The third season of The Great Food Truck Race hit the road with eight rookie food trucks — and not one of the teams had ever worked, cooked or driven in a food truck up until that point. Fast forward seven weeks and this team of determined ladies can certainly say they walked away from the finale having learned the ropes of the food industry. Every Sunday we saw Nonna’s Kitchenette pull out all their team’s tricks to stay in the game, but ultimately, only one truck could win. Tonight, Nonna’s lost by just $103 and was the final team to return their keys to Tyler.
Tyler said your team is a “force to be reckoned with” and we agree. Nothing stopped you from giving it your all. What was the team’s most memorable moment of the competition?
Holding hands at eliminations and never knowing if we were going home or moving on to the next city, and then the feeling of relief after finding out from Tyler that we were safe. Winning the challenges in Arkansas and Boston were also an indescribable feeling. There was so much more at stake this season — we really had to hand in the keys to the truck that we never wanted to give back, and that was tough. Proving to ourselves that we can successfully run a food truck business, however, was a dream come true for us.
“When you’re competing against a team like Seoul, $500 is nothing.” You said this after winning the final Truck Stop. What do you think Seoul Sausage’s secret weapon is?
We both brought the passion and drive, but Seoul was a well-oiled machine with experience and that’s tough to compete with as rookies. Seoul had a system in place and knew how to work extremely well together. We knew from day one of the competition that they were the team to beat. Our team, on the other hand, launched our business on this show. With never having worked in a professional kitchen or ever working together — as a team we are proud to say that the underdogs made it as far as we did. We had to hustle and push ourselves further than we ever imagined we could to compete with Seoul’s level of experience. Most of all we’re extremely proud of how we grew together as a team. To be standing in the finale with them was proof that if you want to find success, all you need to do is follow your dream.
Whether it was the customers waiting in line or all your fans watching on TV, I think we all wanted to try your food. What was the most popular item on the menu?
For savory, it would have to be our homemade sweet basil and fontina meatball sliders with fresh Bolognese sauce. One thing we never wanted to sacrifice on the show was the quality of the food we served. Making everything homemade was time-consuming, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. For sweet options it was our Pizzelle (Italian waffle cookie) and Gelato Ice Cream Sandwiches. Our Nonna perfected the recipe and it was one of our favorite cookies growing up. It wasn’t until Nashville that we were able to afford the press to make them fresh on our truck and it was the best thing we could have done. We paired them with locally bought vanilla bean, pistachio and hazelnut-chocolate gelato in the final cities.
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The craziest thing that happened that people didn’t get to see on TV was how challenging it truly was to operate this business: prepping our food in 100-degree weather, facing challenges from Tyler in unfamiliar cities, being away from our families, cleaning our food truck in the middle of the night and waking up a few hours later to do it all again. We lived and breathed this competition to stay a part of it. Driving a food truck across the country when you’re only 5 feet tall and can barely reach the gas pedal is not easy, and getting the truck through some of the conditions we faced was honestly petrifying. The irony of it all is that we enjoyed every minute of it and would leave tomorrow to do it all again.
Out of the three ladies, Jessica is the comedian, Jaclyn is the loudest and Lisa is the most creative.
The best thing about being mentored by Tyler was having someone that we’ve looked up to for years and who truly believed in what we were trying to accomplish. He gave us genuine feedback on how to succeed in this business.
Can New Jersey expect a Nonna’s Kitchenette food truck in the future?
Absolutely. We came on this show as complete rookies in every aspect of this industry, without the slightest idea of how to drive and operate the truck. By the end, we became so attached to that truck that giving the keys back to Tyler was heartbreaking. We woke up with a smile on our face every day despite the breakdowns, battle wounds in the kitchen and sheer exhaustion. Having the opportunity to be a part of this show only proved more that we want to be a part of this. We’re working to find funding and negotiating sponsorship opportunities for the business. We’re aiming to launch our first truck in Los Angeles by the end of the month, with hopes to have New Jersey rolling soon after. The support that America has shown us throughout our journey has been incredible and we thank all of our fans for being a part of this.