“The Great Food Truck Race” 2014 trimmed its field of hopefuls to just two at the close of the season’s sixth episode, which aired Sept. 21 on the Food Network. So which team was sent packing one heartbreaking week too soon?
The show opened as the three remaining teams –Lone Star Chuck Wagon, The Middle Feast, and Let There Be Bacon– talked strategy for the week as they wheeled their way toward Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Upon arrival, they met up with show host Tyler Florence, who gave them a quick primer on the region’s fresh seafood. In honor of the art of cooking regional foods, he told them that they’d need to add three seafood dishes to their menus for the week.
He then handed each team $400 in seed money as well as a chance to earn fresh Gulf Coast shrimp from a local vendor. They were then handed bags, and told that the team who came closest to filling their bags with 100 pounds of shrimp would receive their take for free, while the other two would need to pay for their hauls.
After the teams endured the chill of the deep freeze and scooped up shrimp, they met up with Tyler for the big weigh-in. Lone Star’s take weighed in at 77 pounds, while Middle Feast notched just 49 pounds. Let There Be Bacon was last to hit the scale, and their 55-pound total wasn’t enough to take the win from Lone Star.
Lone Star took off to do the rest of their shopping while the other two teams mulled their shrimp purchase options. After the vendor offered to sell each team shrimp for $9 per pound, Middle Feast passed, but Bacon adhered to the local cooking theme and opted to purchase 15 pounds of quality product.
The teams finished their shopping and set up shop in three different locations in nearby Mobile. Lone Star found the process of peeling their shrimp unexpectedly time consuming, but continued making sales. Middle Feast enjoyed a long line and plenty of business, but Bacon hit a serious snag when one of the guys suffered a near-panic attack and had to take time to relax. Fortunately, he was able to get it together.
Later in the evening, Tyler paid the trucks a visit and shared that they’d each need to close up by 9 p.m. in order to be ready for brunch the following morning. He explained that he’d be hosting a bracket-style competition that would reward the final winner a whopping $1,000.
Day two saw the teams shopping and planning for both brunch and challenge ingredients. Middle Feast and Lone Star opened relatively quickly, while Bacon’s prep process left them lagging a little behind. Lone Star again planned to set high price points, but disaster struck when they realized they’d never even purchased their priciest product, some prime grouper.
Outside, Tyler secretly approached consumers outside each truck and asked them to purchase two brunch specials on his behalf and the meet him to discuss the dishes. All three trucks scored big with both the consumers and with Tyler. As the trucks ran low on food, they took different approaches to the challenge, with Middle Feast continuing to cut items from their menus and Bacon frantically searching for more shrimp.
Finally, Tyler called the teams to reveal that he’d already sampled their food via private shoppers. He reminded them that the best two brunch dishes would advance to the seafood challenge, but before he dished on the winners, he told them to shut down their trucks and meet him at the Bragg Mitchell Mansion. After praising all three dishes, Tyler introduced a guest judge, Pete, who would help him choose the winner of the seafood cook-off.
Then he got down to business, choosing Bacon and Lone Star to compete in the big event. He said he “really enjoyed” Middle Feast’s dish, but didn’t appreciate the “un-toastedness” of the bread. With 20 minutes on the clock and the assignment to be authentic and locally-focused clearly communicated, Lone Star and Bacon headed off to take part in the challenge. Both teams were confident in their choices, while Middle Feast lamented their bad fortune.
The teams presented their dishes to Tyler and Pete, and were dismissed to the two men could deliberate in peace. After sampling the food, the pair called Bacon and Lone Star back for judgment. Tyler criticized Lone Star’s overly salty fish, and the duo gave the $1,000 win to a very happy Bacon. While Bacon celebrated, Lone Star worried that their loss would send them home just a week before the finale.
Following a break, Tyler met the three teams for final judgment. He praised them for their outstanding sales in Mobile and then addressed each truck’s biggest challenges. Remarkably, first place went to Middle Feast, who didn’t even make the seafood cooking challenge. By a margin of $582, Lone Star Chuck Wagon advanced to the finale. Despite winning the cook-off, Let There Be Bacon was eliminated from the competition. Tyler praised them for mastering marketing and creating “a bacon army,” and off they went.
As Bacon departed, Tyler addressed the two remaining teams and promised an “epic and brutal” finale beginning in Tampa, Fla. So which team will win $50,000 and a state of the art food truck? Watch “The Great Food Truck” 2014 finale Sept. 28 and find out.