“The Great Food Truck Race” continued Sept. 14 on the Food Network with the fifth episode of the series’ fifth season. The show’s latest installment saw the remaining teams duke it out for the top prize in St. Louis, and by evening’s end, yet another elimination trimmed the field to just three teams.
The episode opened as the four remaining teams, The Middle Feast, Beach Cruiser, Lone Star Chuck Wagon, and Let There Be Bacon, made their way to St. Louis to meet show host Tyler Florence. Upon arrival at the famed Gateway Arch, Tyler reminded them of the competition’s high stakes: $50,000 and a state of the art food truck.
He then handed each team an envelope that he said contained their seed money for the week, but they were all dismayed to find a simple business card in place of actual cash. Tyler explained that since it isn’t realistic for food truck owners to expect anyone to handle them money to maintain their businesses, they’d need to visit the toasted ravioli vendor listed on the card, and ask for either Nick or Patty. Then, they’d each be given three large boxes of pasta that they’d need to convert into their seed money for the week. He said the task would serve as the week’s first Speed Bump.
With that, the teams took off to collect their pasta. Let There Be Bacon was less than thrilled to realize that they’d be dependent on ravioli –not their signature bacon– to make money, but Beach Cruiser was decidedly more confident and quickly made plans to partner with two different local businesses. Lone Star Chuck Wagon also made plans to park outside a new beverage-only establishment, while Middle Feast opted to join forces with a local food truck. Beach Cruiser ran into problems finding their destination and lost selling time, but the other three trucks quickly set up shop.
Lone Star slapped a sky-high $20 price tag on their toasted ravioli and reeled in an impressive $640, while the other trucks wound up with a little less cash in their tills as they hit the store to go shopping. After opening again, Lone Star continued selling their menu items at high prices, while Beach Cruiser scoffed at the idea of price-gouging but increased their prices in order to remain competitive. Although the Texans still attracted business, some customers were less than thrilled with their strategy and shared their concerns with fellow consumers.
Later, Tyler stopped to visit each truck to sample a dish from each and offer up useful feedback. Let There Be Bacon served as his first stop. He helped the trio of guys to serve and organize more efficiently before moving on to Middle Feast, where he encouraged them to use more authentic ingredients. Next up, he moved on to Lone Star, and was disappointed by their dry, “amateurish” quesadilla. Finally, he made his way to Beach Cruiser, where he told them to add bigger flavors to their fish taco.
Day two opened the next morning as Tyler gathered the competitors and said that based on his day one evaluations, he didn’t think any of them would make it as actual food truck businesses. He called out Lone Star’s pricing as “insane,” but admitted that they’d be in first place if the elimination took place right then and there, while Beach Cruiser would be headed home. He also revealed that there would be a big Truck Stop cooking challenge at 5:30 at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and that the biggest reward of the season to date would be handed out to the truck who presents the best dish.
With that, the teams took off to shop, plan their dishes for the challenge, and open for business. All four seemed confident with their signature dishes as they spent the early part of the day selling to consumers. They were all equally nervous as they packed up to head to the cooking challenge, where Tyler told them that he’d judge each of their dishes on presentation, creativity, and taste. Best of all, the winner of the challenge would have their week’s earnings doubled.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the teams headed to their trucks to prepare their “mind blowing” dishes. While Middle Feast worked together to create their dish, Beach Cruiser (fish taco) and Let There Be Bacon (barbecue seared shrimp) let single chefs take the lead. Lone Star took a more complicated approach by taste-testing three different steaks before settling on a final choice for their quesadilla.
After time expired, Tyler congratulated all four teams on their pretty plates before evaluating each dish one at a time. Let There Be Bacon took criticism for not making bacon the star of their dish, while Lone Star drew praise for taking him to Texas and Beach Cruiser earned similar praise for transporting him to California. Middle Feast also earned a terrific review, leaving Tyler with a difficult decision. Inevitably, he chose Lone Star as the challenge winner, praising the spice, flavor, and presentation of their quesadilla.
While Lone Star celebrated, the other teams lamented Tyler’s decision. Expressing particular disappointment were the members of Beach Cruiser, who were bummed over losing out to a quesadilla.
Later, the teams joined Tyler for the fifth elimination of the season. He praised all four teams for taking his advice and increasing the quality of their food. First place, with $10,418 in their till, was Lone Star Chuck Wagon, who actually won the weekend without Tyler’s doubler. Second place went to Let There Be Bacon, who earned $5,056. The third and final spot in the next round went to Middle Feast by just $160. Although Tyler called them a great team and “the definition of a great brand,” Beach Cruiser was eliminated from the competition.
As they drove off, Tyler addressed the three remaining teams to reveal their next destination: Mobile, Ala. “The Great Food Truck Race” continues Sept. 21 from Mobile.