We take great pride in repping our county and when there is someone in OC pulling off something big, we have to make sure you all know about it! Food trucks are becoming a staple on the streets and GD Bro Truck is one of the best, hence why the team behind the truck (and OC natives) Kevin Nguyen, Mark Cruz, and Geoffrey Manila have been selected to compete on Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race. See? We told you it was big! Before we begin to cheer on our hometown boys August 23rd, we got Kevin on the horn to get a little backstory on the biz and to also get some inside info on no doubt one of the biggest events in their lives.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): You know that since you're from OC and about to be big TV stars, we're claiming you guys now. You're officially ours.
Kevin Nguyen: [Laughs.] Thank you so much! It was an honor just to represent my hometown and it was actually the greatest experience I've ever had. I had the time of my life. It was awesome!
I was reading that your parents and Mark's parents weren't that stoked when you guys decided to start a food truck. Is it safe to assume they're cool with it now?
Yeah definitely! I actually dropped out of college my first semester for some dumb reason. I guess I was just being young and wild. I was really lost for some reason so I started the college program at Disneyland where I met Mark. He was the first person I met and we really connected. He moved away to go to school in Colorado and when he moved back, he was like, with the experience that you've gained moving up the ladder, you have the skill set to manage people. That's where our relationship really started to build and grow. We both cook but he's a little more creative than I am so we just started hanging out and cooking for friends at BBQ's, camping, and stuff like that. Then two years went by and he was like, let's take a leap of faith and just go for it. I was all in.
Well it totally worked out obviously! Without giving too much away from the show, what did you find to be the most challenging on The Great Food Truck Race?
I would have to say the long hours, although that's nothing new. The random things being thrown at you is crazy. You don't know what's going to happen. Like five minutes before you go, they'll tell you what the challenge is so you're constantly on your toes. We're really good at adapting to any situation, which is awesome but still, I'd say that was the most difficult part.
Did the push help to further fuel your fire for your craft?
Oh definitely! Mark and I both play sports so we like to deliver during crunch time! This gave us more chances to step up and be able to assess the situations. I live for those moments.
Do you have personal favorite burger on your truck?
Yeah it's one of our biggest sellers too. It's our "Juan N Only" burger which is our Latin inspired burger. It has jalapeno cream cheese, chipotle mayo, freshly chopped pico de gallo, and avocado slices. All of the flavors just blend really well. We have really fun names of the burgers and people really seem to love that. I feel like they portray us and our personality. We like to have fun and are really passionate about what we do so I think when people are taking a bite of one of our burgers, it really comes through. We're honestly having the time of our lives.
I love that! Also, I might be drooling right now. What's the strangest or most extravagant burger you've created?
Well what would you define as strange?
I mean, gold leaf on a burger seems pretty lame yet extravagant. Or caviar.
Oh yeah, we've actually almost experimented with gold dust powder but that never happened. Gold flakes or something.
But can you even taste gold flakes? That's so weird.
No! [Laughs.] You know, it's all part of the gimmick. We kind of pride ourselves on our flavor profiles so I don't really like to use that kind of marketing. I guess it depends on what you're doing but we like to let our food speak for itself.
I'm sure there have been some burgers made that haven't worked and I want to hear about it.
[Laughs.] Yeah so, there was this one time Mark created this Greek burger and he tried to use yogurt. It really didn't turn out that well. I was like, there is no way I am selling this! We decided to let the numbers speak and we ended up selling only ten in a few days. I was like, yep! My point has been proven! [Laughs.] It was a Greek yogurt burger.
Well, we're pretty proud of your guys and can't wait for the show to start to root you on.
Thanks so much! The experience was incredible. We really enjoyed it from start to finish. I mean, I got to travel the road with my best friend and explore the sites. When you look out that window and there are hundreds of people waiting to eat your food, you get this adrenaline rush. There is no better feeling than putting a smile on someone's face because they ate something that you made. It's all just so surreal.
Be sure to tune-in to see GD Bro Truck on The Great Food Truck Race premiering Sunday August 23rd at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network. For more info on the show, go to www.FoodNetwork.com. For more on the guys from GD Bro Truck, check out their website www.GDBroTruck.com, become a fan on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram.