It came down to the wire, but Baton Rouge’s Jay Ducote made it into the final three contestant chefs on Food Network Star.
On this past weekend’s episode of the show, Ducote appeared to be in trouble from the beginning. As 225 Dine reports, Ducote served up the judges ants on a log and pigs in a blanket during the mentor challenge to create an after-school snack. The items were deemed too basic and unmemorable, with judge Bobby Flay saying the dishes didn’t give him that “Jay flavor” he wanted.
“It was a stumble I made for several reasons,” Ducote says. “I’m not a parent, so I’m not sure what to cook for kids—so I thought of what I used to have. And the ingredients that I wanted to use, they weren’t present for that challenge. I would have loved to give my version of pigs in the blanket, maybe with some andouille sausage, but all I had were these hot dogs.”
Ducote’s troubles didn’t last too long, though. He picked himself up in the main challenge. There, the four remaining contestants participated in an ensemble cooking talk show, called Summer Live. Each contestant would create and present a dish based on the premise of a summer family reunion, and each would have his own segment of the show. Ducote was tasked with dessert and created a chocolate tart and strawberry-bourbon cocktail.
“I certainly felt pressure to deliver on both the food and presentation part of the [Summer Live] challenge,” he says. “I was able to just calm down and relax and clear my mind in the moment. It was the opposite of what happened the week before. I just got in there and had fun.”
Ultimately, Ducote and contestant Eddie Jackson were deemed safe, while Alex McCoy was sent home for his questionable bacon ramen.
As of now, two episodes remain. The surviving contestants will cook the best dish of their lives in the next episode. Following the presentations, the judges will determine who will get to film a pilot, directed by special guest Rachael Ray.
“It’s our last effort to convince the judges,” Ducote says. “We’re basically going back, proving ourselves and what we’ve learned along the way.”
Ducote will host a viewing party Sunday, Aug. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. at City Pork Brasserie & Bar, 7327 Jefferson Hwy.