ST_FNS-Logo_s4x3Like being in-the-know on hot new chefs hitting the scene? Then you won’t wanna miss the The Next Food Network Star (on, of course, the Food Network) premiering its season 11, on Saturday, June 7th at 9pm (8pm Central).

If you’ve been a long-time GrooVy Foody reader or ever participated in a Virtual Potluck giveaway around these parts, you’ll no doubt recognize one of its contestants — our own, Jay Ducote of Bite and Booze.


A culinary star in the making

Since our VP days together, Jay’s gone on to bigger and better things including his own Baton Rouge radio show and podcast of the same name as his blog and a signature line of handcrafted small batch barbecue sauce called JayD’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and JayD’s Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Rub both of which will bring the sweet and the heat to your next cookout.

Wanna get your hands on some but don’t live in NOLA? Order online here.

Finalist Jay Ducote performs the Mentor Challenge.

Finalist Jay Ducote performs the Mentor Challenge.

Celebrating Jay!

So in honor of Jay’s big debut this weekend and in hopes that he makes it to #1 as THE Next Food Network Star, I threw together some gluten-free mini-beignets (petite versions of the NOLA favorite, usually served with chicory coffee). I had mine with a cup of Teeccino (an awesome coffee substitute that we’ve talked about before here on the blog, made of dates and chicory.

Order yourself some of Jay’s sauce, make yourself some mini-beignets and a cup of Teeccino, and take a few moments to get to know Jay in this Food Network interview preview. I know once you see the personality on this self-described “big enthusiastic teddy bear,” you’ll be hooked and rooting for Jay D., too!

Back in 2011 Emeril Lagasse brought us all together to help him promote his cookbook — 18 of us chosen from over 100. We worked together and supported one another’s posts. We formed bonds and created a group together called, Virtual Potluck, that worked on food campaigns together, representing some pretty great brands. Though many have gone on to bigger and better things in their culinary writing careers, there’s still a lot of love in this group.

Which is why from time-to-time when one of us has something to promote, we get the whole gang back together to help out. This time we’re back to celebrate Jay. If you’re looking to get more Jay and NOLA inspired recipes, visit these participating VPers:

Help us get everyone tuned in and rooting for Jay with the hashtags:



Gluten-Free Mini Beignets

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious


• ½ cup butter
• 1 cup water
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
• 1 t. xantham gum• 4 eggs
• Oil for deep frying
• 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Sift together salt flour and xantham gum.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter with the water. Add flour mixture, and stir with a spatula until a sticky batter is formed. One at a time, beat in eggs until the batter is smooth.

Heat the oil to 375F. Form mounded tablespoons of dough using two spoons and scraping the dough from one spoon with the other, into the oil. Fry several spoons of dough at a time, for about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil when they are light, golden brown on each side. Place them on a plate with a few layers of paper towels to drain. Serve warm, dusted with the confectioners’ sugar.