Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Great Food Truck Race Returns

**spoiler alert**

Now that Food Network foodies are moving past the debacle that was the finale of the next Food Network Star, it's time once again to take the show on the road. Tonight saw the return of the Food Network's Great Food Truck Race, a food truck competition hosted by celebrity chef - and true Food Network Star - Tyler Florence. Eight teams of three will compete in a cross country challenge of running a successful food truck. The winning team wins a brand new, state of the art food truck … and $50,000 in start-up money.

Each year, this show provides some inspirational stories of people looking for an opportunity for entrepreneurship in the growing field of food truck service. According to Tyler Florence, there are nearly 15,000 food trucks across the country, and they are changing the way Americans eat by bringing some high quality and even gourmet food to the customer. And there is something unique and charming about food trucks - so much that the surprise Hollywood sleeper hit of the summer was Jon Favreau's story of food truck redemption, Chef.

And, the Food Network has honored this phenomenon with a really quality food show centered around competition and culinary challenges. And, after the last two seasons of Food Network Star, I am realizing that I prefer this simple story of people trying to make a go of cooking in real world situations everyday. No gimmicks or goofy challenges or teasing the camera or cooking out of their element … or any of the nonsense that guides many Food Network shows. The Great Food Truck Race is just people with a dream to serve real food to real food and earning a living doing it.

The 2014 season features some interesting concepts and neat people. Of course, there are a few people who are clearly out of their elements and in over their heads. The fried chicken family from Tennessee set themselves up for failure by basically forgetting everything about cooking, most importantly in the area of food prep. They were so disorganized they lost hours of sales time by making numerous unnecessary trips to the store. Yet they only lost by $60, so it's clear that the Bacon Truck - who sold the whole time - are probably not long for elimination. And, I am a fan of bacon - but this food won't cut it. The Military Moms may have the emotional draw from their backstory - but the food won't take them far. I'm surprised they finished as highly as they did.

The story of the young family serving Mexican food won my heart, especially with the appearance of the dad - not to mention Tyler's advice to the young man about following his heart. And their food is clearly a winner two. Other favorite teams for me are the Beach Cruiser's selling fresh Cali food, and the Gourmet Graduates and the Middle Feast. The Texan group was the winner today, but they're not really my style. Can't wait for next week.

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