I am not one to ever comment about reality TV, and other than CBS's the Amazing Race and Top Chef on Bravo, I do not really watch much of it at all, but I did get into the Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network with host Tyler Florence this season. The main reason I got interested is because a local food truck here in Utah called Waffle Love was on it. I had never eaten their food before watching this show, (I have since and I must say that they make the best waffle I have ever tasted) so other than the fact they were local to me I did not care all that much.
I think to everyone's surprise outside of Utah Waffle Love just killed it each week. They were either #1 or #2 on every episode and never were at the bottom and in fear of being eliminated. Regardless, Tyler Florence clearly started to show his bias against Waffle Love. He at least three times criticized their cooking chops but had earlier praised their challenge food. But the finale, in my opinion, was the most egrigeous example of favoritism I have ever seen. First some more background.
The GFTR usually gives aspiring food trucks a chance to realize their culinary dream by giving the winning team a new food truck at the end of the season. Season 6, however gave established food trucks the opportunity to go after $50K and the right to be called the greatest food truck in America. Each week basically went the same way. The trucks were given a challenge to cook something. The winning truck for the challenge would then be given some type of advantage, usually in the form of cash added to their till. (I remember one week a team getting an extra $1000).
To make a long story short, it came down to Waffle Love and Phonomenal Dumplings. Each week teams were eliminated because they had the lowest amount sold for the week. But in the finale it was not about how much sold but rather an Amazing Race type of finish where they had to do basically three challenges in Chicago, after completing the cooking challenge in St. Louis. This is where the fix, to me became obvious.
The challenge was fair. The two teams were given the same ingredients (Pork Steak, Chicken, and Hamburger) and had to create three dishes that would be judged independently. During the cooking Tyler Florence visited each truck and asked them what they were doing. When PHO explained they were making a mushroom stuffed hamburger, Tyler gave them a suggestion to stuff it with more than just mushrooms and to add cheese as well (might have said other ingredients too). When he spoke to Waffle Love he gave no help to them.
During the tasting the pork steak went to Pho and the chicken went to Waffle Love so it came down to the hamburger. And of course Pho won this part and were given the advantage (which I will explain in a second). But it must be noted that the judges said that the stuffing in the hamburger was delicious and can then be assumed that it was the stuffing that won them the challenge. So in other words it was basically Tyler Florence's dish that won the challenge.
Now the advantage was not cash in their till. No, this race came down to who could sell ethnic inspired dishes in the different ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago. The two teams had to go to Chinatown, Little Italy and Little Greece(?) and sell 50 dishes of ethnically inspired food at each stop. Once the finished selling their food at their three stops, they just had get in their truck and race to a finish line. Pho, for winning, the challenge only had to sell 20 dishes at their first stop. This is like holding 200 meter dash, but giving one of the competitors a 50 meter lead.
Needless to say Pho won.
I went through Wikipedia's entries and found that it looks like this was the only season finale that did not come down to who sold the most. I have no proof, but I think they changed the rules of the game to give Pho an unfair advantage. It was the only way to even make it close. Consider that Waffle Love was first or second in sales in every other week.
Now I was rooting for Waffle Love but did not care all that much and wanted to see a good finale. This was a joke. Tyler Florence helped and was rooting for Pho the whole time. He made it clear when he told Pho that they were not in the right neighborhood in Greek town and had to go back and resell their food. He told them, "Come on. You can do this." Even with the fact that they had to go back and resell, their advantage was so great that there was basically no way they would lose.
What a waste of my time. I will not be watching this noise ever again. #epicfail #greatfoodtruckrace
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