La.’s own takes Tasty Awards

Photo provided by AY DUCOTE -- Baton Rouge food blogger and radio host Jay D. Ducote and New Orleans' Kid Chef Eliana, 13-year-old Eliana de Las Casas, pose at The Annual Taste Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 16. Show caption
Photo provided by AY DUCOTE -- Baton Rouge food blogger and radio host Jay D. Ducote and New Orleans' Kid Chef Eliana, 13-year-old Eliana de Las Casas, pose at The Annual Taste Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 16.

Two south Louisiana food writers and radio hosts received praise for their good taste.

Jay D. Ducote, host of Baton Rouge’s “Bite and Booze Radio Show,” and Harvey’s Kid Chef Eliana de Las Casas, host of Internet radio show “Cool Kids Cook,” both took home Tasty Awards for their shows.

Ducote won Best Food or Drink Radio Broadcast, and de Las Casas won the Outstanding Kids Award. Both appeared on the red carpet to receive their awards on Jan. 16 in Los Angeles.

The Taste Awards, given by the Academy of Media Tastemakers, laud the leaders of food, fashion and home design programming who appear on television, film, Internet and radio.

A cookbook author, de Las Casas, 13, is known as Kid Chef Eliana. She started cooking at age 4 with her family and said she enjoyed getting her friends in the kitchen.

She has appeared on national television on the “Wendy Williams Show” and began her show in July 2012 after producers of the VoiceAmerica Kids Internet radio network interviewed her.

“It is really fun to interview all the guests and give recipes,” she said. “It’s super fun. I just want to get kids and families in the kitchen together.”

She has published two cookbooks, and a third, “Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit” is forthcoming from Pelican Publishing Co.

Ducote, 32, began writing a food blog, biteandbooze.com, after becoming bored with his day job creating grant proposals for the state Department of Health and Hospitals. He developed an online following through his blog, Facebook and Twitter. In 2010, he won the Tony Chachere’s Tailgating Cook-off, and the next year he was named one of America’s top 100 amateur chefs when he earned a spot on “MasterChef,” a Fox reality series.

In 2011, he parlayed his experience and media savvy into a radio show when Baton Rouge radio station 107.3 FM became an all-talk station. The “Bite and Booze Radio Show” presented by Calandro’s Supermarket airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and is available for download as an iTunes podcast.

“Truly it started and still is a radio show about the food and beverage culture of Louisiana and promoting and celebrating that the food we have here is worth talking about,” Ducote said.

The radio show was chosen as one of the top nine food and drink radio broadcasts in November, and fans voted him the winner. He didn’t expect to win against shows from larger markets, but his passionate base of fans pushed him to the top.

“I kind of went to Los Angeles to experience it and hang out with other friends,” Ducote said, “but I totally did not expect to have a chance at winning.”

Ducote said he hopes the award will allow his show to grow and spread into other Louisiana radio markets. From his base in the capital city, Ducote sees an opportunity to promote food and drink all over the state. He sees no reason to leave Baton Rouge.

“I like being a Baton Rouge-based blogger and radio show host,” he said. “Baton Rouge has been extremely good to me.”