Cookin’ up a Crush.

If you can't take the heat, stop watching Food Network Star.
If you can’t take the heat, stop watching Food Network Star.

I blame Food Network for my recent crush on local chef Jay Ducote.

He’s currently starring on season 11 of Food Network Star, where contestants compete to have their own cooking show on Food Network.

My crush on Ducote started like any other “stranger crush” — one where you know basically nothing about the person — and it developed because on the show, Ducote has shown his personality to be joyful and loving.

It probably doesn’t hurt that, as of writing this, he’s kind of killing the competition.

Even though he’s local, there’s still that TV barrier. I get to see him at his best every Sunday night, without anyone knowing I’m in bed with a bottle of wine.

I swear I’m not a creeper.

When you consider it, the guy is a catch. This isn’t the first chef I’ve swooned over, because let’s face it, what’s hotter than a guy who knows how to whip up something delicious?

Or maybe, I like him because I’m a foodie, too; or because we’re both writers. And hey, we’re both drinkers.

He’s also a creative type, if I had to guess, only his form of expression literally feeds people.

But, I don’t really know him, so perhaps his presence online and on TV is just an act.

This is the problem I have with “celeb crushes” — the dream very well may explode once you meet them in person.

This is why I (on some level) hope I never meet John Mayer (can’t believe I just said that). I’m terrified that he really is a complete douche.

The truth is, I did meet Ducote about two years ago, at Mestizo for a book signing event. He signed my copy of “Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde…” and he thanked me for reading his blog.

From that short exchange, sure, he seemed nice. But at that point, I merely thought he was a cool food blogger, and chances are, I assumed he had a girlfriend (Because… Baton Rouge).

I haven’t told anyone about this little crush, until now, mainly because I find it comical to have a crush on anyone on Food Network.

But you can’t help who you like, right?

The other night, I was folding a stack of tank tops at my retail job, when I overheard someone talking about Food Network Star.

I whipped around as if it were Justin Bieber — another celeb crush of mine — and blurted out, “I’m obsessed!”

The guy, who had this amazing swoop-y hair, gave me a once-over and said, “My sister’s boss is on it.”

It was a little salty, but I rolled with it.

“Jay?” I asked.

He nodded.

I felt like he also wanted me to stop eavesdropping, so I said nothing and went back to the tank tops.

It was awkwardly snotty and, no offence to Mr. Ducote, but it was a conversation that seemed out-of-sorts surrounding a self-proclaimed hugger.

I’ll just chalk it up to fame and BBQ sauce; it does crazy things to people.

So, what will come of my Ducote crush? Who knows. Maybe he’s emotionally unavailable. Maybe I’ll actually attend a Food Network Star viewing party. Or maybe I’ll just stick to cheering him on via my Twitter handle @OrangeJulius7 — he usually replies.

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