The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Former Duke’s Grocery chef Alex McCoy will appear on the upcoming season of the Food Network Star

Placeholder while article actions load

So maybe Alex McCoy wasn't just exploring Southeast Asia earlier this year?

When last we checked in with the former chef of Duke's Grocery, McCoy had already left the craft-conscious sandwich shop near Dupont Circle and was planning to travel to Thailand and other countries ahead of starting his own Southeast Asian restaurant. But then a release dropped today announcing that — we're a long way from Thailand, Toto! — McCoy will be one of 12 contestants for Season 11 of the Food Network Star, the reality show formerly known as the Next Food Network Star.

[Alex McCoy leaves Duke's Grocery to prepare for his own place.]

If you'll recall, the champion wins, as the program's name suggests, his or her own show on the Food Network. What the champion doesn't win: an instantly popular Food Network show. Past winners have launched shows of wildly varying success, from Guy Fieri's juggernaut, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," to Amy Finley's "The Gourmet Next Door," which lasted only six episodes before she pulled the plug.

[The $20 Diner unhinges his jaw for the big meaty sandwiches at Duke's Grocery.]

Either way, hosting a Food Network show is not opening your own restaurant. There's no word yet whether McCoy will follow through on his plans to launch a Southeast Asian eatery. Calls to the chef were not immediately returned.

Interestingly, McCoy will not be the only Washington area chef on Season 11. Emilia  Cirker, a former pastry chef for the Washington Redskins, is also competing on the show. Who knew the hometown team even had a pastry chef? Doesn't that make you want to ask Cirker a simple question: "What kind of dessert do you create for 350-pound defensive linemen?"

Likely answer: "Anything they want."