Baton Rouge chef Jay Ducote did what many past competitors on Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay" still dream of — outdoing the show's star in his own kitchen.
As a packed house at White Star Market in Baton Rouge watched the show on multiple screens Thursday night, Ducote challenged and bested Flay with his traditional but sped-up-for-TV version (45-minute cooking time) of a crawfish boil. While Ducote got a big pot boiling with water, spices, vegetables and the crawdads, Flay, as he often does, chose to deconstruct the elements of a Louisiana boil into separate, more complex dishes. How about corn in crawfish tarragon butter, potato salad with crawfish mayo, andouille with peppers and onions?
Both chefs were sweating it out, Ducote piling his steaming crawfish and the fixings on trays as Flay spooned potato salad into little dishes.
In the end, Ducote's spicy fare won over the three celebrity chef judges.
"I'm Jay Ducote and I just beat Bobby Flay," he yelled into the camera as the show's credits rolled.
Back at White Star, where Ducote's Gov't Taco is located, the audience chanted, "Jay D! Jay D!" The crowd had been enthusiastic throughout the half-hour show, cheering particularly loudly when Ducote mentioned Baton Rouge, and booing as Flay presented his "crawfish boil" to the judges.
Tonight's episode was filmed in June 2018, Ducote explained after his win.
"So I've been sitting on it over a year now, and to get to watch it with a couple hundred friends and family in White Star Market was really awesome," Ducote said.
"I want to thank Baton Rouge for showing up with all of the support. It feels good to get a victory. I was so close to winning 'Food Network Star,' and Bobby Flay was a big part of that. So to be able to go on his show and beat Bobby Flay doing such an iconic Louisiana dish like a crawfish boil — it was exactly what I wanted."
"I wanted to challenge him (Bobby Flay) to a dish that was just essentially Louisiana."
Ducote said he started talking to the show in March 2018 about filming, and he was pushing them to move forward because it was crawfish season. He didn't want to miss his window to fly crawfish up to New York, he said.
"That was part of it — making sure we filmed in the right part of the year."
Earlier in the episode, Ducote also beat out former "Food Network Star" castmate and Washington, D.C. chef Alex McCoy for the chance to cook against Flay. Judges preferred Ducote's breakfast sausage tacos to McCoy's Dublin Coddle, or Irish stew.
Ducote was runner-up on the 11th season of "Food Network Star" in 2015, and a pilot for his show "Deep Fried America" aired on Travel Channel in 2016.
For more info on "Beat Bobby Flay," go to https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/beat-bobby-flay.
Staff writer Jake Clapp contributed to this report.