Jay Ducote makes a living talking about food, and the conversation grows more crowded every day.
In just two years, his website has spun off into a full plate of articles, radio shows and a stint on the Fox TV show MasterChef.
Not bad for a foodie who just needed an outlet. Ducote started his blog, Bite and Booze, in September 2009 to break up the monotony of his desk job.
“I started a blog of everything I ate and drank,” he says. “It turned out to be a whole lot more.”
Two months later, he attended a food blogger conference in San Francisco, which he credits for putting him on the fast track to national recognition.
“I learned very quickly that if I wanted success online, I’d have to get far more into the social media aspect,” he says.
A fervent following soon resulted.
“Twitter, especially, was a huge part of what I was doing,” he says. “I was able to network and reach out.”
Since then, Ducote has built his brand by winning the 2010 Tony Chachere’s Tailgating Cookoff, appearing on MasterChef earlier this year as one of the top 100 amateur chefs in America and helping to launch the Viking Cooking School Outdoors at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center.
He also hosts the Bite and Booze radio show on WTGE-FM (107.3) and co-hosts Raise A Glass with his brother Eric on WHYR-FM (96.9). He writes articles for several local magazines, including 225, and is a frequent guest at food-related events throughout south Louisiana.
“I try to say yes to almost any request,” Ducote says. “Those events help open doors to a lot of other things. That’s a big part of my growth, something to feel good about. Finding time can be tricky, but it’s a job I really enjoy.”