Jay Ducote invites fellow foodies to join him on a culinary journey to Italy
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – “I think my excitement has always come from change. I’ve never thrived on a routine. I’ve always been adventurous and looking for experiences that challenge my mind or my soul in some way,” says Chef Jay Ducote.
An ability to pioneer and take bold risks is one of Baton Rouge’s most popular chefs. Following the sale of Govt Taco and his sauce company, Ducote plans further innovation and expansion in 2023.
Ducote, a political science major turned high school math teacher, found her sweet spot with a food blog before trying her hand at grant writing. The blog evolved into a culinary media empire, complete with a line of store-bought sauces.
Since his company took off in 2011, Ducote has played a major role in the local food scene. In 2015, she was runner-up on “Food Network Star” Season 11 and competed in several televised cooking competitions. He signed a contract with Guaranty Corporation and became the driving force behind Gov’t Taco, one of Baton Rouge’s most popular restaurants.
Ducot’s success is tied to its ability to embrace change. In an interview with BRProud in January 2023, he admitted that it wasn’t always easy.
“Early in my career or my young career, change was scary,” Ducote said. “There was fear of the unknown, and without a foundation of relationships or finances, there were certainly risks.”
A mindset that helped Ducote thrive
Ducote explained that he learned to embrace change by considering what would happen if he chose to remain stagnant.
“It’s exciting to reinvent yourself, to take on a new challenge, to learn new skills, to find something that’s truly meaningful. And I’d rather live it through evolution and adaptation and change, rather than being stuck in a never-ending cycle of normalcy to live only one life,” said Ducot.
He added, “I learned early on to embrace those risks and know that there was always an alternative. I could always look for another job if that was what it was.”
Adapting to change involves following your instincts
He learned the importance of believing in himself.
“Following your gut can definitely be scary,” Ducote said. “Sometimes it goes against all sense of logic or tells you to stay in your safety net. But I’ve found that if you learn to use your instincts and follow them when the time is right, it can really pay off. Maybe they’re telling you what you know to be true… you’re stuck, or you’re really not happy, or you’ve lost your interest in something you used to have.
Before becoming a household name, Ducote found himself teaching high school math. He realized that something didn’t feel right. So, he took a leap of faith and changed careers.
She explained it this way, “The summer after my second year of teaching, I attended a substitute teacher certification program, and in the first session, my gut told me to leave. Leaving meant I wouldn’t continue teaching and would have to find another career path, but I knew that wasn’t the place for me anymore.
Ducote said she appreciates her experience as a teacher, but “I followed my gut and left the program on day one and never looked back.”
The result worked.
“I landed a new job that took me down a different path, eventually leading to food blogging, which changed my life completely. In two years I’ll be leaving that job to pursue my food business full-time,” she said.
What’s next for Ducot?
Earlier this year, Ducote made another bold decision.
In early January, Flynn Foster, president Guaranty Corporation announced, “Jay will continue to grow professionally from the hospitality group and continue to develop his personal brand, devoting more time to his passion for combining food and beverage with travel. Exciting times await as both Jay and Government Taco head into the new year. Jay will always be the ‘founding father’ of Government Taco.
The coming months will be an adventure for the acclaimed chef and his fellow foodies with whom he wants to spend more time.
“I’m currently planning a cooking trip to Italy where people can join me, and I’m looking at other opportunities to travel around the country and around the world,” Ducote said.
“2023 will be another big change for me,” he said. “It’s time to reset once again and explore new opportunities. I don’t know exactly where it will take me, but I know there will be lots of adventures, including new stamps in my passport, new memories with old friends and a renewed sense of entrepreneurship.
Supporters can follow Ducote on social media to keep up with his next moves.