Dig Baton Rouge

Cutthroat Cajun

By Claire Salinas

Jay Ducote is a culinary celebrity and well-known nice guy in Baton Rouge, but his most recent television appearance is exposing his competitive side to a national audience.

Ducote was chosen to compete on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen back in April. The episode will air on Aug. 10,and while Ducote cannot reveal any details about the episode, he did give a glimpse of what it was like to be on the show.

“I definitely think the amount of on camera stuff I’ve done since being on Master Chef helps prepare me in the sense that there’s none of those on camera nerves.

I’m used to the bright lights and I’m used to being on camera and mentally that doesn’t phase me anymore. With the other chefs I was competing with, you could see awe and shock factor of being on a TV set, talking to producers with cameras in your face.”

That experience is a vital asset. Ducote revealed that it can be easy for contestants to get caught up in the competition and forget about creating the highest quality food.

“On a lot of those shows they get so caught up and they forget to season properly. It’s an advantage to go into the show with a background in Cajun and Creole flavors.”

Despite knowing the set up of the show, there is no way for contestants to plan ahead for the challenges they may face. Everything is off the cuff, and the advantage goes to who can handle emergent obstacles best.

“There’s no way to prepare for the challenges and that they’re going to throw at you. I went in ready to roll with the punches. Ultimately it’s you against yourself.  I had to put the best dish on the plate and hope judges didn’t eliminate me.”

Ducote explained that the tools and ingredients provided on the show put the chefs on an even playing field. However, there was one thing he missed about being in his own kitchen.

“There’s no way to prepare for the challenges and that they’re going to throw at you. I went in ready to roll with the punches. Ultimately it’s you against yourself. I had to put the best dish on the plate and hope judges didn’t eliminate me.”

“There’s not the same kind of spices in the cabinet that you would find around here. Aside from those kind of things it’s kind of a level playing field.”

Despite the glamour of being on a nationally televised reality show, Ducote feels like his time on set went by at lightning speed.

“The show goes by really quickly.  The time flies and it’s a blur. It’s a time to take what you know and apply it.”

All the contestants were given assignments for what to prepare on the show, but Ducote’s heart lies with the cuisine of the South.

“I love the authenticity of it, Cajun and Creole are some of the only true American cuisines out there. So many other food styles are plays on Mexican, Italian or whatever it may be.  Cajun and Creole are all derived from the resources the people of New Orleans had while living off the swamps or on the prairie land.It has a depth of flavor you don’t find across the country.”

Ducote has had the opportunity to try many different dishes during his time cooking around the country, but in his mind Southern cuisine cannot be matched.

“If you look at all the influence Creole has, Spanish, French, Italian, African, German, Caribbean, Native American, it has its own unique flavor. It was created by all the people who settled in New Orleans that were thrown together. When you get the real deal it is superior to so much out there.”

Although Ducote hosts the nationally televised Outdoor Shopper, has just launched his own barbeque sauce and has made several reality television appearances, he is not planning to slow down anytime soon.

“I’ve been on Fox, but this is going to be more impactful than any other appearances I’ve ever made. Of all the stuff I’ve done this will be my debut on Food Network. That is the pinnacle of networks to be on for food people.  In the long run my goal would be to host a food and drink based travel show. I’m excited to see what comes out of it after it airs.”

 

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