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LSU Commencement Speech

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LSU Commencement Speech

On August 4, 2017, I delivered the commencement speech to the 293rd graduating class of Louisiana State University. Then, after the ceremony, I threw a barbecue party for the graduates and their family in Tiger Stadium! It was quite an epic day!

Jay Ducote speaks at LSU's Summer Commencement Ceremony on August 4, 2017

Jay Ducote speaks at LSU's Summer Commencement Ceremony on August 4, 2017

As a two-time LSU Alum, having the opportunity to deliver a commencement speech to the next generation of intelligent thinkers was about as high of an honor as I've ever received. Here's the speech:

Chase your dreams, pursue your passions, and find your tailgate party.
— Jay Ducote
Dean Stacy Haynie and Jay Ducote celebrate after LSU's commencement.

Dean Stacy Haynie and Jay Ducote celebrate after LSU's commencement.

After the speech concluded and all of the nearly 700 graduates walked across the stage, the ceremony ended and the party began. We walked from Pete Maravich Assembly Center to Tiger Stadium for a barbecue feast. In the West Stadium Club we served boxes of Jay D's Spicy & Sweet Rubbed Chicken, sausage, dirty rice made with Supreme Rice, and barbecue beans made with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce. We also included sample bottles of Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard in the lunch offering! You can find all of Jay D's Louisiana Products on our shop page!

Jay D's BBQ Meal Served in Tiger Stadium after LSU's Graduation

Jay D's BBQ Meal Served in Tiger Stadium after LSU's Graduation

Everything about the day turned out amazingly. The speech went extremely well and we received lots of compliments from the nearly 1300 people that we fed in Tiger Stadium. Thanks to LSU for allowing me to be such a huge part of the special day. Thanks to Drake's Catering any my old Third Row Tailgating buddy Wes Howell for helping out with the food and congrats to all the new graduates! Geaux Tigers, and Forever LSU!

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Want to join the team?

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Want to join the team?

Jay Ducote, Charles Pierce, Aimee Tortorich and Blair Loup

Jay Ducote, Charles Pierce, Aimee Tortorich and Blair Loup

We have an opening at Bite and Booze, Hug Jay D and Gov't Taco for a position in content creation and being awesome. This position is open to anybody from entry-level applicants to those who have several years of experience in writing, blogging, social media, brand building, PR, or other relevant fields.

LOCATION: BATON ROUGE, LA

POSITION TYPE: FULL TIME SALARY, PLUS SOME BENEFITS

TIMELINE: Application Period: 3/14/17 to 3/31/17, Start Date in April or May

Jay Ducote started Bite and Booze in 2009 as a blog. Today Bite and Booze, serves as a culinary media company that expands the conversation about Louisiana cuisine and celebrates the culinary cultures of communities we visit.. Additionally, we spotlight local partners, community events and things happening in the food and beverage world through the blog, award-winning radio show and social media accounts, plus occasional video production, press features and more.

After making his first hire in 2014 (Chief Confusion Coordinator and Spin Doctor, Blair Loup), Jay launched the Jay D’s product line (Hug Jay D, LLC, with our Product Czar and Sauceror of Sales Chuck P.) with his Louisiana Barbecue Sauce. To that line he’s added the Louisiana Molasses Mustard, Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub, a Blanc du Bois wine in collaboration with Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, LA and a Single Origin Coffee in collaboration with Cafeciteux Coffee Roasters in Baton Rouge and Dr. Caroline Payne from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania.

Gov’t Taco, a Jay Ducote concept lead by Chef Aimee Tortorich and Therese Schneider, will open over the course of the summer in Baton Rouge’s White Star Market. Gov’t Taco’s the name, modern American tacos is the game. Using the taco as a vehicle for all things creative and delicious, Gov’t Taco will be Jay Ducote’s first food service venture.

If you think you’ve got a pretty decent handle on everything we have going on… wait a second.

We have a ragtag team that dabbles in catering, private chef services, events, freelance writing, consultation, public relations, social media and culinary branding.

Our team has grown at a steady rate since 2014, but we’ve got a lot going on and have found ourselves looking to add a new member to the team.

Here’s an incomplete list of some of the qualities we’re looking for in this next stage:

Shape Shifter—We don’t just need flexibility; it’s a little more serious than that. We have our hands in several different industries and each day brings something new. We need you to be able to take on these changes and challenges without pause. To say this is a fast-paced and a lot of the time an overwhelming environment is an understatement. We need you to be excited about that.

Writer—We’re looking for someone to take the reins of our blog, social media, email blasts and other digital content... you’ll need to come up with new and exciting content for the blog/social media platforms, be able to delegate writing assignments to other employees, edit and execute all of the above. We don’t want to call it a desk job, but you’ll be spending most of your workdays at Bite and Booze HQ. Strong writing skills are a must.

Proactive—Everyone needs a little direction and delegation, but we’ll need you to keep a “heads up” approach to your tasks and be a self-starter in a lot of areas. We need to add someone to the team who can be thinking of what’s next and looking to the future, not just completing a task list that’s assigned to them.

Social Media Wiz Kid—We’ve developed strong social media channels with loyal followings, but we’re always looking to grow our audiences and improve our content. We need someone to help come up with and carry out social strategies that will help us grow. This means campaigns, graphics, and keeping up with the times.

Web Weaver—We’re not expecting you to be a master web-builder (though it would help), but we’ll need you to be able to build on our Squarespace sites and be able to manage content, create copy and make the sites better. Any experience with SEO and e-commerce is also a plus.

People Person—You may be at the office the majority of the time, but food cultures are super social and we like to play as much as we work. It’s not just about the parties. It’s likely you’ll be doing things with the Jay D's  product line and Gov't Taco, talking with customers and dealing with clients on a regular basis. We need somebody that can fit in at the office and be an asset to our team while on the road, at restaurants, bars or stores, and who can help with pop-up dinners and private events.

Manager— We have interns at Bite & Booze headquarters, so part of our new hire's job will be to help (along with the rest of our team) manage and delegate writing, social media and other assignments to interns. You'll need to be ready to lead at times and follow at others. Checking in with interns, overseeing their content and contributing to their growth will be a vital role.

Passionate—Everyone loves food and most people like to drink, but we need you to be able to think, write and talk creatively about the food and beverages you encounter. We also need someone who is as passionate about the goals of this company as we are. Some days will be a normal 9-5 at the office and sometimes you’ll have to work all weekend for special events or at night during the week. We need you to be cool with that and we’d like for you to be pumped about it.

Knowledgeable—Advance knowledge of the food and beverage world is a plus. Any experience in the service industry is relevant experience. We also believe in people’s ability to learn if they are passionate (see above). This job will immerse you in a different level of the culinary world than most people are used to. You’ll need to do things like watch Chef’s Table, pay attention to who got nominated for James Beard awards and keep an eye on culinary trends. 

 

If all of this sounds like you, please email a resume and whatever else you may feel is appropriate to jay@biteandbooze.com and blair@biteandbooze.com. 

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Hello, 2017!

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Hello, 2017!

For a half of a decade now it seems like my life has been cyclical, alternating between years of rapid growth and laying a new foundation on which to build. In 2011 I was cast on Masterchef, started the Bite & Booze Radio Show, quit my day job and decided to chase my dreams not really knowing where that might take me or what dreams I was chasing.

Jay Ducote on Season 2 of Masterchef on Fox

Jay Ducote on Season 2 of Masterchef on Fox

2012 brought about laying the groundwork for those plans. I continued to grow the Bite and Booze blog and radio show and started cooking pop-up dinners.

2013 returned me to a level of growth, working on video projects, freelance writing and more to the point where it became very obvious that I could no longer do it all by myself if I wanted to continue to grow.

At the very beginning of 2014 I made my first hire adding Blair to the team, launched my product line with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, and appeared on an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. It was a lot of hard work, but it was necessary to provide a platform for what would happen next.

Jay Ducote makes minestrone in a coffee pot on Cutthroat Kitchen, Season 4, Episode 8 "Ho-Ley Pot."

Jay Ducote makes minestrone in a coffee pot on Cutthroat Kitchen, Season 4, Episode 8 "Ho-Ley Pot."

In 2015 I saw another explosion. I filmed and watched myself crush the competition on Food Network Star all the way until finding out I would finish as runner up. I hired two new full time employees. I launched my Blanc du Bois wine and Louisiana Molasses Mustard. I also filmed a pilot for my own show on Travel Channel, Deep Fried America.

Jay Ducote speaks to the camera on Food Network Star season 11.

Jay Ducote speaks to the camera on Food Network Star season 11.

By comparison, 2016 moved much slower. Not that that means slow, by any means, but still a reduced pace. It has been an opportunity to reset, and to place building blocks for the future. We did manage to launch a new batch of Blanc Du Bois, get Jay D's Spicy & Sweet Barbecue Rub and Single Origin Coffee rolling, watch my pilot air on the Travel Channel, and cook at the legendary James Beard House. There were other fun projects along the way from the World Food Championships to the Pineywoods Supper Club and lots of fun travel and pop-up dinners in between. But still, 2016, as crazy of a year as it proved to be, was more about setting up the future. 

Jay Ducote pilot for Deep Fried America airs on Travel Channel. The viewing party was held at The Varsity in Baton Rouge.

Jay Ducote pilot for Deep Fried America airs on Travel Channel. The viewing party was held at The Varsity in Baton Rouge.

I'm expecting fireworks in 2017. Gov't Taco will be at the forefront of our growth. It'll bring a new business model, new employees and a renewed vision for what we do. Bite & Booze and Jay D's will continue to grow, perhaps at an accelerated rate. I'm hoping to get back on TV. I know of nothing for sure right now, but it seems like 2016 was just setting the stage for the lights to be shining even brighter in the new year.

I wish the best of luck to everyone in 2017. May it bring us all joy and prosperity. 

Happy New Year, indeed!

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