The Great Food Truck Race

Translate that 1963 classic, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World into a six-part competition involving gourmet food trucks, and you get The Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.

The new show premiers on Sunday, August 15, 2010, at 10:00 PM ET/PT. It then takes a regular timeslot on Sundays at 9:00 PM ET/PT on August 22.

Seven trucks with three competitors aboard end up in a different city each week and compete to see who can earn the most money in 3 days. Each week one of the teams goes home. The final prize awarded to the last truck is $50,000.

Tyler Florence is the host; the guy who hands out the cash to start the race, and sends the trucks to San Diego for the first three-day competition.

Super Chef got a sneak peak at the first episode.

So, what’s the word?

The show follows the tried and true formula of all reality shows – establish characters quickly, beef up the tension among the personalities, even if there isn’t much, and wait until someone starts to cry. Like most food competitions, this one isn’t about the food. The camera snatches moments of cooking – ban mih sandwiches, banana pudding, pressed sandwiches, burgers, crepes, Cajun food, and French dishes – but there’s not much emphasis on the recipes or on the ingredients. Tyler refers to the contestants as chefs, but it isn’t clear that many of them really are more then fast order cooks.

The emphasis is on business. How do you find a place to park a huge truck, secure supplies, attract customers, and make money? The ban mih makers, the Nom Nom Truck from Los Angeles would seem to have the advantage. All three participants are UCLA business school grads.

There is plenty of repetition – the Rajin’ Cajun guy seems to be screaming himself hoarse during the whole program, and the three hapless Nana Queen participants seem to repeat themselves plenty, but that is standard reality show fare. Watch this one for the main idea – that food trucks can deliver really great gourmet food without the added cost of real estate.

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