Sunday, August 18, 2013

Great Food Truck Race Returns Tonight in Season 4

For Food Network fans coming down off the disappointing end to the Next Food Network Star reality show competition, there is hope for a more entertaining fix to fill that Sunday evening void. Season 4 of the Great Food Truck Race, hosted by celebrity chef Taylor Florence premieres tonight. The Great Food Truck Race is entertaining and enjoyable precisely because it's real world and real time with no reliance on the subjectivity of judges - which leads to the uneven choices of people like Rodney "Pie Style" Henry. Instead, the chefs and businesspeople manning the food trucks will win or lose based on their ability to successfully market - and actually sell - their culinary products.

If you have never watched the Great Food Truck Race, but you are a fan of culinary shows, then the GFTR is definitely worth your time. The premise is simple - eight food truck teams will compete in various cities across the country to sell their food, and the team that makes the least money in each city, loses and has to head home. In one season, aspiring owners were given a fully outfitted truck and were competing for the right to keep it. In other seasons, it has been established food truck businesses who were competing for cash prizes of up to $50,000 - which would enable them to upgrade and expand the business.

Like any good reality competition, there are unique challenges to each stage which give advantages and challenges beyond the normal practice of selling food off a truck. However, creating and successfully marketing quick, quality food is still at the heart of every episode. Certainly, there have been some disappointing food trucks in the past - and I do believe that on the Food Network with a high end chef like Tyler Florence, the contestants should be people who produce quality food off a truck. Food that is prepared quickly doesn't have to be fast food.

Regardless, the GFTR is an entertaining hour of culinary competition, and tonight's premiere should give us "a good taste" for what's to come.

Bring it on, Tyler.


And the first episode did not disappoint. Once again, the show features food truck novices and wannabe owners who are competing to keep their very own food truck and $50,000. While all the contestants have culinary and restaurant experience, they each have unique stories and seem like they will be successful entrepreneurs. Clearly, the opening bios created some favorites and some biases, and my early choices pretty much turned out as the winners.  Not surprisingly, the Philly's Finest Sambonis, selling the classic Philly Cheese Steak were the first leg winners. A cheesesteak is not a tough sell, and I would have a hard time walking past their truck.  I like their ideas and attitudes, and they will be tough competitors.  The women running The Bowled and the Beautiful came in second, and their menu offerings and business savvy have served them well so far. I also enjoyed TikkaTikaa Taco and the men from Hawaii. Not only do they have great stories - like the Hawaiian guy who saved a swimmer and was rewarded by being sent to culinary school - but their menus are unique and inviting. I expect them to go far - though Aloha Plate made some bad location decisions that could cost them if they don't get into a rhythm. The Slide Show - culinary people selling gourmet sliders - are also competitive, and they have the added story of losing a business to unfortunate circumstances.

The rest making up the bottom will struggle to knock off the top four, and it was tough to see the Irish family lose over a simple mistake - not knowing how to operate their propane valve. That is so sad, but hard to feel too sorry for them. If you want to have a food truck business, operating the hardware has to be second nature. And it was amazing that they only lost by $66 when they spent day two selling a pretty weak salad offering because they couldn't cook anything. And that doesn't really bode well for the hot dog girls. The Frankenfoota truck does sort of turn me off anyway. There's nothing special about their food, they aren't serving high quality sausages, and they come off a bit crass and unsophisticated to me. I'm not impressed with the low class trash talking they started the show with. And they can't truly compete with some of the other culinary talent out there.

Overall, a fine looking cast and show, and I can't wait for them to tackle Portland. It should be a great town for food trucks.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey I my friends I tell you something can you give me answer Always favorite. I like to say the burger is the little black dress of any menu. It might be served plain – elegant and appealing. Or it may be dressed up, although perhaps not as much as the world’s one of most beloved foods. The flavours are endless and they often come out delicious. If you are dedicated, a good burger might be the cornerstone of a food truck business.
Food Themes