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Jul 13, 2010 02:24 PM

Great Food Truck Race

FYI - The Food Network has announced a new show called "The Great Food Truck Race." Premiere episode starts in San Diego.

Established food trucks will have 3-days to stock, prepare. market and sell as much food as possible.

Me, I'm looking for a 3-day progressive Chowdown.

Press release here:

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  1. Ewilensky, that's the first I'd ever heard of "The Great Food Truck Race." Thanks for the heads up. Any idea as to whether they've already filmed the first episode? If not, I want to attempt hunting these food trucks down!

    9 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        First I''ve heard of it was yesterday. Best bet would be to follow some of the trucks competing on Twitter. I'm sure they'd either post their location there or, if rules prevent that, post that they were heading off to compete in some show. Part of the competition is marketing their product, so they shouldn't be too hard to find and with this group, I imagine we'll be the first in the city to know.

        1. re: Ewilensky

          I suspect it's already been filmed. FTV has been hyping the show for the last couple of weeks. My guess is that it's already in the can.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            I'd love to see a Food Truck Slalom race at the stadium parking lot. Give the chefs 30 mins to prepare hot 3-course meals for 20 Chowhounds in the back of the truck *while the driver competes for time in a slalom around cones and obstacles*.

            Smoothies would not be permitted.

      2. re: mackrelmint

        They filmed the San Diego segment last week, and as the Press Release indicates, none of the competitors are local SD food trucks. However, I did read some of them were on hand at the shoot and could be featured in cameos.

        1. re: foodiechick

          none of them were SD trucks?? WT*, what good is that??, sounds like another FN hype segment. Hope FN isn't going to ruin some of the best SD chow destinations.

          1. re: cstr

            Think of it as The Next Food Network Star for food trucks. They are not featuring trucks in a particularl locale, they pre-selected food trucks to compete against each other in challenges in different locations around the U.S. on a road trip to NYC, with a truck being eliminated each week until they're down to 2 remaining truck as they arrive in NYC.

            Covers all the FTN bases - competition/challenge shows, unknowns vs. celebrity chefs, road shows, and the ever vital 18-35 year old male demographic.

            Chances are pretty good that this limited run series will have virtually no impact on the local food truck scene. I don't think anyone's in danger of being harmed by the exposure, or lack thereof.

          2. re: foodiechick

            Looking at the Twitter feeds of some of the trucks, it looks like they probably filmed in May-June because all seemed to be on hiatus around that time.

          3. re: mackrelmint

            Article about this show came out a while back - seems the Grill' Em All and Austin Daily Press teams became really good friends to the extent that had tattoos done of each other's logos! So when I watched the 1st episode, I knew Grill 'Em All would survive.

            So far, I like this show even though it's obviously a Top Chef/Amazing Race mishmash but it's better than Iron Chef or The Next Iron Chef.

          4. Pretty sure this was already filmed. I remember Grill 'Em All saying they were going to be here in NYC for a TV show/contest about 2 months ago, and that's a long way from LA.

            1. Watched the Food Truck Race last night when they were in SD.
              They were all over SD, from Adams Avenue Street Fair, Seaport Village, East Village, PB and Gaslamp.
              It was fun watching the food trucks in SD but wish we had one of our own representing.
              All the food looks great and I wish them all the best!

              36 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                Did you find it odd that the burger truck praked on 30th did so poorly? This should have been a no brainer. When I heard them saying they were going to NP and the bar scene, I thought they'd made an inspired choice. Not so much, I guess we know why I'm not operating a food truck ;-)

                Bahn Mi at the Hillcrest farmer's market? No brainer
                Breton Crepes on the fringes of Little Italy? Good choice
                Pressed Sandwiches in PB? Would have been more successful if - a) it had been summer or b) they were in OB
                Banana Pudding? What were they thinking? This is not a wings and pudding type of town.

                And San Diego proves once again just how telegenic it really is

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Who thinks there is a veiwership for this drivel. What's next the great grease trap scrape out?

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    Yeah, I can't imagine watching this every week...kind of the same thing all over again. Plus it really was more about the marketing of the trucks than the cooking.
                    Beyond that, the Cajun guy with his fricking whistle jumping up and down was enough to put me over the edge!

                    1. re: ospreycove

                      obviously the network does, since they made it...and no one's forcing you to watch it, so if you think it's drivel and not worth watching, that's your prerogative. for the record, i did watch it, and it's like any other food/cooking competition show - they're competing to show off their food, one-up the competition, and find ways to be resourceful about making money.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        good heal.....Aren't you burning out on the proliferation of reality show...everything?????? I am waiting for the great leftover search show!!!!
                        I guess you are correct the Netrwork knows what the consuming public wants, and has the producers and writers to sate that hunger.

                        1. re: ospreycove

                          the only "unscripted" shows i watch are Top Chef, the Next Food Network Star (though i could take it or leave it), Chopped and So You Think You Can Dance. i had a brief run with Hell's Kitchen, but gave up on it after less than one season, and i've never even seen American Idol, Survivor, Project Runway, or any of the other shows everyone seems to love.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I know what you mean; how much can they stretch this current theme. Hey, Bring on" Dexter" anytime!!!!!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              As a former contestant and a huge fan of the Price is Right....I think a food game show would be a HUGE hit.
                              Prizes to Patricia Wells cooking school in Provence..set of Wolf kitchen appliances..

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Isn't that what Chopped essentially is? And Top Chef? And TNFNS?

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Haven't seen Chopped but I'm talking game show like the Price is Right, there's no wheel or showcase.

                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    BC, Chopped is pretty good, I think you'd enjoy it. Tuesday at 10 pm. Also, depending on which provider you've got in SD, you can get it at 8 pm on Friday's as well. One of my favorite shows on FTV.

                                    It's the one FTV show I watch that I know I'd NEVER want to be a contestant on. I think it's difficult. Every cheftestant on the show is a hero in my book.

                      2. re: DiningDiva

                        i watched it too - the banana pudding & wings were destined to fail, for more reasons than just the concept. how do people running a food truck NOT keep an eye on their propane supply? and the dynamic among them, with the guy just sleeping in the 2nd day and not was all very odd.

                        someone needs to put a muzzle on the Ragin Cajun guy. i think i'm going to have to root against them just so we don't have to listen to his screaming every week! and i'm not all that interested in seeing the French team win, but i have to give them credit for a unique concept - setting up seating and offering table service is definitely not something you expect from a food truck.

                        i think the Nom Nom truck clearly has their act together more than any other team - i suspect they're the ones to beat. but i'm pulling for the Grill Em All or Austin Daily Press guys - i like their energy the best, and i have to support at least one hometown team :)

                        BTW, did you catch the signage when they were doing their grocery shopping? Jimbo's isn't exactly the most economical choice!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I think the Nom Nom truck is probably the best conceptualized truck of the lot too, but I wonder how the bahn mi will play when they get off the coasts. Will if fly as well in Santa Fe?

                          I think they were also shopping at Restaurant Depot

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            i thought they might have been at someplace like Restaurant Depot too, Jimbo's was just the only sign i saw.

                            Santa Fe will be interesting - i'm not so sure the French food will be a huge draw there either. in fact, i think the banh mi/Vietnamese angle will go over better!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Santa Fe will be interesting, I agree. The dark horse in this race may be the Breton crepe truck.

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                those crepes looked great!
                                I wish we could get the French Food truck here in SD!

                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                  Chika-dee, there is a crepe vendor at the Little Italy farmer's market every Saturday. Usually swamped. These *are* good.

                                  The French food truck is out of San Francisco, to which my reaction was..."oh, but of course, how appropriate" ;-). Probably better than anything we've currently got, no?

                            2. re: DiningDiva

                              People on the square in Santa Fe are used to crepes. There is a crepe shop that adjoins the La Fonda - right behind where Tyler was standing doing the opening for this episode.

                              That was pretty clever of the Nam Nam crew to call the newspaper.

                              1. re: decolady

                                Shoot, I missed this... did they call to get a plug in the paper? Nice!

                                1. re: waldrons

                                  Yes they did. Apparently, Sauver Magazine named the Nom Nom truck a "best of" and the spokesperson for the truck used that as a hook to get the article in the paper.

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    I looked that Sauveur article up, and Nom Nom definitely didn't belong in that list. It was more of a these are the best tacos, and by the way, here's also a couple of innovative tacos being served at taco trucks.

                                    But, from the chowhounds on the LA board, the tacos are Nom Nom's weak point where they just put asian ingredients inside a taco.

                            3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Being that I work in the food truck business and Nana's does park near our truck I do find it strange they somehow ran out of propane.

                              Here is the situation:

                              1. the commissary that we park out trucks at refills the propane for us and bills us on a consistent basis so we are never below half full.

                              2. Even with half a tank of propane we've done $800-1200 days and these guys aren't using their flattop grill, only their fryer so thats even stranger.


                              They lit the pilots and turned on the fryer and left it on while they were driving from Los Angeles to San Diego and for the entire duration until they actually parked.

                              Other than that I was expecting them to do better, I mean who doesn't like fried chicken wings? I was expecting the Cajun truck to go out first. I also agree, that guy screaming all the time is annoying.

                              As for Nom Nom's I'm surprised they did $1700 but then again they do overprice their bahn mi's at $5-6 each when I can get 3 of them at Bahn Mi Che Cali for the same price.

                              I'll keep watching since I want to see how this show turns out since we are being considered for the 2nd season of it.

                              1. re: Johnny L

                                Good luck on getting accepted for the 2nd season.

                                Nom Nom parked at a very upscale farmers market where the clientel has lots of expendable cash and is knowlegable about ethnic food. Bahn mi are pretty popular in SD too. Bahn mi are not quite that inexpensive here, $2.50 - $3 for only 1 is pretty standard. Think of it this way...Nom Nom parked at the SD equivalent of the Santa Monica farmers market.

                                Wings in San Diego? Not so much unless you're at a sports bar. It's a novelty item down here, not something people really seek out. A quick peek at the SD board doesn't turn up any "Best Wings..." threads or any discussion of wings.

                                Burger truck should NOT have missed in it's location. They did something to screw up big time to be in next to last place. There are a couple of locations where they parked that do a very good pub burger, but it's also a location that will really embrace a food truck.

                                1. re: Johnny L

                                  Hey Johnny L..
                                  What kind of food truck do you have?
                                  We'll all be pulling for you for the 2nd season!
                                  If you ever want to come to SD and park that bad boy and start cooking some food...let us know, we'll be there to support you too.

                                  Out of curiousity...what's your take on a garden burger patty melt on rye with grilled onions and thousand island for a food truck item?

                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    I'd rather not say since I don't want to get moderated for trying to promote my own food truck. Also I do not own it I just work for them for now. Might switch to Border Grill Truck later on though if they still need experienced people.

                                    As for garden burgers, to be honest I've never had one but for me its gotta be beef.

                                    As far as I know there are several trucks catering toward vegetarians or have vegetarian friendly foods. Most of them do pretty poor business from what I have witnessed first hand so unless you have good connections in the vegetarian community for catering or can do some sort of cross promotion with say a vegan-coffee shop business on the streets will be very tough.

                                    1. re: Johnny L

                                      Thanks Johnny L..
                                      Totally respect your take on the veggie patty melt idea and also, don't want you to be shut down by the mods.
                                      We're pulling for you and keep us updated!

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        its all about marketing. There are plenty of trucks with good food such as Papa's Tapas but they are small and family run.

                                        The smart trucks like Nom Nom and Grilled Cheese spent a good amount of money and effort on marketing campaigns. It's who you know and most of all who knows you. You have to have a very clear and concise business plan and you would have to know your target audience very well and have realistic expectations about how successful you can be.

                                        1. re: Johnny L

                                          I suspect that Nom Nom are much better marketers than cooks.

                                          They were getting written up in latimes and laweekly even before they launched their food truck and people had tried their food.

                                          I'm curious how they were able to so successfully market their food truck, given the glut of other food trucks that came out at the same time.

                                          1. re: hobbess

                                            Must be those Business degrees from UCLA ;-). One of them must have a concentration in marketing, no?

                                      2. re: Johnny L

                                        That's interesting about the vegetarian. One of the most successful non-taco truck mobile vendors here is a truck specializing in the vegetarian street foods of Mumbai; it's also one of the best local trucks over all. Been at it for almost 2 years now. I guess the fact it operates in a part of town with a large Desi presence is a factor but people come from all over the city and even from outside the immediate metro area to try it.

                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    As a Ragin Cajun, I have to say that the Cajun guy is a little over the top. Funny thing is that his accent is dead on. He's the real deal ;-)

                                    I think Nom Nom in this competition may be a bit unfair. Out of all of the trucks in all of the large cities in the United States, I have only read about a handful in the popular media. Nom Nom happens to be one of them. They're all business school graduates, which explains why they have their marketing solid and their sh!t together.

                                    I also got the impression of Restaurant Depot. FWIW, I own and operate a catering company and love this show. I thought it would be a pathetic excuse for a "competition show" but I was thoroughly entertained...


                                    1. re: UptownKevin

                                      I'm glad that the challenge was based on making money. Rather than a judgmental challenge with qualifying factors based on supposed "quality" and performance.

                                      1. re: Johnny L

                                        It's a pretty simple challenge - do your thing and sell your stuff. But it was entertaining to watch.

                                      2. re: UptownKevin

                                        @Kevin & Hounds,

                                        I live in L.A., but my people relocated here from LA in the 1940’s. My paternal grandmother was descended from the gens de couleur libres, and my paternal grandfather was Cajun. I was shocked and dismayed to see Rajin' Cajun in the competition. The guy has an authentic accent, but he owns a restaurant in Hermosa Beach where the food is DISGUSTING. I had food from there ONCE, and will NEVER try it again. What self-respecting Cajun sells gumbo made from BURNT roux?! He claims his food is based on his "mama's mama's mama's recipes," but the food they sell at that restaurant is just a poorly-executed mess. I think the only reason they stay open is their location, near the beach, in a community with no ties to (or knowledge of) Louisiana food-ways. He couldn't pull that mess in some of the traditional areas of Los Angeles where Louisiana folks settled in the 1940's! As far as the on-camera personalities go, the Rajin’ Cajuns don’t seem very likeable, the owner is projecting a stereotypical “coon-ass” caricature as a gimmick; and using the attractive, young blonde to attract male customers. They just come across as sleazy!

                                        I thought the Nana Queens just didn't have their act together, and didn’t represent old school, South Central, soul food trucks very well AT ALL! How do you take off on a food truck competition with no propane in your tanks (WTF)? Some of them were actually crying when they were asked to go; but they didn’t come prepared to cook, and their overall concept was weak. I also didn’t like the fact that one of the sisters disparaged the French restaurant truck as having a menu that was terrible (or some equally negative adjective). That guy is a real chef, who owns a successful restaurant in San Francisco; but, most significantly, she was being negative and unsportsmanlike about a fellow competitor, when she didn’t have her ISH together. I also disliked the burger guy's snarky comments about the Banana Man, as well as the Banana Man's snarky comments about the burger guys!

                                        I have to add that I was disappointed overall with the lack of solid representation from Blacks and Latinos, who started this whole culture in Los Angeles! There should have been at least one taco/Mexican truck, and one solid soul food truck in this competition. The taco trucks consistently win food truck throw-downs all over Los Angeles, and are by far the most popular, most traditional, and most numerous of all the types of trucks here. I think Nom Nom definitely belongs in the competition, as does a burger truck. I wish they could have had a truck from Bayou Grill or one of the more decent Creole spots in Los Angeles, and that could have represented both suol food and traditional LA food cultures from Los Angeles. I’m skeptical that the Rajin’ Cajun truck even existed prior to this competition. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that their truck was devised to allow them to participate on this show.

                                        Now that I’ve finished my belly aching, I just want to add that I really enjoyed the show (as well as the overall concept). It was exciting to watch, and even the obnoxious “coon-ass” caricature was somewhat entertaining. I will definitely be tuning in for the duration, and I’ve got my DVR set for the series!

                                        T-D. Trosclair-Gonzalez
                                        Los Angeles, CA

                                        1. re: TerriDawn

                                          I agree about the need for an honest to goodness taco truck. I was actually kinda surprised there wasn't one since they are all so prevalent all over the southland

                                2. The Next Food Network Star lunch trucks on Venice Beach were so much more fun.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                    that was a really fun challenge to watch! I am enjoying the truck challenge tho, and will continue to dvr and watch at my leisure. :)

                                  2. It's funny, I watched the show last night, and as I was drivng down LaBrea today, two of the trucks were parked. The ragin cajun, and the banana pudding truck. We just picked up machaca burritos at El Tepyac, but we were right there, so we stopped. We hot wings, and starwberry pudding. The hot wings were good, and haven't tried the pudding yet. At ragin cajun, we got a shrimp po boy. They gave us tastes of food, their brisket was spicy in a sauce, and had a taste of soup that hubby said was good. We liked the shrimp with this really good spicy sauce, however, the sauce that we got with the po boy didn't taste the same, it wasn't as spicy.
                                    They said they are going to be there on Mondays for lunch LaBrea just south of Beverly Blvd on the west side of the street. Also might be there on Friday and Saturday nights.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: paprkutr

                                      I'm sure they're hoping for extra business spurred by the fact that they did the show... I have to ask myself just how well a truck that only sells two things is actually going to do in the real world - how many people like banana pudding enough to hit a food truck for it, even in eight flavours?