The Great Food Truck Race recap: Dates bring sweet victory


Victory tastes sweet in this The Great Food Truck Race recap. Did an unlikely ingredient spark some food truck creativity in these teams?

This week’s The Great Food Truck Race recap left one team just shy of the finale. Throughout this Wild West season, the teams have seen ups, downs and a few injuries. Still, each of the three remaining teams are fighting for the big prize. Will victory be the sweetest reward?

With only three teams remaining, the competition is fierce. The three remaining food trucks are Just Wing It, New England Grill and Mobile Moo Shu. Throughout the food truck competition, Mobile Moo Shu has done well. Unfortunately, they had a few mis-steps last week and were almost eliminated. Could they make a big comeback and secure a spot in the finale?

Even more interesting is that Just Wing It has found its groove. The former Worst Cooks in America contestants and friends have shown that they can go from worst to first. Still, is a wing truck too cuisine specific to achieve success?

Just Wing It from The Great Food Truck Race, photo provided by Food Network

Lastly, New England Grill had a little set back with an injury. Still, they recovered well and won both challenges last week. Do those east coast seafood forward dishes appeal to the west coast?

As this week’s episode opens, The Great Food Truck Race recap begins with a skills challenge. While many people think of Coachella as a music festival destination, it is one of the largest date producers in the world. Given that designation, the teams must work with dates during this episode.

For the first part of the challenge, the food trucks have to properly pit one pound of dates. Tyler shows the teams a trick to pit a date using a wooden skewer. While this kitchen hack looks easy, it isn’t a simple task.

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  • I was quite surprised that Just Wing It finished first on this skills challenge. Granted, they used extra wooden skewers, but no one said that it was against the rules. The wing guys got their seed money and headed off first, followed by Mobile Moo Shu and lastly New England Grill.

    Of course, this skills challenge wasn’t the only time dates would appear in the episode. Each team had to create an original dish using dates. Both New England Grill and Mobile Moo Shu made desserts. Just Wing It stuck to their vision and made a savory dish, a barbecue style sauce that used dates.

    If I had to choose one dish, I would have picked New England Grill’s zeppole. The Italian fried dough filled with a date and berry jam sounded great. It was an easy dish to make and could be quite profitable.

    But this challenge wasn’t about sales, it was flavor and use of dates. Just Wing It, and their chicken wings, won over the judges. The recipe was innovative, smart and delicious. They didn’t try to reinvent themselves or over-reach. For the win, this food truck got an extra $600 in their till, which definitely gave them a huge advantage.

    This date challenge is a great lesson for home cooks, too. Just because dates are a fruit, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a dessert. Dates can add natural sweetness to any dish, even a savory one. Many cooks now use dates as a sugar substitute. It is a great food trend that Food Network worked into this episode.

    Even though Just Wing It won the first challenge in The Great Food Truck Race recap, the weekend wasn’t over. The two food trucks with top overall sales would be heading to the finale. These teams needed to sell as much as they could to earn their place in the finale.

    This episode had the trucks basically selling in the same area. With lots of eager food fans around, the trucks did well. Overall, the food trucks have found which dishes sell, how to work as a team and shop correctly. With the learning curve behind them, these final episodes basically come down to people’s preferences.

    Two things were a little bothersome about this episode. First, Mobile Moo Shu seemed a little off as a team. Leaving one teammate on the food truck, alone, isn’t a good idea. There seems to be a little breakdown in communication. After such a strong start, this food truck seems a little overwhelmed.

    Second, Just Wing It blew off the last couple hours of selling. While they did win the extra $600, no food truck should just end sales. The other teams moved locations after the crowds waned. Just Wing IT could have moved locations. Jumping into the pool was a little too over-confident in my opinion. Nothing is over till Tyler announces the results.

    Customers line up for New England Grill’s artichoke and bacon challenge sell in front of the Gowan Company building in Yuma, AZ, as seen on The Great Food Truck Race, Season 9.

    Still, Just Wing It must have known something. This food truck placed first in this episode and secured a place in the finale. The group of friends seem to have found the formula that worked. Maybe they could win the whole thing.

    The difference between a place in the finale and going home was less than $50 difference. In all honesty, that difference is just a handle of dishes sold. Sometimes it really pays to hustle for every sale.

    In the end, New England Grill squeaked out the victory and will be in the finale. They really worked to get every last sale and it helped.

    Personally, I find it a little disappointing to see Mobile Moo Shu going home. This food truck concept is a great one. The dishes and flavors are exciting. It will be interesting to see if this type of food truck or fast causal concept starts popping up more frequently.

    Next week’s The Great Food Truck Race finale is set. Only one food truck will earn the title. Can Just Wing It count on people’s love of the classic chicken wings or will New England Grill satisfy that craving for seafood?

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    Did the right outcome happen in this week’s The Great Food Truck Race recap? Which food truck do you think will win the title?