August 19, 2012 08:58 PM by Lori Wilson
The Great Food Truck Race is back on The Food Network. Season three has all the same elements of seasons past: On-the-spot menu planning in different cities every week, host Tyler Florence and the wrench-in-the-works Speed Bump. But there’s one element that makes this season a little different than before.
Unlike seasons one and two, season three of The Great Food Truck Race consists of contestants who don’t already run a food truck business. They have never worked in one. They have never driven one. They are newbies being lent trucks for the show. The winning team will receive $50,000 and their truck.
Some teams are experienced chefs who work for others, while others have absolutely no culinary training. Most left their regular jobs to pursue their dream of owning their own business – a food truck.
The teams include first-generation Korean-Americans Seoul Sausage, Under the Crust, led by Hannah who began her culinary dream with her late fiancée, the inexperienced Pop-A-Waffle, veteran pizza makers Pizza Mike’s, best friends serving their grandmother’s traditional Italian fare Nonna’s Kitchenette, Alaskans Momma’s Grizzly Grub, seafood loving professional chefs Coast of Atlanta and Australian Barbie Babes.
The eight teams met host Tyler Florence in Long Beach, California. They were given trucks based on designs each team came up with. Many cried upon seeing their mobile kitchens and being so close to their dreams.
However, the trucks were completely bare. No pots or pans or even salt. The teams were instructed to buy utensils and supplies with just $1,500. Next, they were told that the first challenge would take place in Los Angeles. Not Long Beach.
As Seoul Sausage set up chop in Koreatown selling burgers, Barbie Babes got held up trying to figure out their budget at the store. They spent too much time paring down their list giving the other teams a head start. Under the Crust headed to the L.A. Live entertainment complex, but they had a hard time parking the truck. Once settled, they scaled back their pre-planned menu, due to time restraints, and decided to focus on the next day. Momma’s Grizzly had a hard time getting their feel of L.A and Pizza Mike’s went to Hollywood Blvd but had to park far from the action. Pop-A-Waffle drove to Echo Park working with just one waffle iron, but lended a hand to the far behind Barbie Babes by inviting them to join them in their part of L.A.
Coast of Atlanta decided to set up shop near the beach to sell their seafood tacos and salmon quesadillas. However, they discovered Venice Beach wasn’t responding, so they tried to drum up some business by walking the coast selling water. Seoul Sausage continued to draw in the crowds in Koreatown, as Under the Crust tried to rebound from the previous day. Barbie Babes and Pop-A-Waffle teamed up again for the second day, but the Barbie Babes had issues with the pilot light, which meant they couldn’t grill. Kind of tough to sell BBQ without an actual BBQ. Luckily, one of their customers happened to be a chef and helped them light the pilot. They were back in business. Nonna’s Kitchenette parked on Hollywood and found steady business.
Tyler called the teams and told them they would be parking directly next to each other on Hollywood Blvd in front of Mann’s Chinese Theatre. It was to be a true test of their salesmanship. Prices, menus and tactics changed in order to outsell each other. With tourists milling around, the teams yelled, sang and waved flags to attract attention. Barbie Babes were the last to arrive, continuing their trend of starting off behind the eight ball.
Barbie Babes understandably felt defeated going into the elimination, where Tyler announced that seven of the eight teams actually lost money. Not exactly the point of the game. Clearly, this was harder than they all expected. First place went to Seoul Sausage. The only team to make a profit, which came as no big surprise, considering their strong showing in Koreatown. Barbie Babes’s fears were warranted since they did so poorly, but it was Under the Crust who went home. However, The Great Food Truck Race was inspired by Hannah’s story of losing her fiancée to cancer and donated $5,000 to the American Cancer Society in his name. Tyler also encouraged Hannah to continue with her dream because her well received food wasn’t the reason they lost.
Someone had to go home, but with Hannah trying to win in memory of her late fiancée, it was a bummer to see Under the Crust get eliminated first. Week one was hard to get a feel for a frontrunner, a personal favorite or even a least favorite. Hopefully next week will flesh out the teams’ personalities more.
What did you think of week one of The Great Food Truck Race? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Photos courtesy of The Food Network.