Exclusive Interview with the Runner-Up of The Great Food Truck Race
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
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.
In the end Lone Star Chuck Wagon didn’t pick up the momentum needed to bring home the win for Texas. Although they succeeded in many of the challenges with which Tyler had roadblocked the teams, they failed to make enough sales and ran out of product. And those are two strikes no food truck team wants to have leading up to the finale. Although it wasn’t in the cards for Lance, his wife, Rachel, and their friend Andrea to win it in Florida, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line. The future still holds many possibilities for this trio of former restaurant servers with an entrepreneurial spirit.
What did your team think of partnering up with Middle Feast in Naples? Do you think you could have earned more sales on your own?
Lone Star Chuck Wagon: Initially we thought it would be great to partner with Middle Feast to earn our seed money. But when we saw the ingredients, we knew we would have an advantage. We probably could have made more on our own, but we were happy that we started on an even playing field.
What did it feel like when Middle Feast won the cooking challenge in the Everglades? Going into it you guys seemed really confident about the dish.
LSCW: Congrats to Middle Feast for beating us in the cooking challenge. We were incredibly proud of the dish we prepared. We thought outside of the box and really adapted two difficult proteins into one dish. We tried to transform the ingredients into a winning dish, but we were edged out. We wish we could have tasted Middle Feast’s winning dish, to see what we were missing.
Rachel and Andrea got in a tiff over the burger buns selling out, and Andrea wanted to sell a burger wrap. Lance, do you think that continuing to sell the item as a burger wrap was a good decision? Or might Rachel’s idea have worked better?
LSCW: At the end of the day, we got really good feedback on the burger wrap. We used what we had on hand and adapted in a stressful situation. Maybe one day you will see that dish on one of our menus!
Was the $184.50 in seed money a disadvantage from the beginning?
LSCW: The lack of seed money was a huge disadvantage. Then when Middle Feast doubled their seed money, we were even deeper into the hole. Every second, and every sale, counted in the finale, and running out of ingredients definitely contributed to our downfall.
At one point, Lance, you said “it’s a relief most of all” for the race to be over. What were all of you feeling once Tyler called the end of the race?
LSCW: When Tyler ended the race, we all had a sigh of relief. This was the hardest weekend by far, on an already difficult seven-week journey. We learned a lot about ourselves and stretched our limits further than we knew possible. We were thrilled to have made it to the end and went out with a fight. There were no regrets, and we are proud of our showing.
At elimination Tyler encouraged you to go out and get your products ready for what could possibly happen next. What is next for your BBQ sauce and rub company?
LSCW: Big things are in store for Kramer’s BBQ! Our award-winning sauce and rubs can be purchased online, and they will be hitting store shelves soon. We will continue to release fantastic products that will help everyone, from gourmet chefs to the backyard griller.
Will you guys try the food truck business again? What are your future plans?
LSCW: This is only the beginning for us! Whether it will be a food truck, a restaurant or even another TV show, you haven’t seen the last of Lone Star Chuck Wagon or Kramer’s! Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement through this whole process. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter will be.
More from this Episode:
Finale Highlights (Photos)
Into the Recording Studio (Video)
FN Dish Is Looking for the Best Fall-Inspired Pinterest Boards
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
It seemed that Pinterest boards shifted focus from barbecue and grilling to the favorites of fall — apples, pumpkins, Halloween parties and all-around comforting dishes — the day after Labor Day.
Motivated by these autumn-themed boards, Food Network is inviting fans to create their ultimate fall-inspired Pinterest board using recipes and tips from FoodNetwork.com. After you’ve created your board, submit the URL in the comment section below.
FoodNetwork.com editors will choose their favorites, which will be featured on FN Dish throughout the month of October.
The links below might just give you some ideas to get started with:
Latte-Inspired Pumpkin Spice Recipes
Quick Fall Sides
Fall Harvest Foods
Fall Recipes for a Crowd
Three-Cheese and Artichoke Calzones — Meatless Monday
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The benefit of Italian-inspired dishes is that oftentimes meat never even factors into them. Giada De Laurentiis’ Three-Cheese and Artichoke Calzones is one of those particular meals — satisfying and appetizing all on its own. Another draw to this cheesy dish? Food Network lists it as one of its Top Tailgating Recipes, a fancy and flavorful pick to accompany you in your Monday Night Football fun.
There’s a cheese for everyone’s varying palate in this recipe, and the artichoke hearts only enhance the pungent flavor. To make Giada’s dish, first, take the three cheeses (ricotta, Pecorino Romano and fontina), the artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, pepper and lemon zest and combine in a food processor. For the outer shell, cut up the dough and roll it out into separate circles, and brush the dough circles with egg white. Then, put the cheese-and-artichoke mixture on one side of each circle so you can fold the dough over. Pinch the dough closed with your fingers and put the calzones on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and add a bit of salt and pepper. Bake till the calzones are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Once done, serve with warmed tomato-basil sauce.
Get the recipe: Three Cheese and Artichoke Calzones
Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.
A Cookbook Devoted to Chia Seeds? Yes, Indeed.
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Sure, it immediately calls to mind those sprouting terracotta planters first popularized in catchy 80s commercials, but chia certainly shouldn’t be relegated to kitschy “pet” status. A staple of Aztec and Mayan diets, the ancient chia seed — it comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in North, Central and South America — is a nutritional dynamo, packed with Omega-3s, calcium, iron, fiber and antioxidants.
Luckily, cooking with it is also a breeze, as Janie Hoffman, founder and CEO of the organic food and beverage company, Mamma Chia, reveals in her new book, The Chia Cookbook: Inventive, Delicious Recipes Featuring Nature’s Superfood (Random House). “The power in this little, bitty chia seed is amazing,” says the San Diego-based entrepreneur and author, who likes weaving it into creations as diverse as Serrano-pineapple-papaya smoothies and grilled chicken meatballs paired with linguine al limone. “It can be easily used in absolutely anything.”
How did you first get turned onto chia?
I was using flaxseed, but I hated grinding it. My friend said I should consider chia seeds instead because they had more fiber and were loaded with antioxidants. I don’t believe in a magic bullet, but having said that, there’s no doubt that once chia entered my life the results were remarkable.
I had struggled with autoimmune disorders for over 20 years and had reached a point of acceptance. Still, even in that state I was searching for something that could help me become more vital and live in the everyday. I was skeptical of chia and never anticipated it being a miracle ingredient, but when I first incorporated it into my meals I noticed an increase in my energy and strength. After three months I didn’t even have a rash anymore.
And this awakening propelled you to launch Mamma Chia?
Once I experienced this I knew I wanted to somehow share it with the rest of the world. But it wasn’t until a couple of years later that everyone around me told me I was so passionate about chia. It had changed my life, and so I decided to create the very first organic chia-based food and beverage company. Eating organically had been a huge part of my healing, so it was important to me to use USDA-certified organic ingredients and work with sustainable-minded growers.
You’re busy introducing health-conscious shoppers to your products, like black and white chia seeds, Chia Squeeze (fruit and vegetable-infused snack pouches) and Vitality Beverages (chia seed fruit juices), yet you found the time to write The Chia Cookbook. What was your mission?
My first book, Chia Vitality, was more emotional, about how chia changed my body, mind and soul. This cookbook is a reflection of how chia has now gone mainstream through simple and sophisticated recipes for all times of the day. They are highlights of the most engaging, fun and delicious things I’ve been cooking. Chia goes into everything I make in the kitchen, and I’m grateful my husband’s used to it.
What are some of your favorite recipes from the book?
There’s a sticky brown rice with an egg and a creamy coconut ginger-carrot soup that’s just fabulous. We have an avocado farm, so you’ll notice the book features a lot of avocado — another great source of nutrition — like plantain chips with avocado-chia dip.
It’s particularly nice to see breakfast, a meal that tends to be skipped because of rushed mornings, gets attention.
Mornings are great. I usually make a frittata or fajita-style wrap, but it’s also easy to make our chia-banana nut muffins or roasted turkey, thyme and chia breakfast sausage patties. People love our chia-peach jam, too.
Sticky Brown Rice with Egg
This dish was inspired by tamago kake gohan, a popular Japanese breakfast food. It’s best made with leftover rice (freshly made rice tends to become too mushy). If you don’t have any on hand, make the rice the night before.
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 green onion, sliced on diagonal, green and white parts separated
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon black or white chia seeds
2 cups cooked, chilled short-grain brown rice
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
In a small saucepan, stir together the broth, white parts of green onion, and 2 tablespoons of the chia seeds and let stand for about 20 minutes. (Makes about 2/3 cup green onion– chia gel.)
Bring the green onion–chia gel to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and stir for about 30 seconds. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is steaming hot and has a sticky consistency, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a nonstick (PFOA-free) skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until desired doneness, such as sunny-side-up, about 4 minutes.
Divide the sticky rice mixture onto plates or into bowls and top each with an egg. Sprinkle with the tamari, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds, and the green parts of green onions. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photos reprinted with permission from The Chia Cookbook, by Janie Hoffman, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Eric Wolfinger
Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.
It’s National Coffee Day: What’s Your Java IQ?
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
If coffee is a morning must for you, you’ll be happy to know it’s National Coffee Day. How should you celebrate? Pour yourself a second cup without any guilt, or indulge in a fancy coffee drink — homemade pumpkin spice latte, anyone? If you’re only into the java flavor, not the beverage, bake something delicious that features coffee as an ingredient. This mocha quick bread calls for instant espresso powder in both the batter and the glaze. Or perhaps your coffeemaker has seen better days. Find out which machines Food Network stars love and cross one off your wish list. Finally, take the coffee quiz from the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine. It’s a fun way to start the day while sipping your morning joe. Plus, you just might learn a thing or two about how to make better coffee.
What's Your Coffee IQ?
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0 to 8 Points: No Beans!
Ease in by trying coffee in a baked good. Check out our coffee-glazed quick bread (No. 17) from our 50 Quick Bread Recipes.
8 to 16 Points: Nice Shot!
You know a lot about coffee; now's let's improve your barista skills: Try making a pumpkin-spice latte.
16 to 24 Points: Java Well Done!
You deserve a top-of-the-line coffeemaker. Find out which machines the stars love best here.
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Question 1Where should you store your coffee beans if you make coffee daily?AIn the refrigeraterBIn the freezerCOn the counterQuestion 1 Explanation: C. Beans can be kept in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you don't make coffee regularly, freeze whole beans in an airtight bag for up to three months.Question 2Which of these is not a type of coffee bean?AArabicaBLibericaCRobustaDEspressoQuestion 3What type of coffee-bean grind do automatic drip machines require?AFineBMediumCCoarseQuestion 4To make cold-brew coffee, you should steep ground coffee in room-temperature water for __________ ?A2 to 3 minutesBAbout 8 hoursC12 to 24 hoursDUp to a weekQuestion 4 Explanation: Cold-brewing requires steeping medium or coarse grounds in room-temperature water for 12 to 24 hours.Question 5What's the ideal water temperature for brewing coffee in a French press?A180 degrees F to 194 degrees B195 degrees F to 205 degrees FC206 degrees F to 220 degrees FDOver 220 degrees FQuestion 5 Explanation: B. Water that's too cold will result in weak coffee; water that's too hot will make bitter coffee. Let the water come to a full boil. Remove from the heat and wait 1 minute before pouring it over ground coffee.Question 6Which U.S. state is the only one that grows coffee?AHawaiiBCaliforniaCWashingtonDLouisianaQuestion 6 Explanation: A. Hawaii is known for Kona coffee, which is grown in the rich volcanic soil on the slopes of the active Mauna Loa volcano.Question 7Which of these coffee chains came first?AStarbucksBCaribou CoffeeCDunkin' DonutsDPeet's Coffee & TeaQuestion 7 Explanation: C. Dunkin' Donuts was founded in 1950. Next came Peet's Coffee & Tea (1966), Starbucks (1971) and Caribou Coffee (1992).Question 8Which city has the most coffee shops?ASeattleBNew York CityCLos AngelesDChicagoQuestion 8 Explanation: C. According to the most recent numbers, Los Angeles had 3,510 coffee shops, and the next-ranking city, New York City, had 1,738.Question 9What does the coffeehouse term “skinny” mean?AHalf regular and half decafBMade with frothed milk onlyCMade with nonfat milkDOne shot of espressoQuestion 10Professional coffee tasting is known as:ACuppingBJoeingCSamplingDPressingQuestion 11Generally, you should use __________ ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water:A1 tablespoonB2 tablespoonsCEqual parts (6 ounces)Question 12Name this drink: Espresso + milk foam = __________ACaffe latteBEspresso macchiatoCCafé au laitDCortadoQuestion 13Name this drink: Double espresso + milk foam = __________ACaffe latteBCaffe AmericanoCCafé au laitDCortadoQuestion 14Unroasted coffee beans are called:AGreen beansBYellow beansCGray beansDRed beansQuestion 15The thin caramel-colored layer of foam at the top of an espresso is called:ABlancaBCremaCFoamaDRusaQuestion 16All of these factors can make coffee taste bitter except:AThe ground coffee is too fine or coarse for the coffeemaker.BThe ground coffee has too much contact with the water.CYour mug is too cold.DThe water is too hot.EYour coffeemaker is dirty.Question 17True or false: The water you pour into an automatic drip coffeemaker should be hot.ATrueBFalseQuestion 17 Explanation: False. Starting with hot water can yield bitter coffee. Question 18True or false: Breakfast roast coffees are lighter than French roast coffees.ATrueBFalseQuestion 19True or false: You can reuse coffee grounds if you're making another pot right away.ATrueBFalseQuestion 19 Explanation: False. Once brewed, the best coffee flavors have been extracted and only the undesirable bitter ones are left.Question 20True or false: Dark roast coffee has more caffeine than light roast.ATrueBFalseQuestion 20 Explanation: False. The longer beans roast, the less caffeine they have.Question 21True or false: A shot of espresso has the same amount of caffeine as eight ounces of brewed coffee.ATrueBFalseQuestion 21 Explanation: False. An espresso shot has less caffeine than a cup of coffee.Question 22True or false: Instant coffee is made with real coffee.ATrueBFalseQuestion 22 Explanation: True. Instant coffee powder is made by heat-drying freshly brewed coffee.Question 23True or false: The best way to make iced coffee is to make a pot of coffee and then refrigerate it.ATrueBFalseQuestion 23 Explanation: False. That method is fine and used by many coffeehouses, but most coffee aficionados prefer mixing cold-brew concentrate with milk or water.Question 24True or false: Decaffeinated coffee beans grow naturally.ATrueBFalseQuestion 24 Explanation: True. Most decaf beans are mechanically stripped of caffeine, but there is a coffee plant in Madagascar that grows decaffeinated beans.
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