The Great Food Truck Race is back for its 16th season on the Food Network. And for this season it is all about David versus Goliath.
So what does that mean for our food truck competitors? It means that this season we will have four professional food trucks will be taking on five teams of rookies. And with $50,000 on the line, you know that this won’t be an easy competition for any of these teams.
To kick things off, we got a two hour premiere episode of The Great Food Truck Race and it was a battle to stick around in this episode as our competitors had to take on the streets of Los Angeles for their first few challenges in this competition. And if you have ever been to LA, then you probably already know that this is going to make things extra hard for all nine teams as there are more than 4,000 licensed food trucks in this city already! (And yes, they are just as much your competition as the people you are already competing with.)
How did things shake out on the first episode of The Great Food Truck Race season 16?
Up first we met our teams:
- Paisani: This team is from Boston and is a professional food truck team
- 2 Girls Jamaican Tacos: This team is from Brooklyn and is a rookie team.
- 4 Hens Creole Kitchen: This team is from St. Louis and they are a rookie team.
- Da Bald Guy: This team is from Honolulu and they are a professional team.
- D’Pura Cepa: This team is from Miami (although they are originally from Puerto Rico) and they are a professional team.
- Khana: This team is from Detroit and they are a rookie team.
- Lisa’s Creperie: This team is from Atlanta and they are a professional food truck team.
- The Block: From Indiana, this team is a rookie team.
- The Easy Vegan: This team is from Denver, and they are a rookie team.
For their first challenge, they have to impress Tyler Florence with a signature dish in 30 minutes. And whichever team wins, they will not only earn themselves an extra hour of sell time in the next challenge, but if they are on the rookie side then all of the rookie teams get that extra hour and the same if they are on the professional side.
Over the course of this challenge, we not only meet the teams and learn a bit more about them and what they cook, but we also get a taste of the personalities we are going to see on this season of The Great Food Truck Race. And yes, we get to learn about their signature dishes.
But which team came out on top in this signature dish challenge? Honestly, it was anyone’s game as Tyler seemed to enjoy every dish he tasted. Did he have some criticisms? Of course! But at the same time, there was clearly a lot to love with these dishes.
In the end, the winner of the challenge was the professional team, The Bald Guy. This means that the pro teams all got an extra hour of selling time for this first challenge on the streets of LA.
The elimination challenge:
From the signature dish challenge that gave our teams an advantage, it is time for what is essentially an elimination challenge. Our teams have to make as much money as possible in order to continue on in the competition. With their first sell day, the rookies have 6.5 hours to shop and sell, while the professionals have 7.5 hours to shop and sell.
They have $400 to shop with and it is time for all the trucks to shop for their supplies. And it seems like quite a few of the trucks need chicken for their dishes, which means that at least one truck needed to find somewhere else to shop in order to get their ingredients.
At the end of the first day, the teams all received a text from Tyler telling the rookie teams to shut down, while the pro teams got to start their extra selling hour. He also pointed out that this was all courtesy of The Bald Guy and their win in the signature dish challenge. He also let all the teams know that on day two they would have a new challenge and then someone would be going home at the end of the day.
After setting up for day two, Tyler called the trucks with a new opportunity. He actually offered the trucks $300 to move from where they were already set up and they had to let him know immediately if they were moving. And a few teams ended up leaving, including The Easy Vegan and Khana, with Khana being invited to park in front of a coffee shop owned by a customer who had visited them earlier in the day.
And some teams actually sold out before the end of the selling day, with one team selling out with two hours left and another selling out with 1.5 hours left. Both teams decided to stop selling because they felt comfortable with how much they had sold. But as one team goes to leave, they end up hitting their competition’s food truck, which was still open and selling (The Block food truck ended up hitting the Paisani truck).
Right away, Tyler made it clear that he wasn’t happy with food trucks closing up early. He wanted to know why they left early and pointed out that it can come down to one ticket, one item, and even as little as $6.
At the end of the first leg, will it be a pro or a rookie food truck going home?
In first place with an overwhelming lead in terms of money, The Bald Guy made $4,301. They won by almost $2,000! And in second, we had The Easy Vegan at $2,350!
So who went home? Sadly, it was The Block that went home having made only $1,704, which was $50 less than the next team. In the end, closing early and not taking the bonus $300 is what knocked them out of the competition.