‘225 Dine’: Baton Rouge’s Jay Ducote on what ‘Food Network Star’ taught him

    Jay Ducote may not have been crowned Food Network Star, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t inspired Louisianans and shined a light on Baton Rouge.

    Ducote’s run on Food Network Star came to an end Sunday after making the final three and getting high praise from the judges. 225 Dine caught up with him the next day to find out what he thinks of the show’s outcome, what he has learned and what he’s going to do next.

    225 Dine: How are you feeling with all of the support from your fans, in and outside Baton Rouge?

    Ducote: The support has been truly overwhelming, especially in the last couple of days. I think we had over 600 people at The Varsity (Sunday night)—just to watch a one-hour-long Food Network show. The flooding of social media and texts and phone calls and things have been to the point where I can’t even think about keeping up with it. I think I got over 1,000 tweets yesterday. It’s been, in a great way, overwhelming. It’s almost inspiring to me, letting me know that I’m doing the right thing and being successful in showing and sharing my passion.

    What’s the best piece of advice you received during the season?

    I would say the mentoring from Bobby (Flay) and Giada (De Laurentiis) throughout the show. What they really got me to do was relax even more than I already was, and to just remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. I think that was one of the main things for me—as the show continued to move on, I was really able to slow down and take that breath before really critical moments.

    Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?

    I certainly would want another crack at the soup challenge. If I could pick one challenge to go back and do over, it would be that one. I could have made something very impressive and instead I made a very mediocre gumbo.

    What’s next for you, now that Food Network Star is over?

    Today, I’m going to sleep. But there’s plenty to do. I’m going to make sure I’m focusing on Bite and Booze stuff, as well as the barbecue sauce and other products I have coming. But I’m going to keep my eyes open for anything else that comes down the line.

    Read the full Q&A. Make sure you get your fill of local culinary news every week by signing up for the free 225 Dine e-newsletter.

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