The first rule of Jay Ducote’s underground supper club: Don’t talk about Jay Ducote’s underground supper club.
The popular local chef and celebrity has been putting together secretive holiday-themed five-course dinners all around Baton Rouge in recent months. After being a top competitor on Food Network Star there has been high demand for his cooking. But Ducote doesn’t cook in a restaurant, thus the idea of the themed dinners, or “underground supper club” was born.
“I’ve just been looking for ways to be able to cook for people that’s not in a traditional restaurant setting,” Ducote says. “I wanted to show my cooking skills and have a way for people to eat my food, and so the supper club idea just makes sense for that.”
Reservations for the dinners must be made in advance, and the capacity is usually limited to 12 people. For his Valentine’s Day dinner, only six couples could reserve space, and the ticket holders were only told the dinner’s location via email right before the event.
Conducting the dinners in such a private nature and having a small selection of people adds to the community aspect Ducote says he attempt to emphasize.
“It’s always a random assortment of people and we sit at a communal table, so you kind of have to mingle and talk to each other,” he says. “It’s a completely different experience than a restaurant experience.”
For Ducote, themes are a big part of these dinners. He and his Bite and Booze team try to perfectly match each dish on the menu with the chosen theme.
“We think about things that would be authentic to the theme,” Ducote says. “For Leap Day, we really racked our brains about what leaps or hops or jumps, and we were able to do things like rabbit and frog legs.”
Ducote says he plans on continuing the dinners throughout the year, each with a different theme. The next dinner will most likely be St. Patrick’s Day-themed, and Ducote says he’s even considering a Game of Thrones theme when the new season of the hit HBO show starts up.
Dinners aren’t the only new venture for Ducote. He has recently partnered with the Salad Shop to introduce his new Louisiana Molasses Mustard. The Salad Shop carries the mustard at both locations on Perkins Road and Coursey Boulevard. In conjunction, Ducote has created a signature salad for the restaurant called Jay D’s Jam, which features spinach and arugula, carrots, edamame, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled chicken and more.