The Great Food Truck Race: Battle for the South begins in New Orleans


Seven food trucks hit the road on the ultimate food road trip. The newest season of the Great Food Truck Race Battle of the South has started its food journey.

The Great Food Truck Race Battle for the South has begun. Tyler Florence leads seven food trucks through the ultimate foodie road trip for their dream prize of owning and operating their own food truck. This season has the food truck contestants’ journey through Southern states.

One aspect to this Food Network show is highlighting particular regions’ specialties. Southern food has been trending in the food world. The choice to travel through Southern cities seems to follow that food trend. While each food truck isn’t specifically a Southern inspired truck, any food can adapt certain flavors, techniques or customs into its dishes.

The Great Food Truck Race, photo from Food Network

This season features seven food trucks. The food trucks vary from professional chefs to families. Each food truck has a very clear point of view. But, like any food reality television show, the show has to balance entertainment with the food. Still, each food truck and their owner must have a culinary passion for food. The food trucks for this season are: Stick Em Up, Braised in the South, Breakfast Club, Wicked Good Seafood, Southern Frenchie, Mr. Po Boy’s, and Papi Chulo’s Empanadas.

Season 8 of The Great Food Truck Race began in New Orleans. One of New Orleans’ iconic treats is a beignet. A classic stop for New Orleans visitors is Café Du Monde for café and beignets. The food truck contestants had to create their own gourmet beignet to sell. The sales would go towards the teams’ final totals.

The Great Food Truck Race, beignets, photo from Food Network

A few food trucks were successful. Stick Em Up made bananas fosters beignets, which were a huge hit. The Braised in the South team’s flavors were a huge hit. They sold the most beignets and won the challenge. Wicked Seafood failed at this challenge miserably. With only $35 in sales, the Boston based seafood truck had a lot of ground to make up.

After the beignet challenge, all seven teams set out to make their some of their signature dishes for the people of New Orleans. After a quick stop for ingredients and prep, most of the teams were on their way. Unfortunately, Braised in the South took way too long to find a selling location. The big waste of time hurt their first day sales.

For the food truck operators, this show isn’t just about making delicious food. Some of the best chefs can fail at a food truck business. Good selling locations and smart pricing are as important as the scrumptious bites. If no one buys your food, it doesn’t matter how tasty it is.

Of course, no food reality show would be complete without a twist. This week the food truck contestants had to create a dish based on the classic hurricane. While they weren’t creating cocktails, each food truck had to develop a dish using the flavors of a hurricane. The fruit flavors, like citrus and passion fruit, had to be used in the dish.

The Great Food Truck Race, Hurricane flavors challenge, photo from Food Network

Local chef, Susan Spicer went to each truck to determine which food truck made the best hurricane inspired dish. Most food trucks did a good job. Some food trucks had muddled flavors. Stick Em Up had a dish that was difficult to eat.

Mr. Po Boy’s chicken was crowned the winning dish. The chicken had multiple layers of hurricane inspired flavors. For the win, Po Boys received an extra $100 in their till (aka money for the challenge).

The first challenge on the Great Food Truck race is always a little scattered. It can be hard to get a handle on the food, prices and selling locations. While some of the contestants understand good food and cooking, a food truck is much more. For the viewer, the first episode is a little anti-climactic.

I can’t really tell which food truck to support. I think that I would want to eat at Braised in the South or the Southern Frenchie. Maybe I’m being a foodie snob, but the backgrounds of these food trucks should create some good dishes. But, a food truck isn’t a restaurant. So it might be different.

While I get everyone’s obsession with food on a stick, I personally don’t like it. For me, it is a little too gimmicky. I’m sure that this truck will do well, but I might not want to make that food truck my first stop.

Otherwise, I think that the Breakfast Club will do well. All-day brunch is a popular food trend right now. Plus, these three friends want to make the whole experience fun. A good attitude could go a long way in this competition.

The Great Food Truck Race, Breakfast Club, photo from Food Network

For the first week’s competition, the Breakfast Club won the New Orleans challenge. Winning the hurricane challenge kept the Mr. Po Boy’s truck in the race, too. Overall, the sales totals for most of the trucks were close.

The bottom two food trucks were Wicked Good Seafood and Papi Chulo’s Empanadas. The guys from Wicked Good Seafood struggled with the selling. Yelling at people to come to your truck doesn’t work. Selling tactics need to be on point.

Papi Chulo’s Empanadas struggled with working together and making their food. The New Orleans heat played havoc on making empanadas, but they overcame it. If this food truck can learn to work smart, I think that they could do well. Their cuisine could prove very popular, but it will be a matter of figuring out how to operate successfully.

With only $16 separating the two bottom teams, Wicked Good Seafood’s race ended where it began. The guys didn’t get enough momentum going to find the sales. A seafood food truck is a great idea. The guys at CM Lobster have turned that idea into a national business. But, the Boston guys will have to head back to Bean town. Hopefully, they learned a lot in their short experience.

Next: Can you make prosecco doughnuts at home?

Next week the Great Food Truck Race heads to Pensacola Florida. What will the Florida panhandle have in store for the biggest food competition on four wheels? Tune in next week to see.