O.C. truck wins 'Great Food Truck Race'
Welcome to the final, thrilling recap of "The Great Food Truck Race," which aired at 9 p.m. Sundays on the Food Network. Last night's (9/25) episode was the spine-tingling finale of season 2.
In case you're new to this recurring segment, we're providing light, tasty summaries of this popular reality TV competition because two Orange County food trucks, Seabirds of Costa Mesa and the Lime Truck of Irvine, have been battling for the $100,000 grand prize. Seabirds got knocked out in episode 4, which took place in the small college town of Manhattan, Kan.
Only the Lime Truck and Hodge Podge of Cleveland survived the coast-to-coast contest and made it all the way to Miami.
Incidentally, in last Sunday's (9/18) episode, three trucks -- Hodge Podge, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, and the Lime Truck -- competed in Atlanta, and Roxy's sold the least and were forced to drive back to Boston. Hodge Podge was the surprising winner, with $8,937 in sales.
In last night's episode, the Lime Truck and Hodge Podge roll into Miami. On the way there, Daniel Shemtob of the Lime Truck says, "I can’t believe we’re in the last city. Our truck is definitely more aesthetically suited toward Miami."
On a Miami waterfront, host Tyler Florence greets the two remaining teams, and says, "Your mission is simple and unbelievably difficult." Each truck must raise $15,000 in sales, then meet Tyler on the beach. The first team to do so gets the $100,000.
Unlike previous contests, the trucks can "sell where, what, when you want." However, the Speed Bump challenges are going to be frequent and are going to mess everything up, Tyler assures. He gives each team $500 in seed money to purchase groceries and get things started.
The Lime Truck expected the Truck Stop cooking challenge to start the day, so they don't really have a plan. Hodge Podge does have a plan -- to visit with chef Chris Hodgson's first boss at his Miami restaurant, where they get plenty of gourmet food at great prices.
As the two trucks get going in Miami, they find that word is getting out and sales are brisk. Jason Quinn of the Lime Truck attributes the success to social media, which includes Twitter. It's one of the few times during the show that social media, which is obviously a huge driver of crowds in each city, gets due credit.
As evening hits Miami, Tyler calls each truck with the first Speed Bump. The trucks are going to be towed, and it will cost $200 to get them out of the impound.
However, the trucks will still have to sell food on the street to raise the $200.
Hodge wins this challenge first. They are able to sell high-end food and get their truck released while the food in the truck is still hot, Chris says.
The Lime Truck takes a bit longer on this challenge. They eventually do get their truck released, and head to the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami.
Daniel says they're getting huge tickets, huge orders, and finally making money.
Near the end of the night, Tyler calls in with a Truck Stop. "This is not a Speed Bump," he says. "This is a Truck Stop."
He orders the trucks to close their windows and shut down for the night. Then, the teams are supposed to meet him at the marina at the crack of dawn.
"It’s killing me that I gotta leave," Jason from the Lime Truck says. "I wanted to do a midnight cookoff."
On day 2, the teams meet on the marina at 6:20 a.m. Tyler tells them this is the final Truck Stop of the competition. This challenge will play a big factor in who wins the entire race and the $100,000.
"Ladies and gentleman, this race is a lot closer than you think," Tyler says. He informs the teams that they are separated by only $176.
The Truck Stop will be a fish challenge in which the teams will take boats out to the Atlantic Ocean, catch fish, get back, and have 30 minutes to cook a dish for a local judge. The teams will be allowed to use ingredients on their trucks and will also have local, fresh ingredients available to them.
Daniel says a fish challenge "has Lime Truck written all over it."
The Lime Truck has two chefs, Jason and Jesse Brockman, and each decides to make their own fish dish.
"Jesse and I are wondering how we can showcase our fish, and how we can make it clear and crisp," Jason says. "We’re going to do both of them."
Chris from Hodge Podge decides he's going to make mackerel with a Spanish-influenced tomato stew.
The judge turns out to be Chef Michael Schwartz, chef and owner of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami.
"He is a superstar in the restaurant scene here in Miami," Tyler says. "Michael will taste your dish, and then he will pick a winner."
The clock ticks down, and the two teams emerge from their trucks with their finished dishes. Jesse presents a main dish, seared with citrus-seared tartar on the top, complemented by two spoons of raw fish wrapped around shredded asparagus, avocado and mango.
Judge Schwartz says, "It’s well-seasoned, well-executed. I like that it was bright and colorful. You really focused on the ingredients."
He notes, however, that the "dish was created in an era you weren’t even born yet." In other words, it's old school, not cutting-edge.
Chris from Hodge Podge presents a king mackerel dish with a lot of other ingredients.
The judge says, "The biggest crime about cooking a fish like king fish is overcooking it." He pauses. "And you didn’t do that."
However, he says that there are one or two or three too many ingredients. "You could have scaled the dish back."
Chris reflects, "I shouldn’t have put the remoulade sauce. Why did I do it?"
Judge Schwartz says the competition was "really, really close," but announces Lime Truck as the winner.
Jason: "We absolutely needed that. That was amazing. We really featured that ingredient."
Tyler gives the Lime Truck guys a reward, and it's $1,500 to count toward final sales.
"We were behind by $176," Daniel says. "Now we’re ahead."
After the challenge, the Lime Truck motors off and parks in South Miami. Daniel gets out and says to passers by, "Hey guys, we’re open if you like gourmet food trucks from Orange County, California." And what if you don't?
"It’s a great location, there’s tons of walking traffic, but we need a line to start making money," one of the Lime guys says.
Meanwhile, Hodge Podge has found a great location as well, among a bevy of other food trucks. "We have never made money this fast," Chris says. "Everyone thought we were a joke. I think we got this. We can catch up to Lime Truck, no problem."
There's an onslaught of customers at the Lime Truck, when Tyler calls again. "This one’s a two-parter," he says. "First, shut down. Part two, when you start up in the morning, you’re a dessert truck. Make something sweet. Re-shop, reconfigure, do what you want to do."
The two trucks close up shop. Daniel says, "We’re almost there. We’re almost going to take this thing home, and I feel so good."
On Day 3 at 9 a.m., the two teams set up as dessert trucks. The Lime Truck gets its ingredients from a restaurant downtown. Despite having to sell only desserts, the trucks appear to be doing well.
Finally, it appears that the Lime Truck has hit the $15,000 goal. Daniel shouts to folks outside the truck, "We’re done. We’re going to close everything up, we’re going to get out of here, we’re going to go!" There are encouraging screams in the background.
Daniel: "Seven weeks of madness, and we’re almost there."
The Lime guys participate in a group hug. Awwww, how progressive.
Daniel says, "I am not going to lose by a few minutes. We need to get there as soon as possible."
There's a commercial break, and when we get back to the action, the Lime Truck fellas are racing to the beach, where host Tyler is waiting.
Jason says, "If I see that black truck when I roll up, I’m going to just be so crushed."
Daniel: "It feels like a year ago that we were in Vegas. If I see Hodge there, I’m going to be so bummed out."
In the follow car, Daniel says to Jason,"I’m freaking out so hard that I’m not freaking out, but I’m really freaking out – my insides are freaking out." Let me guess, Daniel. You're freaking out.
Jason responds, "Yeah, this is like the worst drive of my life right now."
Meanwhile, it appears that Hodge Podge is done, too. They close up and race toward the beach.
Jacquelyn Romanin of Hodge says, "I wanna scream, cry and sleep all at the same time."
The three Lime Truck guys race from their trucks onto the sandy beach. They see Tyler standing there with a black briefcase in his hands. Tyler informs them that if the briefcase is filled with $100,000 in cold, hard cash, the Lime Truck has won.
Daniel opens the briefcase, and it is filled with $100 bills!
"Congratulations, Lime Truck," Tyler says. The Lime Truck guys go berserk.
Daniel: "Ooh baby, $100 grand. We did it. It’s Lime Truck dancing time."
The three guys proceed to dance on the beach in a manner that's rather awkward. In fact, my wife rewound this segment about a dozen times, so she could watch them dance again and again and laugh out loud.
Tyler also laughs and claps as the dudes dance. "That is so awesome," he says. "Congratulations, guys. You’ve earned every single penny of this."
Jason says, "This $100,000 is huge. It gives me enough money to start opening my own restaurant. This is absolutely incredible. Complete and utter jubilation. There’s no words."
Next, we see the three members of Hodge Podge come running onto the beach. It's too late, and they are crushed. The Lime Truck guys are already there.
"We didn’t get $100,000, and that’s heartbreaking," Chris says. However, there's a silver lining to this loss. "Me and my sister got closer," Chris says. "Me and my girlfriend grew closer. It’s the greatest win of my life."
Tyler says, "Lime Truck, you just won $100,000. Let's give a big hand for both of you. The second 'Great Food Truck Race' is over. Let’s see the Lime Truck dance!"
All the contestants dance on the beach, and that's the end of season 2!
And that's the end of this "Great Food Truck Race" recap segment. Thanks for tuning in, and we'll see you next season!
Congratulations, Lime Truck!