Last night's Great Food Truck Race finale was as satisfying as these kind of shows can get, as the last two trucks, Hodge Podge and The Lime Truck, rolled into Miami for their last elimination challenge. There would be no Truck Stop, host Tyler Florence announced, at least not until later. They would immediately get started on the final task: to earn $15,000 in this city. The first to get to the goal would be awarded the $100K grand prize and go home with bragging rights.
But there would be Speed Bumps along the way, Florence said. Yes, Speed Bumps. As in plural. Chris of Hodge Podge expressed his concern this way, "Multiple speed bumps? We're worn out. Just let us cook!"
Absent this episode was much of the drama that was the hallmark of earlier episodes. There was no customer stealing, no fights for parking, no inter and intra-truck conflict. It was just a break-neck race to the finish. Hodge Podge got their supplies from an old mentor and employer who owned a steakhouse, and started selling at a food truck round up. Lime Truck got their raw materials from restaurant warehouse store and teamed up with a local truck called Dim Ssam. Both were doing great business. Jason Quinn of The Lime Truck revealed that half their customers just came to support them via social networks. "It's just the most warming, welcoming thing," he gushed.
Just when they thought they were on a roll, Tyler (who always seems to be eating something or preparing to eat something when he calls) issues the first Speed Bump: their trucks are getting towed. They would have to try to earn $200 for the impound fee by cooking with their wits and any equipment they can get out of the truck.
The Lime Truck resorts to preparing their curried mussels on the sidewalk, offering to do cooking demos for pedestrians. They get few bites. Quinn is seen practically begging. "Can you be sympathetic to our predicament?" he pleads to one man.
Chris from Hodge Podge is preparing and selling high-priced sashimi from the roof of their VW pace car and earns the $200 impound fee first.
Soon, both trucks restart their race to the $15K goal again, prepared to go at it through the night until Florence calls to tell them to stop and get some rest. Tomorrow, they'd do their Truck Stop. It was a fishing trip and a fish cook-off. The Lime Truck boys end up catching three fish on the boat. Hodge Podge caught one, a king mackerel, but that was enough.
The Lime Truck won Truck Stop with their dish, which the judge said highlighted the freshness of the fish they caught even though the dish was "dated". Hodge's perfectly cooked mackerel steak lost narrowly because of a few too many ingredients. The advantage The Lime Truck gets is $1,500 in cash, which is a significant amount. Before the Truck Stop, the teams were separated by a mere $176.
Thick into another round of selling, Florence calls back as he's eating an ice cream cone. He decrees that for the first two hours the next morning, they can only sell dessert. Catie of Hodge Podge calls it a blessing: while her brother is the cook, she's the pastry chef of the family. The Lime Truck decides to do sweet items and sell it for breakfast. Before long, they both get to the $15,000 total and race off to the beach.
On the way to the finish line, Hodge Podge's Jacquelyn says, "I have so many emotions going on right now. I feel like I'm going to puke. I feel like I want to scream. I want to cry and I want to sleep, all at the same time."
At the beach, Tyler is waiting with a briefcase. The first to arrive are The Lime Truck guys. Daniel Shemtob tries to give Tyler a high five but is denied. Shemtob is seen sheepishly folding his hands underneath his arms. Tyler is a rock, an emotionless statue.
Did Hodge Podge get there earlier? Is there still money in the briefcase?
The briefcase is opened to reveal the cash: Yes! The Lime Truck wins!
"This hundred thousand dollars is huge. It gives me enough money to open my own restaurants!", Jason Quinn says enthusiastically. Knowing that the chef is set to open Playground in Santa Ana, this revelation seems to be the last puzzle piece we've been missing.
Chris Hodgson and crew is seen ambling up the road five minutes after. They're disappointed, but not bitter. "Me and my sister got close. Me and my girlfriend grew closer. It's the greatest win of my life."
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