Jay Ducote is in the running to be the next “Food Network Star.”

The Baton Rouge food blogger and cook is one of 12 finalists on the show, featuring Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay. The season premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 7.



Even though he previously appeared on “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Master Chef,” Ducote said this show with its combination of on-camera charisma and culinary chops, was the one he most wanted to appear on, even as far back as 2009, when he started his blog, BiteandBooze.com, and 2011, when he started the Bite and Booze Radio show, which airs on Talk 107.3 FM from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and on Sundays at 8 p.m.

“But four years ago, I wasn’t ready for it yet,” Ducote said.

He wasn’t ready last year, either, despite making it through several rounds of auditions after an open casting call in New Orleans.

“I knew it would be a long shot to even be considered for it,” Ducote said. “I never had my hopes up too high.”

But this year, he made it through and walked into the Food Network studio to meet mentors and judges Flay and De Laurentiis.

“The first time that we walk into the Food Network studio and they’re standing there under those bright spotlights,” Ducote said. “They’re real and they’re here and I’m here. It was kind of intense.”

Intense is a word that comes up a lot when the gregarious Ducote talks about his experience on the competition show, along with fun and variations on exciting.

“I’m excited to watch it and see how it unfolds on TV,” Ducote said. “I know what I cooked and I know what I said, but it’s hard to pay attention to what everyone else is doing.”

Other finalists are Emilia Cirker, of Reston, Virginia; Christina Fitzgerald, St. Louis; Rosa Graziano, Los Angeles; Matthew Grunwald, Scottsdale, Arizona; Eddie Jackson, Houston; Michelle Karam, Santa Barbara, California; Sita Lewis, New York; Alex McCoy, Washington, D.C.; Arnold Myint, Nashville; Rue Rusike, Brooklyn, New York; and Dominick Tesoriero, Staten Island, New York.

Ducote couldn’t divulge too many details about the dishes he made for the show, including his signature dish the chefs were asked to create in the series premiere, but he said he hopes he did Louisiana proud.

“I certainly hope I come across as the genuine and authentic Louisiana guy that I am.”