Jay Ducote – Cutthroat Kitchen

Bite and Booze blogger, BBQ sauce creator and local culinary personality Jay Ducote is no stranger to the camera. He competed on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s cooking competition MasterChef in 2011 and faced the sabotage-happy Cutthroat Kitchen this year.

225 asked the well-traveled foodie to share the top five lessons he’s learned from his TV experiences.

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. “These culinary shows can be described as reality TV or cooking competitions, but in reality they are more like game shows taking place in a kitchen. So much of the actual results are out of your hands that you can’t get too worked up about it.”

2. The cameras are always rolling. “Remember that anything you say on camera can be used on national television, so don’t say anything you’ll regret. On both shows I made every effort possible to represent myself how I wanted to appear on national TV at all times; that way they couldn’t possibly use any footage of me that I didn’t like.”

3. Some things are completely real; others are misleading. “There are specific, timed aspects of both MasterChef and Cutthroat Kitchen, so when Alton Brown said that we have 60 seconds to shop in the pantry or 30 minutes to cook our dish, that was absolutely true. But what you don’t see is how much time actually goes by between filming those timed segments, or that we actually film some things twice.”

4. Alton Brown is exactly as he appears on TV. “Quirky, yes. Sarcastic, for sure. Geeky, absolutely. And he genuinely seems to enjoy what he is doing. He presented himself in a way that seemed very down to earth, approachable and enthusiastic about this job.”

5. It’s not all about winning. “Sure, winning a competition like these would be great, and one day, maybe I’ll come out victorious. But there is so much to gain other than the pride and prize money on the line. The experience itself of being on set at these shows has been great for my own professional development as well as personal enjoyment of life.” biteandbooze.com