I know that we are in that awkward stage between the summer season ending and the fall season beginning and understand the food channels are filling their airwaves with anything that they can dig up. I don’t expect the quality of programming to be as good as it is during actual seasons, and honestly I don’t mind watching Jaime at Home, Nigella’s Feasts, Tyler’s Ultimate or Bobby Flay‘s Throwdown from years ago, it’s kind of comforting actually. It’s the kind of comfort you get when you can relax in the anticipation of good and delicious things lurking just over the horizon. This is the root of my disappointment when new shows are absolute snooze fests.
For those of you living under TV food show rocks, let me fill you in. The Great Food Truck Race is an elimination show that started with 7 teams (down to 4 now) and their food trucks competing for 50,000 dollars, which is quite a lot of money in the food truck world. The teams are judged by how much money they make selling their food and how well they handle curve balls that come halfway through the episode called truck stops. Last weeks truck stop in Santa Fé was to find and use Santa Fe’s most famous ingredient the chili, in a new special on the fly. Last nights challenge was that they were given a whole hind quarter of a cow that they had to butcher at least to the point of getting some meat off the carcass to a make a dish from. The show sounds pretty entertaining and yet it’s just not.
The first problem is that team Nom Nom, yea, no joke, has far and away the best business savvy of any of these teams. It is obvious that this team already works in a heavily competitive environment, they hail from L.A. Their team leader was on the phone calling the Santa Fe press to let them know where their truck was going to be before they even hit town, which they knew because Ms. Nom Nom had already hooked up with a local business to park in front of. Last night they hooked up with a local grocery store who then messaged the stores 19,000 Facebook followers. Not only that, when presented with the beef quarter they just rolled it in to the store and asked real nice if the butcher would mind doing it for them. Adding further to their dominance, they are beating the other teams out 2 to 1 in sales. Well, to be fair they only beat out the nearest team last night by a few hundred dollars. Still, it kind of takes the competition out of the show, they should rename it, Nom Nom Shows Everyone Else How It’s Done. In case you are sleepy right this second and need a nap I’m providing you with a clip from last nights…zzzzz…
24 Hour Restaurant Battle. I really am only going to say but a few sentences. This idea works on because it is part of a season and it is always entertaining to watch people part of an individual based competition suddenly have to compete as a team. Tempers are always going to fly. I am not convinced that the concept translates to a stand-alone episode show format. The prize on 24 Restaurant Battle is a mere 10,000 dollars for ‘seed money,’ which in the restaurant world really isn’t that much so it kind of begs the question; why would someone put themselves through the trial of the show to not accomplish what the show offers. It’s also not really entertaining as much as it is painful to watch granddaughters yell at grandmothers, sons belittle fathers, ex-lovers drive each other crazy again, or couples desperately reach for the money because someone ran over their business destroying their source of income. On the upside, if you like watching people cry whether it is for good reasons or bad, this might be the show for you. I included this clip even though it’s a tough edit because watching one of the restaurants actually start to fall apart is painful but hilarious.
- Scott Conant: Reflections on 24 Hour Restaurant Battle (huffingtonpost.com)
- Locally grown produce delivery in Echo Park (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Food: Austin Daily Press – From Red River To Reality TV (austinist.com)
- ‘The Great Food Truck Race’: Tyler Florence talks about Food Network’s new reality competition (popwatch.ew.com)