There are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June 7 at 9|8c, 12 all-new rivals will put their dreams on the line as they endure mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis' lofty challenges, all in the hopes of scoring the most-sought-after culinary career: Food Network host. Star Talk is bringing you the first look at each of the finalists in exclusive, candid interviews, and today we're introducing Louisiana's Jay Ducote.
Jay, 33 (Baton Rouge, La.), calls himself a food ambassador for South Louisiana, and he’s ready to take the gig nationwide. Jay’s passion for cooking started at LSU tailgates, and now this charismatic chef has his own culinary media company. His deep connection to and appreciation for the Louisiana food scene has led to cooking-competition victories and media awards, and he is primed to bring that award-winning personality and charm to the screen.
Describe your culinary POV in one sentence — if you can.
Jay Ducote: I am a blogger, radio host, professional tailgater and Cajun boy that just wants to bring good flavor and outdoor cooking to Food Network.
If you could ask Bobby and Giada to teach you one thing in the kitchen, what would it be?
JD: Bobby, I would want to learn some of his master grilling techniques. I mean, I'm pretty good on the grill — and outdoor cooking and barbecue is really one of the things I'm best at — but I also know that there's so much to learn, and Bobby is a master. So I would love to spend a day just grilling with Bobby Flay and learning from him.
Giada, I would really want to learn what she does best, which is Italian, and the authentic food to her. I've never been to Italy. I've been to parts of Europe — Ireland and Portugal is where I've been most of the time — but I've never experienced true Italian outside of Italian-Americans cooking in America. And so that's what I would want to learn from her is just some of the Italian techniques and sauces and pasta.