Last night marked the premier of the initial episode in season 3 of The Food Network’s ‘The Great Food Truck Race’. This season is using a new format where instead of the contestants being established food truck owners, each of the eight sets of contestants are novices with absolutely no food truck experience. In fact, some of the competitors have no professional cooking experience at all. Consequently, along with a $50,000 prize, the winning team of this season will be given a brand new food truck to help them start their business.
Meet the Contestants
Competing this season are eight very different aspiring food truck entrepreneurs. The first team is Pizza Mike’s from Columbus, Ohio. Previously owners of a restaurant, Pizza Mike needed to close as a result of a fire. They are hoping to reopen their business as a food truck. The next team is Momma’s Grizzly Grub from Wasilla, Alaska. These contestants hope to open a food truck that serves a variety of pasta dishes. Pop-a -Waffle consists of a passionate group of guys from the Los Angeles area. Two of the three team members have no culinary training. But, they consider the third team member to be their secret weapon. From Australia, the Barbie Babes relocated to Los Angeles and began a catering service. Their dream is to open a food truck serving Australian style barbecue. Also competing is Under the Crust, a group of trained chefs who specialize in making pies. They’ve built a following by selling at farmer’s markets, but are hopeful they can expand into a food truck business. Next is the Coast of Atlanta, a group of trained chefs that specialize in seafood. There is also Seoul Sausage from LA’s Korea town, and Nonna’s Kitchen, an Italian restaurant from Jersey.
Each week, the teams must go to a new city, shop and prep. The team who makes the least money will be sent home. To compete, each team is given a loaner truck for the contest based upon a design they sent in to the show. Early on however, it is clear that the teams don’t know what they’re doing. Some didn’t even had problems getting their truck started.
Hitting the Road
The teams first meet in Long Beach, California. After finding their trucks, contestants were sent out to shop for supplies. This included pots, pans, spices, food and items required by the health department. Nonetheless, teams were given only $1500 to shop with. The teams, however, would not compete in Long Beach, but would travel about 20 minutes to the Los Angeles area.
When in Los Angeles, the teams began to shop. While shopping, the Seoul Sausage guys had the most trouble because of the cost of a sausage press. Consequently, they had to revise their plans. The Barbie Babes also struggled to find the spices they needed to make their authentic Australian recipes. They spent a considerable amount of time shopping. Members of the Coast of Atlanta team argued in the store when one of the team members shared information with a competitor.
Finally, contestants parked their trucks (some with difficulty) and began preparing their meals. Seoul Sausage really impressed their new customers with tasty cuisine, while Under the Crust struggled to even find a location. With only one waffle iron, Pop-a-Waffle worried they wouldn’t be able to meet the demands of their customers. Still, they invited the Barbie Babes to join them at their location. Nonetheless, the Barbie Babes started so late they were unable to even open the first day. The following day they were unable to grill because they couldn’t get their pilot light started. Later, however, they were rescued when a chef came by and saved the day.
Coast of Atlanta opted to open at Venice Beach thinking seafood would sell there. To get people to the truck they tried to sell water on the beach for $1. Finally, Under the Crust sold their first dish, a chicken pot pie. The customer did enjoy it and they became hopeful they would be able to succeed in the race.
As expected, this season did not shy away from throwing a wrench into the sales equation of each of the trucks with a “speed bump.” The first speed bump required that competitors sell bumper to bumper. So, each truck needed to move to Hollywood Boulevard for a showdown in front of the Chinese Theater. Immediately, Under the Crust pushes to sell by slashing prices. Each pie is sold for only $2. They even brought mini-pies out to sell them on the street. Pop-a-Waffle drew attention with a banner waving performance, while Coast of Atlanta chose to create a display dish for pass-bys to catch a glimpse of to entice them to purchase. Seoul Sausage presented themselves as Korean rock stars to get customers, and once again, the Barbie Babes were the last to arrive and get started. Each truck even started selling their food for lower than normal prices to unload as many of their food items before the end of the sales day.
The first elimination of the season, Flourence shared that seven out of the eight teams had actually lost money. One team, however, lost the most and would be sent home. In first place was Seoul Sausage who sold almost $2,000 in food. They were the only team to make a profit for the week. In second place was Pizza Mike’s followed by Nonna’s Kitchen. Momma’s Grizzly Grub would take fourth, and Coast of Atlanta fifth place. In the bottom three was Under the Crust, Pop-A-Waffle and Barbie Babes. Both Pop-A-Waffle and Barbie Babes were safe, and thus Under the Crust had to go home.
Next week’s program heads East as the competitors travel to Flagstaff, Arizona.