Under the Crust Says Goodbye — The Great Food Truck Race

by in Shows, August 19th, 2012

under the crust

The third season of The Great Food Truck Race hit the road tonight in Los Angeles with eight new teams — and not one of the teams had ever worked, cooked or driven in a food truck up until this point. With a grand prize of $50,000 on the line and the chance to keep their truck, each team will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the game, but ultimately, one truck must go each week. Every Sunday night, FN Dish will bring you exclusive exit interviews with the latest Food Truck contestants to get the boot.

This week, Under the Crust seemed to face one challenge after another with their equipment, not to mention choosing poor locations and the basics of just getting to know their truck for the first time — and unfortunately, Hannah, Sheri and Gary had to give the keys of their truck back to Tyler.

What are two things about operating a food truck that surprised you the most?

The actual operation of the food truck was much more intuitive than I thought it would be. Once we learned what equipment was on the truck and, significantly, what was not, we had no problems working in a confined space. There was plenty of space to do what we needed as a team. I was also surprised at how creative we were in coming up with new menu items that utilized the equipment we did have, despite it not being what we were used to, to say the least. Our product was very clearly defined in our business as sweet and savory mini pies. By having to come up with different approaches to our product, we created items that we now still use and really like.

under the crustDo you think not selling the first day was your biggest downfall? Or the locations you chose?

Of course I think it would have helped to sell on the first day, but that was not the most detrimental of our problems. We also had a lot of trouble with the equipment in our truck. We had fire and floods, flat tires and more plumbing problems that got in our way on that first day. I think that the biggest stumbling block was that we had very little knowledge of how the day-to-day food truck business worked.

I was also under the impression that a truck had to have permission to park in any given place, so I spent a lot of time calling to try to secure permission to be at certain venues. We should have done right away what we realized later and simply parked at a destination and asked questions after.

I was getting warmer when I called the Kogi BBQ truck to go where they were, but the only phone number I found was an office number. They were kind enough to call back on Monday to say they would help anyway they could, which was very sweet — we would have learned a lot. If only I had a Twitter account (sigh).

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that the Speed Bump was the best part of the challenge. Did you feel that way because they took finding a prime location out of the equation?

The Speed Bump was absolutely the best part of the challenge for us, because it put us where the action was — exactly what we were trying to find all along. If we had done the same amount of business in the other locations that we did on Hollywood Boulevard, we would have done enough business to not be eliminated.

What do you consider the most important tool in the food truck business: the perfect location or a mouthwatering mobile menu? Why?

The most important component is, by far, location. That is not to say that good food isn’t what everyone strives for, but if you have hungry people in a busy location, and you have hamburgers or hot dogs to sell, they are going to buy them. If you have gourmet food that is to die for, but are in a quiet location, well, we know how that goes. A good location means customers, and you have no business without customers, that’s for sure!

What’s your ultimate pie creation you’ve yet to release to the public?

Now, keep in mind that I’m not the chef, but I am one of the original “foodies,” before that word came into existence, so my choice would be a savory pie with foie gras mousse, layered (twice) with shaved truffles and topped with a thin final layer of fig and balsamic jam. (I can just picture Hannah rolling her eyes at me right now!)

Hannah adds that her ultimate pie would be a “savory pie based on a classic meal. It has a shredded duck confit filling with roasted baby vegetables. It would have a flaky top crust and would be served with a fig and port wine reduction.”

Under the Crust was a business you dreamed up with your fiancé, Keith, who passed away from cancer. Tyler and the show were so inspired by your story that he donated $5,000 to the American Cancer Society in his name. Hannah, do you still plan on opening your own food truck?

I still cannot seem to express just how much Tyler’s generous donation meant to me. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it and I am beyond thankful for it. Even when Keith was really sick, he was always worried about other people and never himself. He always said how if he got better, that he would want to counsel other young people who were diagnosed with cancer. I know that Tyler’s donation would have meant the world to him. I am still planning on opening a food truck of some sort in the near future. Being eliminated first really hit me hard, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I love what I do and I really did love working on the truck. I wish I had been able to move on in the competition, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

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Comments (34)

  1. Claire says:

    Is this the Hannah Cohen who lived in Atlanta and went to first Montessori? If so, this is Claire! We were homies with Jesse a million years ago. Haven’t had the chance to watch the show, but heard through another FMSA friend that she saw you on it. Hope you and your family are doing well and if you’re into starting a food truck the industry in Atlanta is just starting to boom! Come visit!!

    • Hannah Cohen says:

      Oh My Gosh! Claire!!! That was a million years ago! Thank you for commenting, we are all doing great! I hope that you and your family are all doing great as well! I will definitely look you up when I make it back to ATL! Definitely look up our friends Coast of Atlanta! They are also in the show and great people with great food!!

  2. johntiberiusharper says:

    Hannah, our prayers are with you. Keep your head up, your feet set, and your eyes open. Your dream will come true.

    Meanwhile, hit us up so we can come south to show you some OC love. My wife and I love the concept of the pies, and it made us hungry.

    • Thank you so much! I hope people understand how much all of these supportive comments mean to me and my team! Thank you again for watching and supporting us!

      I will make sure to post our set farmers market schedule on both our Facebook page as well as twitter and you can always get a hold of me through our website too!
      This entire experience, though has been hard and not exactly what I wanted, has definitely showed me that I am doing what I love and I'll never give that up.

  3. Chiettom says:

    Hanna, where can I get your pies in San Diego?

  4. Ron says:

    Hannah, I DVR'd the show and just watched it. So sorry your team did not make it through, I was rooting for you. With your passion and Keith's love in your heart you WILL make your dream come true. God bless…

    • leshon huumphrey says:

      I'm from Cleveland, Ohio home of Micheal Simon it's not right cause I have a group of chefs that would Luv too win that race I do mean WIN that race from Cleveland, Ohio. Give CLEVELAND, OHIO a CHANCE!!!

  5. Underthecrustfan says:

    Hannah I just want you to know you made great food and your really awesome and I hope to eat your food :D i was devastated u lost but I hope you get your food truck :)

    • Pieluva says:

      Ikr they are sooooooo freaking awesome I mean there pies looook sooooo good and they seem like nice people hope they get their truck!!!

  6. Pieeeeeeeees:) says:

    Yeah they deserve this more than anyone them losing like wrecked the show :(

  7. Thank you so much for all of your support! It means a lot to me and my team!
    Please don't let us going home stop you from watching the show. Of course I wish it were different but all the teams are great! The whole show is such an amazing adventure that I think it's definitely worth watching play out. I know i'll be watching all my food truckin' friends race to the finish!! :)

    ps. you can find easy links to our twitter feed as well as Facebook page on our website, Underthecrust.com
    Thanks again!

  8. Coast of Atlanta ~ Lena says:

    Sorry to see my babygirl/Hannah depart. Love ya so much and can’t wait til ya come visit in ATL!! We love Under the Crust!!

  9. MMTM says:

    So sorry to see Under The Crust go home. I was really hoping to see them go to the end. Hope they get a chance to get a truck on their own.

  10. psuemnick says:

    I was sorry to see this group go because I loved the concept they have. But it seems there were alot of things that were NOT in their favor, and to Hannah I'm sorry to hear about Keith. But at least when you get to the great byond and see him again, you can say you at least tried this to see if it was a possibility. With some work and tweaking, I think you can. As for the other teams, I like Momma's Grizzly, Pizza Mike, and Barbie Babes. I wasnt too excited about Seoul Sausage (sorry boys but after Korilla–make sure you show that group the RIGHT way to win things) and Coast just down right irritates me with a rather uppity attitude of "we're all professional chefs who dont want to punch clocks. Well if you are THAT good open a brick and mortar restuarant, it is better suited to your training.

    • psuemnick says:

      As for Nonna's, II'm rather tired of the Jersey Shore types who's italian grandmother was the greatest italian cook out there. Seems to be a common theme with this small segment of society. At least they dont call it "gravy", but sauce, which gravy is what alot of them say. You dont make spaghett sauce, you make gravy to go on your pasta. Pizza Mike LOVE the idea. PopAWaffle–although Bobbaloo's look makes me quietyly giggle, good diea, especially doing savory and sweet.

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