A couple of Baton Rouge chefs are turning up the heat on their competitors—and making good impressions on the judges—as they continue to garner national attention on a pair of food reality TV shows.
On Fox’s sixth season of MasterChef, 29-year-old petroleum landman and Baton Rouge native Jesse Romero has placed in the Top 19. Romero is a self-described “grill master,” who picked up a few cooking tricks from his family and is known for providing the goods at an LSU tailgate.
On this week’s episode, which aired Wednesday night, Romero won the mystery box challenge. Contestants were given live crabs for use in a dish. Romero’s crab dumpling soup with a mango and avocado salad was the winning dish.
“You can cook,” judge Gordon Ramsay said. “Let’s get that right. You need to cook like this every time you come to this kitchen. Period.”
If he comes out on top, Romero could win $250,000. But he’ll have to repeatedly impress judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliott and Christina Tosi. Charlie Chapman, an HVAC technician from New Orleans, is also currently in the Top 19 on the show.
Meanwhile, on the Food Network’s Food Network Star, local Bite and Booze blogger Jay Ducote is competing for the chance to host his very own show on the cable network.
The 33-year-old made a good impression in the season 11 premiere episode that aired Sunday. In his 30-second intro, season seven winner Jeff Mauro complimented Ducote’s authenticity and likability. In his first cooking challenge, the Baton Rouge native’s Cajun corn maque choux placed in the top three. Read Mauro’s full recap.
There’s no doubt Ducote has become a big part of the culinary scene of the Capital City. But on the show, he’ll have to impress judges Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.
Food Network Star airs Sunday at 9 p.m. A viewing party will be held at the Schlittz & Giggles location near the Perkins Road overpass, at 2355 Ferndale Ave., beginning at 7 p.m.
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