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Great Food Truck Race 9/11 - SPOILERS

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HOLY MOLY - Korilla totally threw away their chance at the win - I thought they had this game in the bag and then they cheat?!?! wow. i was stunned. it appeared to me that they had an off-camera discussion about adding money to their till, that 2 of the guys vetoed it and the third guy went ahead and did it anyway.

in other events - vegetarian in Memphis seemed pretty ridiculous and I think Hodge Podge's solution was lame. he was unwrapping cheese slices and putting it on wonder bread. seriously? and then said it was "better than Roxy" who uses better bread and cheese? please. Lime deserved their immunity - they definately had great sounding vegetarian dishes!

during the truck stop I had an image of the Sea Birds girls' horror at being asked to butcher a pig - what would they have done!??!! I guess something similar to the sausage challenge where they didn't. :)

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  1. I definitely thought the Korilla truck was the team to beat. That's a pretty low-rent move on their part, and the fact that they still would be in the race by a couple hundred bucks over Hodge Podge without cheating makes it even more head-scratching. The Boston boys are sure picking up steam.

    1. I think my jaw hit the floor when I saw that. I can't believe they thought they would get away with it. I agree the veggie move in Memphis was lame. I'm having a hard time really enjoying this show this year. It's hard to prove you're the best food truck at making YOUR food when you're not allowed to make YOUR food. It's just too gimmicky this year, and I don't really like it. The challenges are interesting, but they shouldn't be forced to change their whole way of doing business.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Cgrout

        I really liked the Roxy guy's comment about the cheating - "it's called integrity - get some" lol

        +1 on too gimmicky! I'd like to see how well they do head to head, doing their own thing with no goofy speed bumps!

        1. re: jujuthomas

          I thought that was Hodge Podge dude who said "learn it". Not that it matters exactly what he said, but I did think it was a little bit of pot calling kettle black when HP were the ones trying to snake customers from someone else's line last week and doing generally dumb crap like making inferior product and telling customers it's better than their competitor's. I guess some people think that stuff is cute.

          At any rate, that was a lame move on Korilla's part, and it also made a fine teaching point with my kids last night who've been rooting for Korilla this whole time.

          I think Lime is the one to beat at this point.

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            it may have been hodge. I don't remember for sure. :)

            yeah, I think Lime has a good shot now, but Roxy is coming up from behind. just what, 2 more weeks, right?

          2. re: jujuthomas

            The Roxy guys need to take their own advice. They have had enough of their own questionable actions already. Not that what Korilla did was right either.

        2. I missed the last few minutes of the show, but then caught the very end. Couldn't believe they cheated and was wondering if any of it was caught on camera. Wow. While I understand that winning the money would sure be nice, their business would have been much better off if they had just lost (which I realize wouldn't actually have happened) than be thrown off for cheating. I don't live in NY, but I was sure interested in eating their food. Now, I think I'd walk right past their truck.

          15 Replies
          1. re: LurkerDan

            Eh. It's just a game, granted, a high stakes game. I would definitely still eat there.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I am not requesting others to not eat there, and you are of course free to view it as you wish. But IMO, while it's a game, how people play games says a lot about their character. I'd rather support someone who would rather lose than cheat. Because someone who would cheat in this game might cheat in other ways, if circumstances warranted: taxes, quality of product, employees' pay, etc.

              1. re: LurkerDan

                True, but in my opinion, these "games" are designed to put undue stress on people and put them in very unrealistic situations in which they would never otherwise find themselves. I don't really think how people behave on reality television is necessarily indicative of their character, although, I understand your point. However, I think someone would understand the gravity of say, cheating the IRS, versus cheating at a game and I don't really equate the two.

                I would still eat at their truck if I walked past.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  P.S. I haven't been watching this show very carefully, by the way, so maybe what they did is sleazier than it looked.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Me too. People make mistakes. It's good to move on. Their food looks good to me. If he did something like that again, though, I'd have to seriously consider his judgement, and my own in staying in business with him.

              2. re: LurkerDan

                My 12 yo son and I had a rather involved discussion about this last night. While I'm assuming they're bound at this point by a non-disclosure agreement which would keep them from defending themselves if there is any defense to be made, I think I would walk past their truck as well unless/until they made some kind of statement of contrition if they did indeed cheat.

                I don't think it's casting stones to decide you wouldn't patronize a business run by people who are publicly unashamed for cheating as it appears they did.

                1. re: inaplasticcup

                  I thought they looked pretty contrite, actually. Instead of saying "Wow, they made us look really bad there." (paraphrasing from memory) I wish they'd said, "Wow, we looked really bad there." But I think that's just splitting hairs. They did something wrong and they knew it and knew it it was their own actions that made them look bad.

                  A nondisclosure agreement that would prevent you from disclosing a defense of yourself would also likely prevent you from disclosing an admission of guilt.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I thought the guy said "Wow, HE made us look really bad there" - which I took to mean the dude who cheated, not Tyler.

                    1. re: jujuthomas

                      Oh, that's an interesting interpretation! I really need to go back and watch the whole episode. I kind of fell asleep for about 15 minutes in there and just awoke to find Tyler disqualifying the guys. Did they actually catch the cheating on camera and air it? It takes an incredible amount of nerve to cheat when you know you're being recorded. Sometimes I wonder if these reality show people get so used to the cameras they forget they are there...

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        From what I could see, there was nothing in the footage leading up to the accusation to indicate there was cheating going on (then again, I was working and watching at the same time so maybe I missed something), so in our household, we thought that statement could be taken any number of ways, including the way juju interpreted it upstream.

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          no, there was no indication of cheating on camera at all, just comments about how concerned they were about their final total because their sales were REALLY slow, partly because of their first day location. The tallest guy kept saying "I have a bad feeling about this" but he wasn't the one who put the money in, at least as far as I could tell. It was my impression it was just the one guy responsible for the cheating, the one who drove off in the truck while the other two got in the car.

                          1. re: jujuthomas

                            Interesting, interesting! This kind of reminds me of the pea puree incident on Top Chef awhile back. Either the "incident" wasn't captured on camera or the producers/editors decided leaving us all wondering was better television.

                            Nevertheless, too bad these guys burned themselves by cheating. Hopefully there's a life lesson in that for them.

                            ~TDQ

                        2. re: jujuthomas

                          I'm fairly certain that the key word nobody has yet recalled was 'tried', as in "Wow, he _tried_ to make us look really bad". That one extra word does not speak toward contrition or accepting responsibility at all, I believe. And it also more clearly directs the statement to the show's host, not their own team member. Anyway, that's how I recall it...

                          1. re: jujuthomas

                            That was my interpretation: I understood it to mean the other two gents didn't know the first fella had stuffed the box and were just hearing that it actually occurred.

                        3. re: inaplasticcup

                          I'm with you. I'd have to pass, one little cheat, leads to another etc. I think their food looks amazing. These are well educated young men, and I hope that they learned a lesson.

                      2. I wondered if there'd be fall out between the three Korilla guys that would put them out of business, but according to their website korillabbq.com, they now have 3 trucks.

                        1. Does anyone wonder if they'd been doing it previously and only got caught when they did it on a larger scale that was more apparent?

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: rainey

                            Well, it certainly wouldn't be unreasonable to think it's possible they've done it twice if they've done it once...

                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                              True, but how do they not get caught? Isn't there a camera operator present at all times? I guess the camera can't see everything, but still...

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                well, yeah. I wonder about that. On other programs the cameras follow them "home" when they are not competing... on this program they do not. So maybe they do have off time?

                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                  Well, it would behoove the production team to take custody of everyone's cash box at the end of each evening and bring it back the next morning. Are you thinking they have more off time than that?

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    I don't know. I'm just curious how closely watched they are... how much the production crew is part of their lives.

                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                      I'll bet they'll be more involved now, at least in securing the cash box at the end of filming!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        P.S. I've been assuming that every truck is assigned its own camera crew that follows each team's every move, the way it is on Amazing Race. But maybe they only have a couple of crews that go from truck to truck to truck and that's how teams can cheat without getting caught.

                                        As you say, it's hard to know how present the cameras are.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          I don't really have a problem with the producers not taking the cash boxes every night, especially if they have a means for making sure they weren't cheating (i.e. comparing receipts/cash). If someone wants to attempt to cheat, let them get caught.

                            2. re: rainey

                              i could see where minor discrepencies in total v. receipts might be overlooked or attributed to miscounted change or something, but this larger amount was so egregious that the cheating was more obvious.

                            3. I did wonder about cheating a few weeks ago on this, what's to stop one of the teams spending their own money at the stores to buy more food? I didn't think it would amount to adding cash to the end of day receipts, but since they don't have POS machines and tickets are handwritten how do the producers know Korillaz cheated? Not that Korillaz attempted to defend themselves.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: smartie

                                There are unseen producers with them while they are recording the video for the program. Each team fills out a ticket for each sale. If they were really going to get away with cheating they would need to fill out dummy food tickets so the cash in the box matches up to the receipts/tickets. I don't think they would be able to dummy up enough tickets because I am sure the producers thought about possible cheating and they are likely not allowed access to their truck and cash back at their motel rooms.

                                Last night just a short time after the program ended the Korilla Wikipedia entry already mentioned their cheating and disqualification, on both the Great food Truck Race and their own Wikipedia entry. I did a quick internet search and found several web stories about their cheating. I also read a few of their Tweets from today. "1st Amendment Rights went on a hiatus and won't be back till Spring". They apparently have a six month nondisclosure agreement.

                                The Korilla guys might know how to cook Korean food but they are clueless about the Bill of Rights.

                                1. re: smartie

                                  My guess it was caught on camera or a crew member knew about it. FN might of spared them that ugly embarrassing part. That's a pretty large accusation and they'd need proof positive.

                                2. Man, it had to be the Asians.

                                  [hangs head in shame]

                                  Now the popular refrain is going to be "they're so good at math they can make $5000 turn into $5500 when you're not looking!"

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    It's a conspiracy I tell you! Nom Nom last year, Korilla this year. It's all a set up by the producers to take out the Asians from both coasts. I keed, I keed.

                                    As an Asian, I feel your pain though about the bad image.

                                    1. re: Jase

                                      "As an Asian, I feel your pain though about the bad image."

                                      Ditto. A bit perplexed about what really transpired. So many unanswered questions. I'm trying to reserve judgment until I hear their side. But gotta admit that it's hard to do under the circumstances.

                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                      Asian (well, half) here too... What made me laugh was how the Korilla guys slipped into speaking Korean to verbally lick their wounds, cameras still rolling, as they took the walk of shame back to their vehicle. Did they really believe that the Food Network didn't have the resources to have that footage translated into English subtitles?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        I hear ya.. as a family of Koreans, we really wanted them to do well. There was a great opportunity to discuss honesty with the kiddos tho.

                                      2. I have searched the web to see if there is more inside scoop on the cheating, so far to no avail.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                          Probably due to a non-disclosure in effect at least til the season runs out I'm guessing.

                                          1. re: LurkerDan

                                            From what I can tell, one of the three guys owns the truck and he was the person that possibly added the money to their till over the possible objections of the others. When one said "he made us look bad" I think it was a reference to the owner of the truck, not Florence.

                                          2. The whole thing doesn't make sense. What a weird amount to put in the till...$2,700? Also, they generate all the handwritten receipts that are matched against the till...if they were going to add $ to the till, why not add additional receipts? It doesn't make sense. I think it's too bad they didn't have an exit interview with Korilla or wait to announce why they were disqualified until some point when the Korilla guys could talk, too.

                                            I think it's probably counterproductive to read too much into what they said as they were leaving - it was obviously heavily edited and also subtitled in English (spoken in Korean, right?).

                                            I don't understand how the teams always look surprised to find out their own total at the end of the episode. It's like they don't count it up themselves or something...but they have all those shots of the cash box. I don't get it.

                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: akq

                                              Well, we don't know exactly how the accounting is done. There could be more controls that prevent them from just writing more receipts; I assume that there are. As for counting the box, perhaps they are not given the opportunity or are not permitted to count it? And even if they are, they may be instructed to act surprised when the amount is told on camera. That surely happens on a lot of reality shows.

                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                Yup. Lots of unanswered questions...but the more controls there are, the less likely a team would be to try to cheat like this. It just doesn't make sense to me. Obviously they have access to the cash box, otherwise they wouldn't be able to make change and they wouldn't have been able to add any extra $$ to the till to cheat. And they have access to the tickets - because they use them to place orders so the cook knows what to make. Waiting for the explanation is difficult.

                                                One comment I read really did make my stomach sink, though...and that was that FN would not open itself up to a lawsuit by saying that the Korilla team cheated without good proof. Makes sense, but say it ain't so!!!

                                                1. re: akq

                                                  Well, sure they have access to the cash box during the day. But perhaps they are told not to count it (with producers nearby possibly watching/policing), and it is taken away at the end of the day? I would think it'd be fairly easy to slip extra money in without the producers/film crew noticing, but harder to count a whole till of small bills.

                                                  As for the tickets, they may control them in numerous ways that wouldn't hinder the ordering operation but would hinder the cheating. For ex., having numbered tickets and checking in the first remaining number in the morning and in the evening. It would be hard to write $2700 in bogus tickets at the end of the day before the "check in" time, and it would be hard to write them throughout the day (especially if there wasn't systematic cheating, but cheating only because of poor sales). Or they could be duplicate tickets, and as each ticket is written the carbon goes somewhere else (to producers?), to later be balanced against the till.

                                                  As someone who long ago worked in accounting departments, there are many simple tools to control sales, inventory, and money and track and balance them all. So there are certainly ways to have controls on the system, and ways that perhaps someone unfamiliar with the controls might not think of when making the rash decision to cheat. But admittedly, we all agree that there are lots of unanswered questions.

                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                    Yeah. It just seems like if they really do have all those controls, then the team woudn't have a prayer of cheating without being caught, so why even try? Just seems so weird.

                                                    1. re: akq

                                                      They may not have realized what was going on with those controls. The show gives you your money box in the morning and takes it back in the evening, gives you your receipt book in the morning and takes it back in the evening. Would you know the ways in which the show was protecting against cheating?

                                                      I agree that it was dumb, but I could see how someone not well versed in the methods of an accounting department might not realize that they were sure to get caught by putting a large amount of money in the till. Of course, the usual accounting departments are protecting against people taking large amounts of money OUT of the till. ;-)

                                                      1. re: LurkerDan

                                                        My accounting teacher said he was the perfect accountant. If he was cash over, it went into his pocket. If he was cash under, it came out of his pocket. The amounts of which he spoke must have been quite small.

                                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                                          If they told me that all the money in the till had to match a valid receipt that I put in the box or gave to the producer or whatever at the end of the day, I think I'd figure out that if the $ doesn't match the ticket totals, I am in trouble...and if they didn't tell me that the $ and tickets have to match, then no fair disqualifying me for it.

                                                          1. re: akq

                                                            I guarentee they are told they cannot use their own money to buy inventory and they cannot add their own money to the till.

                                                            1. re: akq

                                                              Edit: this is a response to akq's post 2 posts above, not John E.s, that's not 100% clear visually.

                                                              I hear what you're saying, but there is a gray area. First, I am sure it is just as John E. said, we can assume that they are told that they cannot put their own money in the till, right? Second, what if they are told "1, every sale *must* have a complete ticket, 2, turn in your ticket book and your till at the end of the day"? Or what if they use duplicate tickets, and the producers just collect the "receipt" from each customer?

                                                              In both of those cases, they would never be told that "the $ has to match the ticket totals", but I think it would be fair to disqualify them if they don't. And I could see how people with no accounting background whatsoever, who haven't given deep thought to this and are stressed and fear losing a shot at $100k (and have a shaky moral compass ;-), might make the choice they did without realizing how they would be caught.

                                                              In any case, we're all just guessing and don't know what happened. But I do believe they attempted to cheat, because I do think the FN would not have publicly disqualified them and called them cheaters without being pretty darn sure.

                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                While he did not go into details, Florence alluded to not getting much sleep the night before which would imply that he was directly involved (counting money and receipts) in investingating any possible attempted cheating. His reputation is on the line so I tend to believe there were some shenanigans going on.

                                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                  One of the other food truck people, can't remember which one, Hodge Podge?, specifically said there must be a ticket for every sale. It appears they are definitely told your point #1.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                    They'd have to be given the rules, probably in writing, in order to have a contest like this. I think they'd have to make it clear that the $ in the till has to match the ticket totals. As another poster points out, Hodge Podge said they were told that the $ and tickets have to match. Otherwise, it would be easy to have more $ in the cash box than the ticket totals due to tips...or are they told that they can't accept any more than the menu price for an item?

                                                                    I agree that they must have been told that they can't put their own $ into the till or use it for extra seed money...but could they have one super premium item on the menu - the $1,000 burrito -- and have a friend come and buy one in each city?

                                                                    1. re: akq

                                                                      You're right, there surely must be a number of rules, many of which haven't been touched on here. And we need a lot more info to truly know what happened. Nevertheless, I'll repeat that I have a hard time imagining that the FN would have publicly labeled them as cheaters and kicked them off without being sure.

                                                      2. re: akq

                                                        I agree that people shouldn't really read into the English subtitles of what they said. Maybe a Korean could confirm the translation. I know that when I watch movies w/ Chinese dialogue and English subtitles, I get distracted half the time because what's spoken and what's written don't really express the same idea.

                                                        1. re: andytseng

                                                          Well, I have the subtitles up on my screen right now and they are, "He just made us look really bad" and "this is the worst possible outcome ever" (this was spoken in English, not sure why it had to be subtitled).

                                                          Honestly, I have no idea who the "he" was. Tyler? Whomever put the money in the till?

                                                          I can only assume it's an accurate translation but, of course, it might not be.

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            "this is the worst possible outcome ever" That's what I heard and I took it like he knew what they'd done and the ramifications. Not at all that anyone made them look bad when they weren't.

                                                      3. Maybe they just lost a bundle of the receipts. You've seen the inside of those trucks during heavy business. Absolute mayhem.

                                                        33 Replies
                                                        1. re: Novelli

                                                          no, one Korilla looked suitably embarrassed and none of them protested.

                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                            Who knows what was cut by the show's producers...we may never know exactly what happened or was or wasn't said at that time. Plus, even if you knew you didn't cheat, wouldn't you look pretty embarassed if you were accused of it on national TV? I probably would (and hope to never find out!).

                                                            1. re: akq

                                                              Did they accuse them on TV to their faces? Didn't TF just tell them to drive off home?
                                                              The discussion about the totals came later and I heard cheating mentioned once, or am I incorrect?

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                I thought TF said "you guys tried to cheat and got caught..."

                                                                1. re: akq

                                                                  this was so weird, I think I was in shock, no wonder I can't remember exactly what was said. The whole thing was just so incredulous. Boy, oh boy. I keep thinking about their families who I'm sure were all so excited for them. Bet they got a whoopin". If that were one of my boys, omg,

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                    Well chicklet, barring a really good explanation to the contrary that the public are not privy to because of a non-disclosure agreement, I think facing a bunch of family and friends who come from a shame based culture (Korean) was probably a pretty good whoopin of sorts.

                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                      Yes not a real whoppin but one of much worse. I don't know if you've heard or read in any of my previous postings (past years) but I think I'm Asian ;) I know that they got it, and probably their father and mother won't set their eyes on them for bringing this shame. Forget grandma and grandpa, this is just not done. They will be out of circulation longer than 6 months. I think now about how Morimoto reacted when B. Flay showed disrespect by standing on a cutting board, most people don't understand what that was about.

                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                        I am about as mid-west, pasty-faced northern European-American as they come and I understood the offense that Flay caused by standing on the cutting board. I would have been a tiny bit bit less offended if it were a bare counter, but not by much. My problem with that offense also has to do with the lack of dignity and class Flay showed at that moment.

                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                          Once again, eh. Iron Chef was a dramatized game show with a fake back-story and a fake mythology where starlets and fortune-tellers were regulars. And my understanding was that the original IC was considered a major joke in Japan, that, at least, the early Iron Chefs, weren't even considered top notch chefs. I just don't think you can be all about camp and drama and then act offended when someone plays into the drama.

                                                                          That said, I think it's really disgusting to ever put your feet or shoes anywhere near where food might be prepped.

                                                                          And for all of the talk about the Asians being eliminated for cheating from the GFTR, funnily enough, I didn't think of them as the Asians in the competition, I thought of them as the New Yorkers.

                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            LOL. I just thought of them as the funky taco guys...

                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              They mentioned being Korean at least once every episode. It was hard not to think of them that way.

                                                                              1. re: donovt

                                                                                Yeah, but they also had a giant I Heart NY on their truck. That was what was most salient to me.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                What I was trying to say was I understood why Morimoto was insulted but it bothered me for the reasons I stated, dignity and class and I sort of mentioned the same thought as you, don't climb up and stand on the counter. I never did watch much of either Iron Chef program. If you thought the bant on ICA was silly, it was Shakespear when compared to the inane banter from Japan.

                                                                                I think Morimoto might have been in a class by himself on ICJ. Maybe that's why he ended up here.

                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                  This was an episode of IC, not ICA. A special episode filmed in NYC. Then, Bobby went back to Japan and challenged Morimoto to a re-match. And, that's my point, the original IC show was inane. (Which is, sadly, part of what made it so entertaining). I think ICA is pretty silly, too.

                                                                                  I like Morimoto a lot, but I thought he was being a bit melodramatic when he was talking about how Bobby fouled his sacred cooking tools. It was just a bit too over the top for me.

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    I understand the difference between IC(J) and ICA. i don't remember anything about that episide except what I saw on some 'behind the scenes' program about ICA. I do rember Morimoto being upset about Flay's actions and Flay's explanation and apology which was accepted. I happen to agree with Morimoto, but for a little different reason than simple respect. I thought from reading your earlier posts that you agreed with me.

                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                      Yes, I agree with you. Or, as a friend of mine used to say, "We are in violent agreement."

                                                                                      EDIT: P.S. if you do happen to catch the Flay/Morimoto Battle on the Cooking Channel, it's worth watching if you've been reading about all of the controversy. It's pretty interesting to watch, "in hindsight." There was also a bizarre series (maybe 2-3 episodes?) of IC(J) in home visits as part of their "New York" tour around the same time where the chefs would go into a home and prepare something from what they found in the fridge. It was very very odd.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  No, there are limits to playing into fun and drama. Somethings are simply not done, even if you're Bobby Flay. As an American I was embarrassed by his 12yr old antics. twice. It is a different culture and I don't know why it matters who they use as guest judges, look at our own judges. Who was camp? Are you meaning Morimoto, cause I never think of him as being camp and playing into drama.
                                                                                  It wasn't about that he had his feet on the counter, it was about disrespect and defiance for your host. Bobby Flay was a guest there.

                                                                                  The korillas screwed up, and are as you said, new yorkers, so I guess your right they probably shamed new yorkers too. If it were the California kids that did this, I can only imagine the ripping they'd be getting.

                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                    As far as I can tell, there's no part of Iron Chef that isn't camp. From the flambouyant chairman, to the goofy faux back-story, to the cheesy way the Iron Chefs ascend into the stadium in cloud of smoke, to the silly banter, the breathy, giggling starlets, the fortune teller, and so on. It's all a giant silly entertaining joke.

                                                                                    So, to make a big joke of it all, then cry because someone fouled your *sacred* cooking utensils is just plain laughable. It's not fair to say, I can make a giant mockery of this, but you, Mr. New Yorker , YOU went too far. The (first) Flay-Morimoto battle was filmed in New York, by the way.

                                                                                    I recently re-watched the episode and you can see that Flay did cut himself badly early on, and yes, there were electrical wires and puddles of water everywhere and you can see the stunned (pun intended, I guess) look on his face when he got electrocuted. It's hard to blame the man for getting swept up in the moment. Would I have chosen to jump onto a cooking surface and pump my fists in victory? Probably not, but he was a young, cocky chef who had endured quite a bit for a campy piece of television entertainment. I can forgive him.

                                                                                    Furthermore, I don't make a big jokey television competition out of my *sacred* things because, well, they are sacred. That way, I'm well within my rights to act self-righteous and scoldy when others display a lack of respect. If you ever see Iron Chef, Battle Communion Host you will see me complaining bitterly. But, if I start the joke and mockery-making, it's a slippery slope. I shouldn't go there if I don't want it to go there.

                                                                                    Korilla definitely messed up. Too bad, they seemed otherwise pretty savvy, something I had previously attributed to their New York-ness.

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      okay I can see we'd could debate this for quite sometime. Because what you're saying about why BF acted a certain way, doesn't compute. Ok, cut fingers, puddles of water, he got shocked, etc. doesn't equate to mean, okay you're so excited it's okay to jump on the counter in Japan. Maybe if he did that here it would be different. Perhaps that my point, that he didn't take the cultural differences into play. That's all.

                                                                                      And then last show I saw of BF and I forget what battle it was but it was rerun recently. At one point it shows his sous chef struggling to extract a food processor from it's stand, next thing BF is slapping the heck out of the blender and it didn't look like he was just trying to get it unstuck, he looked p.o'd. Then the instant replay -thanks for that. I guess he burned himself, that's why. This makes for very uncomfortable TV, for what is supposed to be a fun, gimmicky, goofy show, he is making it awkward. Even Alton Brown's kidding doesn't seem to ease any of this. Sorry this is not a BF bashing, I just see some things that aren't endearing, and I'm sure he's got lots more things going on.

                                                                                      I guess we got on this subject in the first place because of ethics, and a person's character. Which now I am curious about the Korillas and will they be able to pick themselves up and make amends or will they simply disappear. Sure doesn't help matters when the commercials for FN's Food Truck etc. have TF exclaiming something like "and when the Korillas cheated." every time you watch it.

                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                        It's interesting that in this day and age (I usually hate descriptions like that) it is much more difficult to get away from an embarrassing incident such as he one incurred by Korilla. It will be on the internet forever. The best the owner of the Korilla truck can do is to get a new paint job for the truck and start over with a new name and refrain from mentioning the name Korilla ever again lest the name 'Korilla' besmirches the reincarted food truck.

                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          If you saw their facebook page, you might be surprised how many people don't give a crap that they cheated as long as their tacos are still tasty. :|

                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                            i'll check it out. I wonder what the age group is that's responding to that situation. Maybe it's because I have kids that I'm worried about what they've done. :- /

                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              I think our society has become so enamored of fame and money that it now seems naive and quaint to a lot of people to allow something silly like values to keep you from doing whatever you can to obtain one or both.

                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                nicely said!

                                                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                  That, coupled with the old addage "there's no such thing as bad publicity..."

                                                                                                  Sadly.

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                          2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                            I agree that this may be one of these occasions where we might have to agree to disagree, but I'll just add one factual correction and one more point of clarification of my position.

                                                                                            Factual correction: the first Morimoto vs. Flay (where Flay jumped up on the cutting board) wasn't filmed in Japan. It took place in NY as part of some weird NY tour IC(J) was doing. Flay subsequently "challenged" Morimoto to a re-match, which did take place in Japan. But, the battle in question actually did occur here in the U.S.

                                                                                            My point is that IC(J) was a highly "theatrical" production--lots of (literal) smoke and mirrors, high camp, high drama. And with the electrical shocks and cut finger and all of that, this particular episode was also highly emotionally charged for Flay. To me, it's not that crazy to say that under the circumstances of this faux theater combined with the high emotion, Flay was genuinely swept up in the moment and celebrated completing his dishes (remember, he didn't actually win--Morimoto did) by jumping up and playing to his supporters in the stands. I mean, they set this thing up like some kind of rowdy sporting event. I'm not saying this was the choice I would have made, but I understand why Flay did it under the circumstances. (By the way, I'm equally disapproving of the elaborate end-zone dances you see football players do. It's not classy, whether it's the "sport" of football or the "sport" of cooking. But I still understand it).

                                                                                            And I'm sorry Morimoto was put off by Bobby's actions, but if you're going to make a silly, campy sport/competition of cooking, you can't also claim that it's all "sacred". Maybe it was Morimoto who didn't take the cultural differences into account.

                                                                                            And your point re: Flay and the blender (I thought it was a food processor that was stuck--maybe it wasn't the same episode). I saw that part of that episode recently too (and, like you, can't remember what it was, but I didn't see the whole episode) and have to agree with you that Bobby was behaving badly. Didn't he actually break it and/or make it fly across the kitchen? Anyway, he always looks really serious on ICA, unlike Batali or Simon who always appear to be having fun, and I do suspect he has a temper.

                                                                                            But, I don't think playing to the cameras and jumping on the table is in the same category, though I can understand why you might.

                                                                                            As for the Korillas, I do hope they have a chance to clear their name if, indeed, we've been given a false impression. There are usually a couple of sides to these things.

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              " (By the way, I'm equally disapproving of the elaborate end-zone dances you see football players do. It's not classy, whether it's the "sport" of football or the "sport" of cooking. But I still understand it)."

                                                                                              I agree with your football analogy. Agree with Bud Grant's philosophy on endzone celebrations, act like you have been there before and will soon return.

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                Thanks for your corrections. As someone mentioned it was long ago, but somehow Bobby Flay was brought up and I remembered the incident.
                                                                                                Call me cheesy but I love both shows. As far as the BF thing, I don't want to lose any sleep over it, it was just weird to me and that's about it. I am going to say that sweeping things under the rug has never been the avenue of my choice. Okay just one more little thing... do you actually know that Morimoto wasn't offended and it was all for show? After all we are those tacky Americans, we touch too much are loud, brash and all that. We've offended more than one race I'm sure. We have all these cultural awareness days, and if we're going to ever understand each other it's time to learn about each other, and food has been the best conduit that I've found to do that. I respect your opinion and love to see another's point of view, it gives the gray matter something to do. ; ) I love a great debate! Still Friends?

                                                                                                Yes, it was a food processor, and poor Christine lost whatever was in it. I wish he'd lighten up, I've seen him on occasion be lighthearted, so much more fun to watch. He about stared a hole through her when he asked her if something was done and she said it wasn't. lol - he must of thought twice about the camera.

                                                                                                I don't know about the Korilla's this is actually bothering me. Too bad they weren't able to speak up immediately. At least to apologize, you know when you're wrong its best to do so right away. I'm not wanting these guys to be crucified.

                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                  Still friends? Of course!

                                                                                                  Funny that you wonder aloud if Morimoto was truly offended or if that was just more manufactured drama because I've wondered the same thing. I wouldn't put it past them to invent controversy. My husband swears that Kitchen Stadium is (or was?) located across the street from where WWF is filmed and he believes they employ some of the same theatrical techniques. I have no idea where he heard this or if it's really true, but if it is, it's kind of interesting.

                                                                                                  BF seems pretty intense to me. I don't think he's as fun to watch as some of the others, Batali or Simon, or even Morimoto who has gotten a lot more playful over the years.

                                                                                                  Do they have a live reunion show for Food Truck Race where the Korillas would be able to address the "cheating"?

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    One of my favorite live shows EVER is one that takes my imagination down the rabbit hole, I love Cirque Du Soleil=LV. That is what I am reminded of when I see ICJ (in smaller form). The child like chatter and giggles, obvious theatrics with the wizard and the smokey dungeon like room with flickering gaslights, and then some wierd looking prehistoric looking thing from the bottom of the sea to cook and then eat! I'm smiling right now : ) ICA doesn't have near that affect on me. So it must be the foreign aspect and twist that strikes a cord and appeals to me.

                                                                                                    BF yes has become intense. Remember he's a major player and contributor to The Next FN Star show also. He sits in judgment and appears to have a role in deciding on the futures of wannabe food stars so it's ironic that he shows us his other side at times, which now makes me wonder about his decisions. In reasoning with his decisions, he has made comments about their attitudes and demeanor and that's why they didn't win the challenge at hand or weren't chosen to move on.

                                                                                                    A reunion, yikes. That would be incredibly awkward, could you see that working out well with this group or would it make matters worse? I'm trying to imagine the feelings that would draw. Would the others understand, is there any thing at all that could be said as to why or how that cash got in the total? I don't know. Tthat commercial for FN with TF mentioning cheating by the Korillas over and over is not good either.

                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                      I've only seen one Cirque du Soleil and love it. I see the analogy to ICJ.

                                                                                                      I haven't seen that FN commercial, but it sounds pretty harsh. I hope they get their day to explain, sooner rather than later.

                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                          3. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                            They were in New York. If anything, Flay was the host.

                                                                                            The kitchen tried to kill him. He was standing in water, using electrical appliances that kept shocking him. For some reason, Morimoto's side of the kitchen was behaving.

                                                                                            Flay apologized. It was years ago. He and Morimoto clearly have a great relationship now.

                                                                                            And, I don't think that Japanese people worship their cutting boards, so they can't really be sacred.

                                                                                            The Korillas cheated, and got caught. They are hardly in the same boat as Bobby Flay.

                                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                                              Thanks for the recap. I'm not getting into your cutting board statement.
                                                                                              Please reread, I wasn't putting the Korilla's in the same boat as Bobby Flay, I believe you misunderstood.

                                                                      2. We've been speculating on this as well, and probably some of this is due to heavy editing, and we won't know what really happened until the non-disclosure agreement comes to an end. That being said, if there was a legitimate defense/explanation, I think Korilla would have offered it offscreen and they would have been allowed to stay. FWIW, it also sounded to me like the 2 guys in the car didn't know what the 3rd guy had done, and that the "he" was referring to their teammate, not Tyler.

                                                                        And yes, that was Hodge Podge truck that had the "integrity" comment. I think attempting to be more competitive and lure someone else's customers away is just being competitive, it's not the same thing as cheating. Whether or not they were using kraft cheese and wonder bread and still making it sound fantastic or alleging it was better than the other truck's sandwich is just marketing, and it's up to the general public to decide - indeed, the one guy they talked to in front of HP truck did say it wasn't as good as Roxy's sandwich, so there you go.

                                                                        I also agree that the challenges are really quite stupid. Going vegetarian when you have dozens of people lined up to eat meat is not only stupid, it alienates the public and would anger them against the trucks and the FN - how is this a "good" challenge for anyone? What did they accomplish, really? Can you imagine being on Iron Chef and starting to prepare all your dishes with the secret ingredient of pork or beef ribs, and then 30 minutes in being told it's now a vegetarian competition? That's just dumb. you wouldn't have the ingredients on hand, etc. Turning it into a grilled cheese competition (Roxy, HP, Korilla's kimchee quesidilla) is just lame.

                                                                        21 Replies
                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                          I agree for the most part, but I still think it reflects poorly on HP that they tried to snake customers drawn to another truck presumably for the marketing/ graphics/ menu options that team came up with rather than to try to get their own customers based on the merits of what they were doing.

                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                            In business we are always attempting to lure customers away from our competitors. Inthe case at hand it was just more blatent because of the situation. It's a competition where the producers want good video. I would be surprised if it was not a producer's ideo for Hodge Podge to send someone iver to take orders from Korilla's long line.

                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                              Point taken. And reality tv is often scripted in that way.

                                                                              But possible scripting aside, we often make judgments about things based more on degree than basic principle. As business people, do we want customers? Yes. Do we hope that enough people see value in what we do to be able to make enough money to make a decent living? Of course. Should we do our best to make what we do look attractive enough to potential customers that they will spend their money with us and not elsewhere? Absolutely.

                                                                              If this were a sitdown restaurant and a restaurant two doors down has a wait list, do we walk over there and try to lure those customers away? I wouldn't.

                                                                              This being reality tv, we should view it with a healthy measure of skepticism and maybe even a pinch of cynicism. But to the extent that we're discussing the ethics of what people do, I think we need to take what we see at face value. Hodge Podge trying to snake customers from another truck's line and then saying other people need to *learn* integrity is fairly lacking in self awareness at the least.

                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                Interestingly enough, in the real world, restaurants in downtown St. Paul are more or less accusing local food trucks of luring customers away in almost exactly in the way it happened on this episode. Not that these restaurants have customers lined up out the door that the food trucks are engaging, but the restaurants apparently are accusing them of talking to their customers as they come and go about their truck's great food, etc. in an effort to lure them away.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  That is a thought provoking situation. So essentially some of these food truck operators are acting like carnival barkers while parked in the vicinity of sit down restaurants?

                                                                                  I'm not sure that I'm cool with that. How do you feel about it, TDQ?

                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                    I think (hope) they are being slightly classier than that, but I haven't witnessed it for myself, so I can't really say.

                                                                                    Restaurants in downtown St. Paul have struggled over the years--it's historically been a bit of a dead zone-- and we've finally built up a core of fantastic restaurants, which has really livened up downtown. I don't want to lose that.

                                                                                    The locals are really excited about the food trucks, but, you know, the restaurants have to make it work year-round, and not just when the weather is nice. They chose the location of their restaurant before the food trucks were ever allowed/trendy. And they probably all have it written into their leases, etc, that they can be the only restaurant in this building, etc. So, they do have an expectation of a certain lack of competitors in the immediate proximity. To have a food truck suddenly come park at a meter in front of your restaurant is pretty unfair in my opinion.

                                                                                    I really think they should find a place for the food trucks to be that isn't directly in front of a restaurant. As it is right now, a truck can park whereever there is a free meter, whether it happens to be in front of a restaurant or not. If they aren't parked in front of a restaurant, I guess it doesn't matter to me if they engage people who are walking past, "Hey come try our sandwich" or whatever.

                                                                                    I don't really blame the food trucks (well, I kinda do) for trying to drum up business, but it's an impossible situation for the restaurant.

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                  I understand what you are saying. I agree that it would be uncool for employees of one 'sitdown' restaurant to go over and attempt to lure customers away from a line at another 'sitdown' restaurant. But if we're talking about pizza places or a sandwich shop, all bets are off.

                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                    What? Really? You think it would be okay if, say, employees from Saigon stood in front of Trung Nam handing out coupons or fliers or whatever saying, "Come try our banh mi?" or if the employees of Palermos stood in front of Carbone's and said, "Hey, come try our pizza?"

                                                                                    No way. I think that would be incredibly uncool. It might not even be legal, though I don't actually know.

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      I'm with TDQ on this one. I don't think fair play changes because you're dealing with a lower price point.

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        The way you describe it makes it sound worse than I intended. I do not know the specific restaurants of which you speak. In my neck of the woods there is a Dominoes one door down from a Papa Murphy's. If I was the manager of one of those and there was a 50 foot line like Korilla had, I would send an employee out there to see if some of them wished to buy my pizza instead of standing in line. That's business.

                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          That's pretty cheap business if you ask me.

                                                                                          There's a reason Korilla had a 50 foot line and Hodge Podge didn't - because their concept, graphic and or menu, which they put their creativity and resources into appealed to that many more customers than a name like Hodge Podge and whatever less appealing aspects came with their execution of that concept. HP sought in this case to steal the mojo created by Korilla's execution. That's not good business in my book.

                                                                                          And now I see they're selling tees that say *Integrity...Learn It.* *SIGH* :|

                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                            We've experienced the same thing here WRT food trucks - the brick and mortar restaurants are fighting with them and accuse them of poaching business when the reality is, there is room and money for everyone. We have a restaurant here that has gotten so much press that the waits to get into it are ridiculous. 2 hours plus, and then it takes a full hour to get your food. A place opened up very, very close to them and they are getting all the overflow business. This benefits both places - restaurant A is filled to the brim but people are not irritated because they had to wait for 3 hours to eat if they didn't want to, and the overflow restaurant gets a chance to build their own customers. Honestly, if a place is so popular that there is a huge line, diners will appreciate having another option close by where there is no wait, be it a truck or another brick and mortar restaurant and it doesn't mean they're never going back to the original restaurant, it just means the original place avoided having people who were annoyed because they don't have the time to wait in line.

                                                                                            Now, this may be different in a different city, but where I live, there are a dearth of good, independent places you can get a very quick lunch without having to sit down, and there is plenty of room for the food trucks to have business during the months they operate, as well as the other restaurants. Without the trucks, I wasn't choosing to go to the brick and mortar restaurant instead, I jsut wasn't going out as much at all. It has actually increased my spending total, not taken away from any existing places except crappy ones I wanted to cut out of the rotation anyway but lacked other choices to do so.

                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                              I agree that competition is good for business, but I can see the complaint from the brick and mortar restaurant owners, too. The governing bodies that allow these food trucks to park wherever they're not metered are also the ones that make brick and mortar restaurants run through multiple and costly hoops to set up shop in a permanent location.

                                                                                              To deal with competition from another brick and mortar place is to me very different from losing customers to a truck that can come and go at its whim.

                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                thx for the other perspective, inaplasticcup. I have a question - are you or have you ever been a restaurant owner? The reason I ask is your opinion seems to be one that the restaurant owners have, but I haven't run across very many restaurant patrons that think this way. If the patrons don't see it this way and are spreading the love everywhere they can, maybe it's just a misconception on the part of the owners? Or not a misconception really, but an unfounded concern? One of our brick and mortar chefs here recently decided to go with the flow instead of against and added a food truck to his business. This is win-win. He gets the pop up business with little start up costs, gets to travel around and promote his brick and mortar place, and gets extra money. Why fight the trend by complaining? It's not going to make the trucks go away and it doesn't seem to sit that well with the patrons, even if they don't truly understand the "numbers" part of it. It just kind of sounds like going "but it's not fair! not fair!" KWIM?

                                                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                  My parents had restaurants years ago, and never had to deal with food trucks in their day, but one thing that remains true no matter the business you're in is that when it comes to retail storefronts, location matters, and you pay for location.

                                                                                                  In choosing your location, you not only take into consideration the ease of access and foot and drive-by traffic, but you consider who else is in your neighborhood. General competition in the form of other permanent restaurants whose cuisine likely doesn't compete with yours and whose effect on your business is to be reasonably expected and anticipated can be good for your business.

                                                                                                  But when you pay month in and month out for a location based on these factors (and there's a good chance your lease even dictates that you can't sell stuff that puts you in direct competition with another restaurant in the same center - landlords don't want to cannibalize themselves by diluting their tenants' business too much), and you lose business on a random night because the novelty of a food truck who doesn't have to pay your lease rates pulls up in front of your restaurant, I think it's a legitimate complaint to make not to the customers, but to the governing bodies.

                                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                    Not to mention local property taxes, wages abd benefits to staff that the owners of the trucks do not pay. I am firmly on the sude of the brick and morter people on this issue. The fact that most patrons are ignorant on this issue or are apathetic is immaterial.

                                                                                            2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                              It's a competition. I'd take Hodge Podge's integrity over Korilla's in a heartbeat. If there were rules in the competition saying one team could not go to the end of another team's line and take orders the Hodge Podge would have already been DQ'd. How about a truck parking right next to another truck? Is that also uunfair? Should they not find their 'own' location? It's a competition and business.

                                                                                              I once knew a radio station GM that had his staff moniter the competing station and write down the 'cash call' amount for the competitor's contest. Then his station would announce the competing station's 'cash call' $ amount so his listeners could win the competing radio station's contest without actually having to listen to that station. Was it a little underhanded? Sure, but that was what radio stations did with their rivals at that time (1960s).

                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                "Steal the mojo?" It's a reality TV show for crying out loud.

                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                HAHA! And the way you describe it makes it sound way better.

                                                                                                First of all, I do think you have to give customers a little credit. Surely they can see for themselves that there is another pizza place one door down, and if they are standing in a long line, they must be doing so for a reason.

                                                                                                Nevertheless, if I were the manager of one of those places, I might give the manager of the other place a call and say, "I see you're slammed. Would it help you out if we offered to serve some of your customers so they don't get frustrated" or something like that. I might even offer to send one of my guys over to help (but I would probably only do so if my employees was wearing a uniform that clearly identified him as one of mine--I would want some small advantage out of this situation.) In the real world, these places would probably have some kind of friendly, perhaps awkward, professional respect for each other.

                                                                                                This will sound weird, but in my teens, I worked at one of the national fast food hamburger chains. When we ran out of lettuce one day, who did our manager call? The manager of the OTHER national hamburger chain who had a location close to ours. I was amazed, but apparently this was typical. They did help us with our lettuce problem.

                                                                                                And, buddy, you've GOT to get yourself over to St.Paul! (Sorry, I don't know where you in MN you live...) The two Vietnamese places I mentioned are about a block apart on University Avenue. The two pizza places are about 3 blocks from each other. I wouldn't recommend crossing town for these pizza places, but I would for the Vietnamese places!

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                              3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                What they did was not only uncool, but something I'd never seen happen! I've worked in large cities, and small, I've never seen any business step into another restaurant's "customer zone". Perhaps fliers on cars in the parking lot or street, but that's it.

                                                                                            3. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                              He definitely was calling the kettle black. Hodge Podge guy doesn't get it.

                                                                                      2. The article I read said they added $2700 to their till?!!! That is beyond stupid. If true they deserve the bad press and I wouldn't eat there if you paid me.

                                                                                        jb

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                          Thank you, what the heck?

                                                                                        2. I like the vegetarian challenge and the others. The challenges level the playing field and create surprises.

                                                                                          I assume that these trucks do not come to a town blind. There must be some Pre-Food Network's coming to town buzz, which brings in the long lines for the trucks.

                                                                                          Customers know it is a Food Network competition and that means going vegetarian or dollar menu etc...

                                                                                          As for Korilla, they cheat period. And they didn't have too.

                                                                                          Tyler said, he was up late working through what happened and what should be done. It was like getting caught with weed at sleep away camp and being sent home.

                                                                                          Not sure how this will change the show. Maybe the camera person with double as a book keeper to each truck.