Join us at The Truck, the Brewer, and the Blogger IV Pop-Up Dinner on January 20th!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jay vs The OMG Burger

At least I had the balls to take on this challenge.  I knew it would be a nearly impossible feat.  Still, with eight other competitors by my side, I took on the OMG Challenge at Uncle E's Wings and Things.  I could tell you all about it, explain my thoughts and emotions, and carry on about the good... and the bad.  But really, I think you'll get more out of this video.  Words don't do it justice.


You can also see me on the news!  Check out this coverage from WAFB about the OMG Challenge!


Uncle E's Wings n Things on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 24, 2011

Juban's Honey Bourbon

Juban's Honey Bourbon
Does everyone else love Juban's Honey Bourbon as much as I do?  It is pretty simple.  They take Knob Creek bourbon (yep, the same stuff I cooked with on MasterChef) and soak honey comb in it for a while.  Then they just stir and pour... and it is delicious!  I don't go to Juban's without having at least a double.  Are you fan?  What are your other go-to cocktails in Baton Rouge?  Leave a comment on this post or leave me a message on Facebook or Twitter.  I want to know what other local cocktails people can't pass up!  I might even mention your choices on the Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket!

Oh, and Chef Eusebio Gongora at Fleming's made some of his own recently (for personal use).  Chef Jeremy Coco at the Louisiana Culinary Institute just happened upon some fresh honey comb and will be making some as well.  I'm going to do the same with some honey comb I got from the Bocage Bee and Honey Company.  I'll let everyone know how it all turns out!

More Juban's Honey Bourbon

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NINJA SNOWBALLS / BITEANDBOOZE.COM SUBMIT A FLAVOR CONTEST

This contest, and these videos, are too good not to relive them.  Enjoy the summer, everyone.  And don't forget to track down Ninja Snowballs too cool off!


RED BRACKET (ROUND 1):

GOLD BRACKET (ROUND 2):

SKY BLUE BRACKET (ROUND 3):



NAVY BLUE BRACKET (ROUND 4):




SEMI-FINALS:


FINALS:





NINJA SNOWBALLS / BITEANDBOOZE.COM SUBMIT A FLAVOR CONTEST OFFICIAL RULES 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Ninja Snowballs / BiteandBooze.com ‘Submit a Flavor’ Contest begins on 08/27/10 and all flavor combination entries must be must be submitted by 9/10/10.



1. Contest Description
The Ninja Snowballs / BiteandBooze.com ‘Submit a Flavor’ Contest (the "Contest") gives Contestants the opportunity to create their own snowball flavor combinations to be created by Ninja Snowballs and judged by BiteandBooze.com and by sales at Ninja Snowballs (jointly, Ninja Snowballs and BiteandBooze.com are the “Sponsor”.)

BY PARTICIPATING IN THE CONTEST, CONTESTANTS EXPRESSLY CONSENT TO THESE OFFICIAL RULES, THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTEST (collectively, the "Official Rules”). If you do not agree to any of these terms, please do not participate in the Contest.

2. Sponsors: 
Ninja Snowballs
BiteandBooze.com

3. Eligibility
To participate in the Contest, Contestants must be: 1) a legal U.S. resident of any of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia; and 2) at least 18 years of age. Employees or direct family members of employees of Ninja Snowballs and Bite and Booze, LLC are not eligible to participate in the contest.

4. Timing
The Contest shall begin on August 27, 2010 and the submission period shall conclude at 11:59:59 pm CST] on September 10, 2010 ("Contest Period"). The judging, brackets, and final four sales portions of the contest will continue over the following weeks.  A champion will be named before 11/1/10.

5. Contest
To participate in the Contest, Contestants must submit a snowball flavor combination through social media. All entries must be submitted on twitter to either @NinjaSnowballs or @biteandbooze or on the Ninja Snowballs or Bite and Booze Facebook Pages during the Contest Period. Submissions must include an original recipe or flavor combination for a snowball. Ingredients should be limited to those normally stocked at a snowball stand or easy to obtain at a local grocery store. Creativity of original flavor combinations is encouraged and submissions may include “stuffed snowballs” with ice cream and the use of condensed milk, among other ingredients. Once a Contestant has made a Submission, the Submission may not be modified, edited or retracted. Each Contestant may enter only one (1) original Submission. Creativity in submissions is also encouraged, so feel free to link to original images or videos. Entries must be submitted by 9/10/10.

6. Winner Selection
Regardless of what communication may take place between Sponsor and Contestant, no Contestant is a winner unless and until the verification procedure is completed in full.

There will be three (3) stages in selecting the Contest winner: Finalist selection, Final Four Selection, and Grand Prize Winner selection.

Sixteen (16) Finalists will be selected by a panel of qualified judges composed of representatives from the Sponsors ("Judges"). The judges will base their decisions on the following judging criteria:
Originality & creativity of recipe and submitter– 50%
Appropriate use of snowball related ingredients and products– 20%
General availability of the recipe's ingredients– 15%
Ease of preparation for Ninja Snowballs – 15%

The sixteen (16) Submissions receiving the highest total rating by the Judges will be deemed Finalists, and will proceed to the second stage of selection. In the event that there is a tie in the highest rating for the 16th Finalist spot, Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to add additional Finalist spots, or select the 16th Finalist from amongst those Submissions tied for the 16th Finalist spot based on the highest score received by a Contestant using the Originality & Creativity judging criteria category. The Judges reserve the right to select fewer than 16 Finalists if, in their sole discretion, they believe that there are insufficient entries that meet the judging criteria. For purposes of determining the head to head matchups in the second stage, the Judges will rank the Finalists' submission in order of preference (1 through 16 - 1 being the highest, most favorable ranking or “seed”). This ranking may or may not be disclosed to the general public.

Once the Finalists have been identified, their Submissions will be judged in a head-to-head tournament format based on taste tests and ratings conducted by the Judges. A single-elimination bracket system will be set up for the tournament whereby the top ranked recipe will match up with the 16th ranked recipe in the first round, and so on. Videos will be created for the head to head showdowns and will be uploaded to YouTube, posted on biteandbooze.com, and promoted through Twitter and Facebook by Ninja Snowballs and Bite and Booze. Over the period of several weeks the 16 Finalist submissions will be narrowed down to a final four. Upon announcement of the final four Submissions, the contest will move on to stage three (3). Two semifinals consisting of two submissions each will be made available to customers at Ninja Snowballs and go head to head, with total sales determining the winner. The winner of each semifinal will move on to the final round sales contest. Each of the two semifinal matchups and the final round of stage 3 will last one week. Videos will be produced and promoted to announce the winners of the semifinals and final.

The Potential Grand Prize Winner will be determined by the series of judging/ranking to get to the 16 finalists, heads up judging in the rounds of 16 and 8, then sales contests in the semi final and final.

7. Prize 
One Grand Prize ("Contest Prize") will be awarded from amongst the top 16 Finalists. Contest Prize includes (1) a one hour private catering event by Ninja Snowballs for use at a time agreed to by the winner and Ninja Snowballs and must be used within one year from the end of this contest, (2) the naming rights for the winning snowball which will be featured on the Ninja Snowballs menu and (3) a featured blog post about the recipe and snowball and featuring the Submitter on BiteandBooze.com. Sponsors reserve the right to have the final says in naming rights (keep it clean and clever). Winner must be available on the dates to be set by Sponsor for photos, videos, and interviews for the blog post.

Odds of winning a Finalist spot are dependent on the number of submissions. Odds of winning the Grand Prize are 1:16 from amongst all Finalists. General Condition: No cash or other substitution, assignment or transfer of any prize is permitted.

8. Publicity/Copyright License
Except where prohibited, participation in the Contest constitutes Contestant's consent to Sponsor's use of Contestant's name, likeness, handle, screen name, photograph, voice, opinions, biographical information, hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media without further payment, consideration, notification, or right of approval. By making a Submission, Contestant grants Sponsor and their agencies a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Submissions in connection with the Contest, including without limitation for promoting the Contest and Sponsor's products and services in any media formats and through any media channels in perpetuity. Contestants shall not be entitled to notification, right of approval, or additional compensation of any kind for use of either Submission pursuant to this license.

9. Representations and Warranties
By participating in the Contest, each Contestant affirms, represents, and/or warrants that: (i) Contestant's submitted recipe is original to Contestant; and (ii) Contestant's Submission is not copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless Contestant is the owner of such rights or otherwise has permission from the rightful owner(s) to participate in the Contest and to make such Submission for the purposes intended by Sponsors. Contestant further agrees that he/she will not (i) publish falsehoods or misrepresentations that could damage Sponsors or any third party; (ii) submit material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, violate any law, or is otherwise inappropriate; (iii) post advertisements or solicitations of business: (iv) impersonate another person.

10. General Conditions
Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify all or part of the Contest if fraud, technical failures or any other factor beyond Sponsor's reasonable control impairs the integrity of the Contest, as determined by Sponsor in its sole but reasonable discretion. In such an event, Sponsor may, at its sole discretion, award the Prize to the Finalist that received the Judges' highest ranking. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the submission or voting process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to deliberately damage any web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest is a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor's failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.

11. Release
By receipt of any Prize, winner agrees to release and hold harmless Contest Entities (also collectively, the "Released Parties") from and against any losses, damages, rights, claim or cause of action of any kind arising, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, out of participation in the Contest or resulting directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any Prize awarded, including without limitation personal injury, death, and/or property damage, as well as claims based on publicity rights, defamation, and/or invasion of privacy.

12. Limitations of Liability
The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Contestants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process of the Contest; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest or the processing of entries; (5) any bugs, viruses, trojan horses, or the like, which may be transmitted to or through the Internet by any third party; or (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Contestant's participation in the Contest or receipt or use of any Prize. By participating in the Contest, Contestants agrees to indemnify and hold Released Parties from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees) arising from: (i) all matters related to Contestant's participation in the Contest; (ii) Contestant's use of and access to online resources; (iii) Contestant's violation of any provision of these Official Rules (iii) Contestant's violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, property, or privacy right; and (iv) any claim that Contestant's Submission caused damage to a third party.

13. Disputes
Contestant agrees that: (i) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest or any Prizes awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, (ii) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Contest but in no event attorneys' fees; and (iii) under no circumstances will Contestant be permitted to obtain awards for and Contestant hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Contestant and Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Louisiana, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Louisiana or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Louisiana.

14. Winner's Name and Official Rules
For the name of the Contest winner, send a self addressed stamped envelope by 12/31/10 to: Winners List c/o:
Jay Ducote
Bite and Booze
663 Kenilworth Pkwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

© 2010 Ninja Snowballs
© 2010 Bite and Booze, LLC

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Uncle E's Wings and Things' OMG Challenge!

Are you ready for the OMG Challenge?  The OMG is a beastly burger: 3 lbs of ground beef, 18 strips of bacon, 8 slices of hot sausage, 9 slices of cheese, fully dressed on a 10" muffaletta bun. 

The challenge is to be the first to consume The OMG, fries and a 32oz drink in a hour or less. Winner receives $100 cash, a refund of their entry fee, the OMG Challenge trophy and your picture on Uncle E's Wall Of Fame.  Actually, anybody that finishes within the hour eats free and gets their picture on the wall.

The event runs from 4-7pm, the eating starts a 5pm. There will be 2 live bands, over $10,000 in giveaways and more. Coca Cola, Nomega Recording Studio, Big Shot Sodas, The Bite and Booze.com Radio Show and others are on board as sponsors.  Here is some more information from the Bite and Booze Radio Show presented by Calandro's Supermarket:





If you want to try the challenge along side me, make sure to register at http://www.uncleeswings.com/the-omg-challenge.html.  You have until Wednesday to get signed up, so don't delay!  And, if you can't imagine trying to stomach the challenge, please come cheer me on!  I'll need all the encouragement I can get!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Legend's Steakhouse at the Paragon Casino

I recently enjoyed a trip to Marksville, Louisiana where I got a chance to play a round of golf with John from Tee to Green Magazine followed by a delicious meal at the Legend's Steakhouse inside the Paragon Casino Resort.  When I got to the resort, I checked in my hotel room that had a balcony overlooking the atrium with live alligators.

After throwing down my bags I caught a tram over to the Tamahka Trails golf course where I met a group of writers and friendly Paragon marketing and staff members for lunch at the Grill Room inside the club house.

After scarfing down a burger, John and I hit the driving range to warm up before beginning our round of golf.  We had a blast playing all 18 holes on a gorgeous day and friendly course.  It had plenty of challenges for the experienced golfers with deep bunkers and doglegged holes, but also some open fairways for a novice like me.  I actually shot a lot better than I thought I would.  After returning to the hotel, I had time to take a quick shower and get back downstairs for what I had really been waiting for: dinner at the Legend's Steakhouse!

Inside the Paragon Casino Resort sits one of the nicest restaurants in Marksville.  Legend's Steakhouse features quality cuts of beef and an assortment of other Louisiana cuisine.  John and I were joined by Lara from Peter Meyer PR in NOLA, Richella, who works as a PR Specialist at the resort, and a travel writer from Florida whose name escapes me.  Our table got started with a some cocktails.  Not wanting to order like a normal person, I decided that I'd begin with the signature drink on the menu: the Legendary Dream.  While most people wouldn't dare begin their meal with this concoction, I thought it would be appropriate.  If it were in Houston it would be simply called the "Dream Shake."  It featured Kahlua, brandy, amaretto, dark creme de cacao, and ice cream.  It was a damn good $10 milk shake.  And rather potent, too.  

Legendary Dream
We also ordered a trio of appetizers to pass around and share.  We began with the Cajun Crab Cakes.  The sweet and delicious lump crab meat cakes were topped with a tangy remoulade sauce.  These were a little different than a typical Louisiana style breaded and deep or pan fried cake.  They let the crab speak for itself, and it worked fairly well.  Next up were the Southern Style Fried Green Tomatoes.  The tempura style fried tomatoes were topped with more lump crab meat, which certainly didn't bother me.  The appetizer was finished off with a Bearnaise sauce.  I wasn't blown away by them, but they were acceptable.  Our final appetizer choice brought the Shrimp Michael.  The large gulf shrimp were wrapped in bacon and then deep fried before being topped on a bed of seafood dressing.  You really can't go wrong combining bacon and shrimp, so this appetizer was a big hit around the table.

Legend's Cajun Crabcakes
Legend's Southern Style Green Tomatoes
Legend's Shrimp Michael
From there, the rest of the table ordered some salads but I couldn't pass up the lobster bisque.  Our waitress decided to get a little artistic and wrote Legend's into the bowl of soup.  Nice touch.  And with a little black pepper to top it off, the soup pleased my taste buds despite being a little bland and short on much lobster meat.  I also needed another beverage, so this time I ordered a Spanish Fly, the most masculine looking martini on the menu.  It featured vodka, triple sec, lemon juice and lime juice.  With the sugar rim, it wasn't all that manly, but it still held me over before I got a glass of wine with my steak.

Lobster Bisque at Legend's
Spanish Fly Martini
My main course is what I really wanted all along.  The VP of Operations for the entire Paragon Casino Resort told me at the golf course that I needed to order the bone-in ribeye.  Never one to turn down a nice cut of beef that is still on the bone, I ordered just that.  My medium rare steak came out cooked beautifully with charred grill marks and a wonderful pink center throughout.  The beef had a great marbling and clearly came from a high quality cow!  I also really enjoyed the charred texture on the outside.  So many high quality steaks these days are broiled with infrared ovens and it was nice to see a flame grilled quality ribeye at a nice steakhouse!

Legend's Bone-in Ribeye
A slight disappointment I had at Legend's was a lack of selection on the wine list.  All the wines by the glass were from Kendall Jackson or Woodbridge by Mondavi.  Those wines can be found everywhere are offer me little as far as exploring something new or unique.  Still, a glass of Woodbridge Cabernet did the trick with the beef.  And naturally, no meal is complete without dessert.  However, I hadn't saved any room in my stomach so I got a wedge of carrot cake to go.  I ate it later that night, and enjoyed every bite!  Overall, the meal exceeded expectations and I'd be happy to eat there again when visiting the Paragon Casino Resort.

Legends Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 13, 2011

Eat for the Arts at the Perkins Historic Merchants District


The Perkins Historic Merchants District Association is proud to present their Summer Fundraiser Food Festival, “Eat for the Arts,” benefiting the Community Fund for the Arts. Join me on Thursday, June 16, 2011 from 6-9 pm, customers can “hop” along Perkins Road by the Overpass, from S. Acadian Thruway until Kalurah St, and taste food and drinks from over 20 of Baton Rouge’s best restaurants and merchants! Live Dance, Music, and Art performances from Baton Rouge’s premier arts organizations will also line the road, for a fun, festival atmosphere. Free Park and Ride is available at The Foyer/Juban’s Restaurant parking lot. Pre-sale tickets are available for $30 at www.perkinshistoricmerchants.org; Tickets are $35 at the door.

The Community Fund for the Arts is a united fundraising campaign that provides operational support to 14 arts organizations in Baton Rouge. The CFA, led by a Campaign Cabinet of business and community leaders, helps keep dancers on their toes, actors strutting across the stage, and the citizens of the Capital City immersed in culture. CFA member organizations include: Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge,Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, Baton Rouge Gallery, Baton Rouge Little Theater, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, The DeBose Foundation, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Friends of Magnolia Mound,Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Louisiana Sinfonietta, Of Moving Colors Productions, Swine Palace, Playmakers of Baton Rouge, and WRKF.



Participating “Eat for the Arts” merchants include: Cangelosi Dance Project, Chelsea’s Café, Coyote Moon, Denim Library, DiGiulio Brothers Italian Restaurant, Duvic’s Martini Bar, Enoteca Marcello Wine Bar & Café@ Noelie Harmon, Gourmet Girls @ Stella Boutique, Himalaya’s @ Perkins Road Parlour, Ivar’s Sports Bar & Grill, Jimmy John’s, Juban’s @ The Foyer, Kleinpeter’s Dairy @ Cottonwood Books, Louisiana Culinary Institute @ The Royal Standard, Maxwell’s Market, Mestizo @ Loft 3H Boutique, Monjuni’s (of Highland Rd) @ Beehive Salon, Perkins Computer Center, Pinetta’s European Restaurant, Rock-n-Sake, Schlittz and Giggles, Tin Roof Brewery/Mockler Beverage, and Whole Foods.

The event is co-sponsored by Whole Foods, WAFB, Downtown Duplicating, Kleinpeter Dairy, Tin Roof Brewery/Mockler Beverage, Raising Cane’s, Town Favorites, House and Home, and Lamar.

For more information, visit www.perkinshistoricmerchants.org or call (225) 293-1264

The Perkins Historic Merchants District Association is a group of business owners, community leaders, artists, musicians, restaurateurs, and home-grown Baton Rougeans that make up the vibrant community on Perkins Road by the Overpass. We collaborate with each other to bring focus to this diverse and charming area of the capitol city and to celebrate and foster a spirit that is uniquely ours, and uniquely Louisiana’s, at its best. We are where modern meets mom-and-pop; where big-city glam meets small-town heritage. Come see what you’ve been missing at the Perkins Historic Merchants District—where modern history unfolds.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bite and Booze's MasterChef Season 2 Journey

Ever since I started the whole MasterChef process people have wanted to know some things that I haven't been allowed to say.  Since we filmed in February, every contestant had to sign rather strict confidentiality agreements with FOX and the production companies to not divulge anything that happened on the show before it aired.  That being said, now that I've aired and did not receive an apron, I'm allowed to offer my commentary about a few things!

First things first, let's talk about what actually happened to me on the show.  Each chef had one hour to prepare their dish before going into the judges room where they got an additional 5 minutes to chat with the judges, finish cooking, and plate their dishes.

My hour went by really fast, but for the most part I was completely on pace.  I got my herbs chopped up and marinated the venison (recipe to come in a later blog post).  I then started working on the stuffing for the bell pepper.  All in all, things went exactly as planned.  Half an hour in I had both the venison and the bell pepper in the oven, so I turned my attention to the bourbon cream sauce.  Yes indeed, the bourbon.  While making the sauce, I most definitely did take multiple shots and flambéed some bourbon multiple times for the cameras.  After I toasted a friend and took one shot, the producers came up to me and asked if I could take another one on camera.  Of course I obliged.  Really, what were a couple shots going to do at that point?



Here is what they actually showed of me on MasterChef:

So that leaves a lot to the imagination.  I know my plate was a little sloppy, but the venison was cooked exactly how I wanted it to be!  I ended up waiting over an hour between when I finished cooking and when I went into the judges room.  A lot of people had to wait that long, but still, it seemed excessive.  Nothing I made held any kind of temperature, but the producers assured us that temperature would not be factored into the judges' decision.

The walk to the judges was even longer than it looks on TV.  It took a good stroll with that cart to get to them, and then we had to start plating our dish and talk to them simultaneously.  I introduced myself as I put the bell pepper back in the oven, put the sauce on the stove, and moved the venison to a cutting board.  Chef Gordon Ramsay told me "You look like a chef, you move like a chef, let's hope you cook like one."  I told him "Thanks Chef" and continue my prep work.  They asked me a little about my back story and why I was cooking the dish I had chosen.  I told them that it represented me on a plate because I grew up deer hunting with my dad, my Granny made my favorite cornbread stuffed bell peppers, and now, well, bourbon just made sense to use as an ingredient!  Bite and Booze, baby!

Then came the conversation that made the TV show.  What ACTUALLY happened is that Graham Elliot asked me if I had any more bourbon with me after I flambéed some.  I said yes, put the handle of Knob Creek on the counter, then asked Graham if he wanted a shot.  He replied with "No thanks, I'm driving."  Hahaha... very funny!  Then Gordon asked me if I had been drinking it, and I told him "I had a couple shots while I was cooking!"  Graham never told me anything about being scared to see what would happen next.  That comment came from a completely different clip with someone else in the kitchen.  Oh well, I guess it still made good TV!

I got rushed for time at the end as I was told my 5 minutes had expired so I just kind of threw the sauce on my plate and threw my hands up.  Graham Elliot asked me if I wanted to put the parsley that I had chopped on the plate too, and I felt a little silly.  I told them I didn't have to because time was up, but they insisted that it was my plate, so I put a little bit of parsley randomly over the top.  The time crunch certainly attributed to my lack of plating prowess.


When tasting my dish, Gordon Ramsay went first.  He and Graham Elliot both made comments about the venison looking like it had been cooked perfectly as I was cutting the chops.  The first thing he did was tear into the bell pepper and get a fork full out of the middle.  He tasted it, then promptly handed me a fork.  I tasted it for myself and knew right away it was bad news.  I said, "It needs more salt, Chef."  Chef Ramsay looked at me and claimed "It needs more everything!"  He then tasted the venison and stuck the back of his fork in some of the bourbon cream sauce and tasted that as well.  He seemed to like the venison, but as he walked away he said something along the lines of "What a shame.  The venison was nice, but the bell pepper was bland.... what a shame!"  Graham and Joe followed suit.  Their messages weren't much different other than Joe making a comment about the venison being cold.  I responded that its because I had been waiting for over an hour, but it didn't matter.  Gordon and Graham both said no and Joe didn't have to vote.  I told them thanks and turned to walk away.  After a few paces, I realized that I had forgotten my bourbon.  I turned back around, said I'm going to take this with me, grabbed the bourbon, and left the judges' room.

Despite not getting an apron MasterChef was still a great experience.  I had a blast, met some amazing people, and really had quite an enjoyable experience.  I was honored to be one of the 100 amateur chefs that they chose to go on the show.  I do have a couple regrets about my dish, but you live and you learn.  Next time I'll be ready!  Thanks for all the support from my Bite and Booze fans!

Any other questions about the show?  Post them in a comment and I'll answer what I can!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

BR Foodies Visit Latil's Landing at Houmas House

A group of Baton Rouge Foodies, proudly known quite simply as the BRFoodies, recently made a trip to Burnside and the famous Houmas House Plantation.  The historic house on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi is a thriving tourist and filming destination (including recent episodes of Bravo's Top Chef and Wheel of Fortune) with a Southern charm and beautiful gardens throughout the grounds.  My good friends Paul and Courtney got married at Houmas House and I got a complete tour after the Baton Rouge Socials Media Association's Coastal Social Conference last Fall, but this trip was for a different reason: FOOD!



L to R: Jeremy, Jay, Meghan, Brent, Kelly, Christina, Olivia, Josh and Nick at Houmas House

Our group met Jesse Lambert at the Turtle Bar to begin the evening with a couple cocktails.  Jesse works in marketing for the plantation and graciously offered to meet up with us and talk about the property.  The Turtle Bar sits in one of the twin Garconniere on the property which creates a really unique and historical watering hole.  From there were were off to Latil's Landing Restaurant in the old French House to find our table and start our feast. 

On the second floor of the plantation we found our beautifully set dining table in a private room.  Jesse stayed for dinner and we were also joined by the plantation's owner, Kevin Kelly.  Kevin, a New Orleans native, bought the home in 2003 and restored it to its luxurious yet preserved 1840's roots.  As great as the house and gardens are, and with all of the historical artifacts and relics around the home, Kevin seems to take equal pride in the cuisine that is served at his restaurant.  He told us that before Latil's Landing opened he would routinely find himself returning to New Orleans for dinner.  When he hired Executive Chef Jeremy Langlois to run the restaurant, all of that changed.  He now had a place in Burnside to dine, and it happened to be right outside his bedroom!


Our meal began with an amuse bouche to whet the appetite.  The cucumber and salmon tart refreshed our mouths and got us ready for more gluttonous glory.  The table was also spread with three types of bread and three different house-infused butters including one with fresh honey from the beehives at the plantation!    


Immediately following the very light salmon cucumber came a much heavier crab and mango cake.  The plentiful lump crab meat was sauteed and served with a gorgeously decorated chipotle remoulade sauce.  With the addition of the mango, the crab cake tasted simply sensational.  One of the most popular lunch dishes at Houmas House is the Crab and Mango Cake Salad, and it is quite easy to see why!   


The soup course featured a Latil's Landing specialty: a bisque of curried pumpkin, crawfish, and corn. The soup had a great flavor with a balance of sweetness and spiciness.  The pumpkin and curry tastes were bold and delightful while the crawfish and corn brought it back towards a Cajun bisque that we all know and love.   


For a third course, Sous Chef Bryan Duck delivered a Cosmopolitan Sorbet.  Meant to serve as a palate cleanser before the main entree, the sorbet delivered a little punch of refreshment.  The cranberry heavy sorbet received a little extra encouragement from a shot of orange Grey Goose vodka.  With the pre-dinner cocktails and the constant pours of wine, this sorbet was exactly what I needed to keep the night moving right along!


The duel entree came out to our table and our entire BRFoodie group gasped.  We had already been over-fed, but then we laid our eyes on the lamb and lobster and knew we couldn't stop eating yet.  The lobster portion featured a papaya stuffed lobster tail perched on top of Louisiana crawfish tails with a Creole tomato risotto.  It may have been one of the most inventive lobster dishes I've ever had.  Still, it had nothing on the lamb.  Not to slight the lobster, but the lamb nearly knocked my socks off!  The lamb had been marinated in Louisiana's own Community Coffee and then grilled to a succulent medium rare.  The chops were downright delicious and I was caught gnawing on the bones to get every ounce of flavor out of them!


Naturally, no meal is complete without a dessert at the end.  Latil's Landing served us their Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding to wrap up the meal.  The brown sugar and date bread pudding had a terrific texture and worked very nicely with the toffee sauce.  The blue berries and cream were a nice addition too!


But, as it would turn out, our meal didn't actually end with the bread pudding.  Sous Chef Duck came back up to our dining room with a round of praline shooters.  Chef explained that the shooters were a bit of molecular gastronomy.  It featured a dehydrated and finely ground praline mixed with salt.  When taken as a shot, the praline mixture re-hydrates with saliva and loosely sticks to your mouth leaving the flavor of a salted praline and a very unique textural sensation.  Playing with food is fun!


To cap off the evening, Kevin Kelly led us on a tour of the house and then out to the gardens.  We got an inside look at the former water cistern turned wine cellar that is stocked with an absolutely amazing selection of worldly wines.  Seriously... Mr. Kelly held nothing back when purchasing case after case of Wine Spectator's highest rated wines on the planet!

All in all, it was a great trip to Houmas House.  We had some fantastic drinks, an amazingly delicious meal, and an inside look at the home and property.  I highly suggest a trip out to the plantation whenever you get a chance.  I don't think you'll regret it!

Latil's Landing at Houmas House Plantation on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 2, 2011

MasterChef on FOX: Bite and Booze Style

So by now I'm sure you've heard that I am one of the "Top 100 Amateur Chefs in America" competing for the title of MasterChef on Season 2 of FOX's hit reality show.  Indeed, that is true.  I had the opportunity to go out to Los Angeles and film the show with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay as well as the other judges Chef Graham Elliot and Restaurateur Joe Bastianich.  Here I am on the set of MasterChef, preparing my signature dish for the judges:

Jay Ducote prepares his rack of venison on the FOX reality TV Show MasterChef
My signature dish featured a fresh herb roasted rack of venison with a Cajun shrimp and cornbread stuffed bell pepper.  I finished it off with a bourbon cream sauce because, well, I wouldn't be Bite and Booze without cooking with some sort of alcohol!

I'll post more about my MasterChef experience as well as the full recipe for my dish at another time!

Below is a video about Season 2 of MasterChef on FOX.  If you pause the video you can see me at two different points.  My face sticks out above the crowd at 0:27, and you can see my back very well at 1:30.


Needless to say, I am very excited to watch the show.  The whole journey was incredible and it is going to be fun to see how they edit all the footage they got and turn it into a television program.  Tune in to FOX on June 6th at 7 PM CT to see how I do.  If you don't see me then, the second episode airs the following day, June 7th.  The show will continue with the first round on Monday, June 13th and will move to the elimination rounds on Tuesday, June 14th.