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

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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."

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