BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - To the viewers of Food Network, Jay Ducote is one of the lead competitors on the next Food Network Star. However, behind the helm of his cozy, three-man operation in Baton Rouge, Ducote is best known for exploring where Louisiana culture collides with food and drink.
Now known to a national audience, Ducote's culinary fame has roots in LSU tailgating.
"I didn't go to culinary school, I never had a restaurant job, I wasn't trying to be a great Louisiana chef," said Ductoe. "It's just kind of something I fell into, because I realized that I had such a passion for food and a passion for our culture and how it just is engulfed by our food and beverage."
It's a passion that Ducote turn into a career by staring his Bite and Booze blog in 2009. That blog grew into a radio show and product line a few years later.
Now, he's taken full advantage of a chance to turn that blog into his own national show "I never would have imagined it back when I was throwing tailgate parties at LSU," said Ducote.
Ducote was a finalist on the Food Network Star, with a chance to film a pilot for a new show. The whole process was filmed through a grueling schedule over two months at the beginning of the year. Ducote quickly became a favorite. He says his past experiences on radio and in front of a camera gave him an advantage over other contestants, because he could focus on the food and having fun.
He adds that personal tips from Chef Bobby Flay also helped. With fans gathering each week to cheer Ducote on, he says the pressure to win it all has been mounting.
"It's been great having the cheering section back home, all over the state of Louisiana, the way people have embraced it and told me how proud that they are of me and how I'm representing the state," said Ducote.
Win or lose, he says it all comes back to just having fun and showing off the best food and drinks around.
While he didn't win, Ducote was able to show off his unique talents to a worldwide audience.