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James Beard

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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Journey to the James Beard House

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Journey to the James Beard House

jay ducote james beard

I'm excited to announce I've been invited to cook an LSU Tailgate Party themed dinner at the world-renowned James Beard House in New York City on July 21! In going to New York, I am happy to be representing Louisiana and its foodways on a national platform with the help of my team as well as my friends Chef Aimee Tortorich and Chef Eusebio Gongora.

The dinner will begin with passed appetizers paired with Louisiana brews and inspired cocktails. The seated dinner menu will feature five courses inspired by my time on Food Network Star and tailgating. Courses will be paired with wine and cocktails featuring Jay D's Blanc du Bois from Landry Vineyards, the Vending Machine Winery and the Donner-Peltier Distillery.

james beard menu

I've also been invited to cook at the James Beard Foundation's Chefs & Champagne event at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons on July 23. This year’s event honors fellow Louisiana chef John Besh, and it's going to be a blast.

Getting invited to cook at the James Beard House is a huge honor, but it is also a charitable dinner that raises money for the James Beard Foundation. Chefs who cook at the house do so at their own expense, so we have to be able to cover the costs of the food and drinks plus our travel and lodging for both the James Beard House and Chefs & Champagne. I’m estimating we’ll spend over $10,000 making this happen, and we’d love to help raise more money for the Foundation, so every donation, ticket to our preview dinners and sponsorship is appreciated.

We set up a GoFundMe page to help defray the costs of making the trip to New York and to help raise money for the James Beard Foundation. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/jayducote.

To anyone interested in flying out, tickets to the James Beard House dinner in New York will be available starting in June at jamesbeard.org. LCI in Baton Rouge will host a preview dinner for locals to attend on July 8. Tickets will benefit the LCI Foundation and the James Beard Foundation and are available at tailgateon12th.eventbrite.com. We will even be available to do some preview dinners for up to 12 people. Contact me at jay@biteandbooze.com if you're interested!

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