Going into the Season 5 finale of The Great Food Truck Race, the remaining two teams, Lone Star Chuck Wagon and Middle Feast, both had what it took to win. Both teams placed first twice before. Both knew their brand and the customer base they were marketing to. And throughout the seven weeks of competition, both teams honed their menus to the best quality they could offer. But in the end only one team could win their own state-of-the-art food truck and $50,000 in prize money to jump-start their culinary dreams.
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While challenge dishes featured on Cutthroat Kitchen are classics and easy to prepare, many, like Thai coconut soup and falafel, aren’t necessarily appealing to children. On tonight’s all-new episode, however, the competition took a turn for the kid-friendly, as Alton Brown introduced one dish that’s perhaps enjoyed more by children than by adults: chicken fingers. “The chicken finger is featured on pretty much every single kids’ menu on the planet,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show. To celebrate the plate and honor one place many chicken fingers are eaten, Alton auctioned off a giant highchair, one intended not for kids but for an unlucky chef saddled with sabotage. “Look at the view,” Alton said jokingly to Jet, who willingly climbed onto the chair to experience the test for himself. “You can see further in Cutthroat Kitchen than ever before.”
While the sights may have been ideal up there, the working conditions were not, as Chef Joel found mini utensils, plastic plates and an electric cooktop waiting for him at the table of the highchair. Lucky for him, though, he didn’t stay there long, as he won the mid-round sabotage and forced Chef Oz to take his place and finish prepping the dish there as his own. He “simply cannot recoup,” Alton noted to Jet, who surely tasted the struggle in Chef Oz’s dish, as the judge sent him home after a failed chicken-finger offering.
Seven weeks of cooking, selling, marketing and plain physical exhaustion has culminated in the finale of The Great Food Truck Race, Season 5. Lone Star Chuck Wagon and Middle Feast, the remaining two teams to last through Tyler’s numerous Speed Bumps and Truck Stop challenges, found themselves starting in Tampa and ending in Key West. This five-city finale running over 450 miles in Florida wouldn’t be a breeze. Tyler once again tested their marketing abilities, their food quality and their hustle to sell. But only one team walked away with the keys to their truck and $50,000 to turn their dream into a reality.
There’s been steady, nail-biting buildup leading to the finale of The Great Food Truck Race, and it gets only more intense as the competition comes to a satisfyingly thrilling end. In the last episode of the season, the contestants’ trials have culminated to an exhilarating Floridian marathon spanning Tampa, Naples, the Everglades and Key West. As if the racing between cities isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush, the contestants also have to travel by airboat for fresh alligator — yikes! Another highlight in this weekend’s fun-packed programming is Saturday’s installment of The Kitchen. The chefs dial up their autumn spirit in an Oktoberfest-themed episode, where the chefs add their own flavorful flair to traditional fare.
If you’re looking for something a bit more low key, tune in to The Pioneer Woman, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, Giada at Home and Farmhouse Rules to watch the ladies serve up dishes like Kale Citrus Salad, Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches, Crispy Fig and Gorgonzola Ravioli, and Lemon-Lime Pound Cake. Other must-watch shows this weekend are Cutthroat Kitchen, Guy’s Grocery Games and Food Truck Face Off, where contestants are forced to test their patience and their resilience.
The Pioneer Woman: Sister Time
Ree Drummond has invited her sister, Betsy, over to indulge in tasty, refreshing dishes such as a Frittata, Kale Citrus Salad, Mystery Rolls and Lemon-Lime Pound Cake.
As four industry rookies take their places in the premiere series of Food Truck Face Off, host Jesse Palmer will be on hand to oversee the contest as an esteemed panel of judges decides the fate of the hopeful teams. Before you tune in on Sunday at 11|10c for a sneak-peek episode and watch what goes down on the road in Miami, hear from Jesse to learn what to expect from the season. Read on below for an exclusive interview and find out what he would pursue as a food truck concept.
What can fans expect from Food Truck Face Off?
Jesse Palmer: Amazing food, incredibly talented competitors, a ton of human emotion and a hungry host
“I’ve walked right in the middle of a sibling rivalry like no other,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mamma Lucrezia’s in Bellefonte, Pa. While this 10-year-old Italian eatery offered some of Robert’s most-favorite pizza, its decor was dated, and, perhaps more problematically, owner Maria Albegiani and her sister, server Stefania Albegiani, were at odds with each other after years of tensions building in their relationship. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team had to not only overhaul the interior at Mamma Lucrezia’s but also attempt to mend a strained family. Read on below to hear from Maria and see how her restaurant is faring since the renovation.
“We have more than doubled in revenue,” Maria explains of business at Mamma Lucrezia’s. She adds that in terms of diner reaction, “The customers love the food and the new design.”
Chestnuts may typically give off a distinct holiday-season vibe, but the Food Network Kitchen chefs are changing that, looking to welcome in fall with an innovative twist. This week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, Chestnut Ravioli with Browned Butter and Thyme, replaces a beloved fall favorite, butternut squash, with a winter-esque basket ingredient, canned chestnuts. To evoke an uncanny butternut squash texture out of those chestnuts, first drain them, reserving the liquid from the can, and finely grind them. Next, add ricotta, Parmesan, the reserved liquid and an egg, and then blend for an enticing ravioli filling.
Start by heating the drained chestnuts in the microwave with water for about 3 minutes or until they’re soft. Once that’s done, add a tablespoon of the reserved liquid and finely grind the chestnuts. Then, add the Parmesan, the ricotta, and a large pinch of salt and pepper, and blend it all together. Once smooth, taste and season as needed. After, add an egg and mix until the ingredients have meshed. Put it in a mixing bowl and reserve.
Tonight one professional chef and three amateur cooks faced off in the finale of the first Chopped Ultimate Champions tournament, battling for the chance to win $50,000 and a brand-new car, the largest prize in the show’s history. Amateur cook Keith Young, hero cook Diana Sabater and celebrity cook Laila Ali all had what it takes to beat professional chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, and, in fact, one of them did just that. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner.
This week on The Great Food Truck Race, the route took the teams to Alabama. On their first day Tyler had the teams getting their hands dirty — picking frozen shrimp in a challenge to see who could get close to 100 pounds. One team left with their spoils but soon found the challenge of peeling and cleaning the Gulf Coast delicacy holding them back. Later in the day Tyler challenged the two teams who had cooked the best brunch dish on Day Two to a seafood cook-off. In a surprise turn of events, the team that won was actually sent home.
Some were more successful than others at selling seafood dishes, but when in the South, where the fruits of the sea are the freshest, there’s no excuse not to partake of the bounty. And the state of Alabama has a lot to offer when it comes to seafood delicacies, including shrimp po’ boys and shrimp ‘n’ grits. For the meat lovers, there’s barbecue ribs, burgers and good ol’ Southern cooking.
For the first time ever, 16 of your favorite all-star chefs are coming together in the name of eviliciousness to face off in the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament, premiering Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 9|8c. During the course of five weeks, kitchen masters like Alex Guarnaschelli, Justin Warner, Anne Burrell and Nadia G will battle in four heats plus a finale, but ultimately only one contestant can earn Cutthroat glory and a $75,000 prize for charity. Before this unprecedented series of cook-offs begins, FN Dish wanted to learn a little bit more about what host Alton Brown has in store for these A-list rivals. Will he be soft on the sabotages on account of the contestants’ vast culinary experience? It turns out, Alton says, “It’s not difficult for me at all” to be hard on the chefs. Read on below to hear more from Alton in an exclusive interview.
Do you think these chefs have any idea what they’ve signed up for? After all, Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t like any other culinary competition.
Alton Brown: I think that everybody that is in the competition has watched the show — or maybe two — but that still doesn’t really prepare you because this is one of those shows where being a spectator just doesn’t set you up for the realities of what to expect, especially during the shopping.