michelle Obama's ample butt. Which, BTW, makes it even more entertaining that right now the network is catching hell on Facebook for pulling Deen's show.
Yes, definitely Emeril, but Paula was also very important a was Rachel Ray.