You know Jay Ducote as author of food and beverage site Bite and Booze, purveyor of Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, and runner-up on season 11 of Food Network Star. Now, you’ll also know him as Travel Channel host.

Jay is taking his passion for cooking to new levels with his pilot for Deep Fried America. It was originally filmed as a teaser pilot for the finale of Food Network Star. After the show ended, the network reached out to Jay to see if he was interested in filming a full-length pilot episode for Travel Channel. If ratings and viewer engagement are high, the show might be picked up for a full season.

We talked to Jay to find out what we can expect to see in the episode and the deep-fried foods he’s excited to try.

What is the premise of the show?

Jay Ducote: As the host, I would be traveling around to different cities throughout the country and getting in the kitchen with chefs who are doing the coolest and craziest and most exciting things with a deep fryer. We can feature absolutely anything, as long as a deep fryer is being used as an essential piece of the cooking equipment.

What deep-fried foods are on your bucket list?

JD: I’m always in search, truly, of the best fried chicken out there. Fried chicken is one of my death row meal staples, and I really get excited about trying different versions of it.

What are some of the craziest deep-fried foods you’ve tried?

JD: I’ve had deep-fried rattlesnake. I’ve had all sorts of different organ meats. I like all sorts of wild game. In the pilot for the show, we deep-fry a whole burger. It’s exciting to experiment with different things and see what we can find to put in the fryer.

What other foods will we see in the pilot?

JD: We’re going to do a deep-fried lamb meatloaf sandwich. We do a meal that’s called the Country Clucker, which is a doughnut base with fried chicken tenders on top. We make a bacon latticework taco shell and then have fried chicken with jalapeño ranch and some other stuff inside. We also make Thanksgiving dinner in a ball.

What other cities would you like to visit?

JD: Obviously, all around Louisiana. I think some of the other best food cities in the South, like Nashville and Charleston and Savannah, would be a whole lot of fun. I think going to cities that have an incredible food scene, like New York or San Francisco or Chicago, would be fun. I’m hoping that we can also explore some smaller towns.

If the show gets picked up for a full season, can we look forward to cameos from other Travel Channel hosts?

JD: What I would really like to see is some cameos from some other well-known chef personalities…maybe feature some people who were on Food Network Star with me or have been on other seasons of that show, or who have been doing their own thing in the food world.

Having your own show on the Travel Channel has long been a dream of yours. How does it feel to be this close?

JD: It’s extremely exciting, but I think also at this point, still just like nervous anticipation. Regardless, I’m definitely still excited about the pilot, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, and definitely pretty honored to have this opportunity.

 
Deep Fried America airs Saturday, June 25, at 12:30 p.m. CDT on the Travel Channel.

by Caitlin Watzke • photography courtesy of Magnetic Productions/Travel Channel