About 200 people packed into Lock & Key Whiskey Bar Sunday to watch local food blogger Jay Ducote compete on Food Network’s cooking show Cutthroat Kitchen. Hosted by Alton Brown, the show pits four chefs against each other with a $25,000 budget, which they can spend on helping themselves or sabotaging their competitors.
Ducote appeared on Sunday’s episode, “Ho-ley Pot,” where contestants had to make dishes using single-brew coffee machines. Unfortunately for Ducote, he exited in the second round after a failed attempt at falafel cracklins. Pedro Diaz of Brooklyn won the episode, defeating Rod Burns of New Orleans in the final milkshake round.
The morning after the episode and viewing party, Ducote is still relishing the experience of being on national television.
“I am pretty overwhelmed by the amount of support,” he says. “It was interesting watching the show. It was pretty surreal to see myself get that much face time.”
Ducote, who competed on a 2011 episode of MasterChef on Fox, says he was overwhelmed by the amount of local support Sunday night.
“I couldn’t have asked for more,” he says. “Even after I got kicked off the show, the crowd gave me a round of applause and congratulated me for being on the show and representing Baton Rouge and Louisiana well.”
After a successful first round, creating hot Italian sausage minestrone in a coffee pot, Ducote next attempted to make falafel balls. It didn’t help that Burns sabotaged Ducote and Diaz by forcing them to hold hands while creating their dishes as well.
However, as Ducote’s falafel balls were coming out of the deep fryer, he knew the dish was falling apart. He quickly changed the description of his dish, using his “gift of gab,” and calling them “falafel cracklins.”
“I wanted to mimic a boudin ball,” he says. “That’s where my head was at. When it didn’t work, the cracklin idea came naturally. When I pulled it out of the fryer, my heart sank right then. I knew that it was bad. I couldn’t give up, though. I got as much out of the show as I could despite losing in the second round.”
Ducote would have loved to pick up last night’s bar tab with the prize money, but he was pleased with the experience.
“I would have loved to win, but I wanted to make sure that I was true to myself and came across as the guy that I am,” he says. “As far as my cooking, by no means do I try to portray myself as a restaurant chef. I’d say I’m still just a step above the amateur world. I have a great respect for what my chef friends do in the culinary world, and I try to be enthusiastic about what they do. Any time I do a competition like [Cutthroat Kitchen], I’m going to make some sort of mistake that somebody with a lot more experience would not make. I know that, but I continue to learn along the way. I’d love to do another show like this. I would be more than happy to continue to try and learn and develop my craft.”