The Great Food Truck Race, Season 8: Top Moments

Relive the journey the teams took during Season 8 of The Great Food Truck Race: Battle for the South.

Photo By: Claudio Beier

Photo By: Claudio Beier

Photo By: Claudio Beier

Photo By: Claudio Beier

Photo By: Skip Bolen

Photo By: Matt Marriott

Photo By: Matt Marriott

Photo By: Matt Marriott

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Skip Bolen

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Jessica McGowan

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Jessica McGowan

Photo By: Jessica McGowan

Photo By: Jessica McGowan

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Jessica McGowan

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Jessica McGowan

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Raneri, Joel

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Race to the Finish

The battle for the south started in New Orleans with eight new teams of food truck novices cooking up everything from empanadas and updated Southern classics to food on a stick.

Deep-Fried New Orleans

Challenge number one: beignets. The teams were tasked with putting their own spin on the New Orleans classic. Their beignets could be sweet or savory, as long as they were decadent.

Country Queen

"I'm just a crazy old country girl that knows how to cook," says Shona of Stick 'Em Up. That country girl cooking ended up winning first place by selling $131 worth of bananas Foster beignets.

Don't Bust the Budget

The teams go shopping with a budget of $300 on top of their profits selling beignets. They'll sell on the streets of New Orleans for two days, so getting enough ingredients to stay open without busting the budget could be a challenge.

Family Feud

Working with family can be a struggle, and that's exactly how the shopping trip started out for Papi Chulo's Empanadas. After a tense disagreement over what serving supplies they needed, Chef Luis and his niece Sarah made peace, just in time to check out and get cooking.

Location Is Everything

What's more important than a food truck's menu? Their location. It doesn't matter how good your food is if nobody is around to taste it. The Southern Frenchie found that out after their spot outside of a hospital failed to attract much business. Luckily for them, an unexpected fire drill got the crowds outside and business started booming.

Hurricane Season

Tyler threw the trucks a curveball by requiring them to make an additional dish inspired by the flavors of New Orleans' most popular cocktail, the Hurricane. World-renowned New Orleans chef Susan Spicer tasted each of the dishes, choosing Mr. Po' Boys Passion Fruit Glazed Chicken Po' Boy as the winner.

Eggs in the Big Easy

After two days of cooking and selling all over New Orleans, The Breakfast Club came out on top with $420 in sales. With sales of just $192, it was the end of the road for Wicked Good Seafood.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The second leg of The Great Food Truck Race started at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL. The trucks were broken up into teams of two, combining their unique cuisine styles to feed 50 Navy officers. After tasting each of the dishes, the officers would vote on their favorite dish, and the winning team would get $200 added to their tills for the next challenge.

Taco Sans Tortilla

Braised in the South and The Southern Frenchie (Team White) served up fried chicken and grits, Stick 'Em Up and The Breakfast Club (Team Red) made a berry french toast, and Mr. Po' Boys and Papi Chulo's (Team Blue) made chipotle chicken tacos – until they ran out of tortillas and started serving chicken salad.

Southern Fried Success

After all the cooking, tasting and voting, Braised in the South and The Southern Frenchie came out on top with 29 out of 50 votes, adding $200 to each of their tills.

Servin' Up Snapper

In addition to their own dishes, the trucks were required to make a dish using red snapper, and the team that sold the most red snapper dishes would win immunity in Pensacola.

Papi Chulo's Tacos

Their truck said empanadas, but their menu said tacos. Papi Chulo's couldn't find any empanada dough when they went grocery shopping, so they were forced to rework their menu, and started serving tacos instead.

Tacos for Tots

This little guy got some shrimp tacos from Braised in the South.

Jet-Set Recipe

For the red snapper challenge, Stick 'Em Up was going to make an old family recipe – red snapper cakes. That is, until the recipe flew right out the window. It was up to Shona and her memory to get those cakes cooking.

Saved By Snapper

Despite the fact that their recipe grew wings, Stick 'Em Up was able to take home the win for the snapper challenge, selling $540 worth of red snapper cakes.

Adios, Papi Chulo

Unfortunately, their tacos didn't bring the crowds, and Pensacola was the end of the race for Papi Chulo's Empanadas.

Going Nuts

The third leg of the race brought the trucks to Tuscaloosa, AL. The first challenge wasn't about cooking or selling; it was all about shelling. The trucks had 15 minutes to shell as many pecans as they could, and in addition to their own dishes, the trucks would also have to add a pecan dessert to their menu this week.

Sweet Success

Braised in the South hammered their way to a win, and in addition to getting $200 added to their till, they got to pick the brain of pastry chef Jan Potter for advice on the perfect pecan dessert.

Grocery Gamble

If the trucks have learned anything in this race, it's that location is everything. After finishing their shopping, Stick 'Em Up decided to stay put and sell in the grocery store parking lot. "I think the grocery store is a great place to sell food," Shona said. "People are going in and out, and if we get the aroma of our cooking going, it could make them hungry, and maybe they want a snack."

Breakfast Club Gets Busted

The Breakfast Club found a great spot to sell downtown, but they couldn't agree on where to park. They managed to find a spot, but the back half of the truck was sticking out into the street. "There's no way for the food truck to fit," Ashanti said. "Yet, Mikey is so sure that it'll be fine." They got started on their pecan doughnuts, but it didn’t take long before a police officer asked them to move.

Braised for the Kids

Braised in the South opened to a massive crowd, so much so that they started running out of food fast. Luckily, this little girl got her tacos before they sold out for the day.

Quacking Up

The smell of their food wasn’t doing enough to get the grocery store customers over to Stick 'Em Up's food truck, so Shona pleaded with her son Justin to jump into a duck costume to attract customers. It was just the push they needed to sell out for the day.

Pecan Predicament

Last week, Shona's red snapper recipe flew out the window. This week, all of Stick 'Em Up's pecans flew to the floor as she was driving.

Dollar Dessert

On the second day of selling in Tuscaloosa, the crowds weren't showing up like they did the day before, but Tyler had an idea to drum up some business. For the next hour, all the trucks would be selling their pecan dessert for a special happy hour price of $1.

Every Dollar Counts

Mikey wasn't going to let the happy hour challenge ruin The Breakfast Club's bottom line. "During the happy hour special, I'm hoping to not market the doughnuts as much," he said. "I want to save them for when we can sell them at full price."

Restock

The happy hour challenge brought the crowds out, but now the trucks were running out of food. Stick 'Em Up sold out so early that they ran back to the store to stock up on supplies.

Praise Pecans

After two days of selling, The Breakfast Club sold $1,094 worth of their pecan dessert, adding an additional $300 to their till.

Taking Tuscaloosa

Despite their early sellouts, Braised in the South won Tuscaloosa with total sales of $3,261.

Stick a Fork in 'Em

Unfortunately for Shona and her two sons, this was the end of the road for Stick 'Em Up.

Hot 'n' Fried

The next leg of the race took Tyler and the trucks to Music City, and one of Nashville’s most famous dishes is hot chicken. The first challenge was to make a dish inspired by this fiery fried chicken, but without using any chicken. The winner would get an additional $500 added to their till.

Parking Problems

What’s a food truck to do when there’s nowhere to park? If you’re Mr. Po’ Boys, you drive around for three and a half hours searching for the perfect spot. “We’re just drowning right now,” Ryan said, “and we just need somebody to throw us a life jacket.” Eventually they parked across the street from Braised in the South. “If they’re making money, we can just park across the street and make money,” Ester said.

Bored in the South

The first day in Nashville wasn’t just rough for Mr. Po' Boys — nobody was making too many sales. “All the foot traffic has just died, and all I’m hearing is just crickets,” said Nick of Braised in the South.

Frustrated Frenchies

After foot traffic slowed down for The Southern Frenchie, they decided to see if another location would drum up more sales, but after finally finding a place to park, there was even less foot traffic than their original spot. “At this point, we’ve lost an hour of selling time,” Meaghan said. “Even if that’s two to three dishes, that’s $20 to $30 dollars, and that can make or break us in this competition.” They packed back up and headed back to their previous spot, but they weren’t too happy with that either. “It’s pretty dead,” Amanda said. “In fact, I think it’s more dead than when we left.”

Saved by Shrimp

After tasting all the trucks’ hot chicken inspired dishes, local restaurant owner Aqui Hines chose Mr. Po’ Boys dish as her favorite. “The fried shrimp po’ boy bought some crazy heat,” Tyler said. “She loved the dish, and said her nose is still running.”

Publicity Stunts

It was a new day in Nashville, and with a new day came a new challenge. In addition to selling their dishes, the trucks would have to come up with a way to promote their business and draw in crowds. The team with the best promotion would win immunity in Nashville.

BBQ & Selfies

After losing the hot chicken challenge, Braised in the South was determined to take home the win for the self-promotion challenge. They set up a selfie booth outside of their truck and made bags of their signature rub to give to customers. “What’s more American than barbecues and selfies?” Nick asked.

Breakfast Club Busts a Move

The Breakfast Club decided to attract customers with a special dance routine, and if any customers could perform it, they’d get $1 off their purchase.

Blessed to be Braised

After two days of selling in Nashville, Braised in the South managed to outsell the competition with total sales of $3,223 — almost $2,000 more than second place Mr. Po' Boys.

Farewell, Frenchie

With just two teams remaining, it wasn't coming down to sales, but who won the self-promotion challenge. The Breakfast Club's dance routine won them immunity, marking the end of the race for The Southern Frenchie.

Georgia Peaches

The next leg of the race took Tyler and the trucks to Athens, GA, and in honor of the state fruit, the first challenge was to make a savory peach appetizer. Tyler enlisted the help of local restaurant owner Mimi Maumus to help judge the dishes.

Bruised Egos

Mr. Po' Boys stayed true to form, making a chicken po' boy slider with peach salsa, while The Breakfast Club stepped out of their typically sweet comfort zone and made a grilled peach and goat cheese crostini. Braised in the South made the peach the forefront of their dish, preparing it three ways — pickled, seared and in a vinaigrette — and serving it over scallops and prosciutto. "We have not won a single food-related challenge up to this point," Nick said, "and being three professional chefs, our egos are pretty bruised."

Three of a Kind

The challenge was centered around peaches and so was Braised in the South's dish. They didn't know what they'd won, but according to Tyler, their reward, "might start feeling like punishment for the other teams."

Lunch Break

Braised in the South won the ultimate reward: time. At any point during their stay in Athens, Braised could force their competitor trucks to close for a one-hour lunch break. "I'm worried," said Ryan of Mr Po' Boys. "If we have a crowd, and they shut us down for an hour, they can get all of our business."

Fresh Menu

Inspired by the freshness of Georgia peaches, Tyler decided to hit the trucks with another challenge: new menus. They couldn't serve anything they'd made in previous cities.

Parking Partner

Another challenge in Athens was where the trucks could park. "There is no street parking available for food trucks," Tyler warned. The solution? Tyler suggested partnering with a local business and using their lot to sell.

Slow Start

After the trucks found their locations, they got started prepping, cooking and selling. The first day in Athens started a bit slower than they'd hoped, but at least they got some quality customers.

Surprise Guest

Braised in the South was churning out fried chicken and mac and cheese with spicy sausage when an unexpected guest showed up: Nick's wife, Brynn. "Having my wife show up makes me remember why I'm really here and what this is really all about," he said. "It's going to hopefully carry me through the rest of the competition."

Sample Sale

It was day two in Athens when Tyler made the rounds, visiting the trucks to see how they were making out. Things were moving slowing at Mr. Po' Boys, so Tyler suggested they get out into the streets and hand out samples.

Creative Marketing

After an emotional meeting with Tyler, Mikey wasn't going to let The Breakfast Club go home without a fight. "I'm calling a ton of local businesses and I'm willing to say whatever it takes to get people to come to the food truck," he said. "If they're looking for a petting zoo, we've got ponies. If they're looking for picnic tables, we've got those too. Whatever it takes, I'm willing to say to get some clients at the food truck."

Break Time

"After calling a ton of local businesses, I have customers waiting outside, hungry and ready to go," Mikey said. That is, until Braised in the South decided it was time for them to take a break. Mr. Po' Boys and The Breakfast Club were shut down for the next hour.

Braised Peaches

After two days of selling in Athens, it was time for elimination. With $2,276 in sales, Braised in the South took first place.

Bye Bye Breakfast Club

After five weeks of competition, the race was over for The Breakfast Club.

Selling in Savannah

After five weeks of fierce competition, Mr. Po' Boys and Braised in the South were left to fight the final battle in Savannah, GA. The trucks had barely opened for business before Tyler called with their first challenge. "I want you to sell your food on a pedicab," he said. Whichever team sold the most food after one hour would receive an additional $500 in their till. "It's the biggest challenge we've had yet," Tyler said.

Peddlers

While Brandon was peddling the pedicab around Savannah, Nick and Steve were peddling their chicken and bbq pork tacos. "Our things are all ready to go," Brandon said. "All we have to do is hand them out and get some money."

Short Order Po' Boys

"Our sandwiches, I don't think that they can hold very long if we pre-make each one," Esther said. "We're cutting up the bread, putting all the ingredients we need in pans, and we're going to make these sandwiches right in front of the people in the street."

Taco Takeover

Since their tacos were already assembled and ready-to-go, Braised in the South had a huge time advantage over Mr. Po' Boys. "It's already clear that we made a great choice with tacos," Nick said. "These things are flying out."

Head-to-Head Competition

After an hour cycling around the city, Braised in the South won the pedicab battle, but then the real competition began. For the last day of the race, Tyler had two challenges for the teams. "Every couple of hours, I'm going to be calling you to direct you to a new location where the two of you will be battling head-to-head, right beside each other," he said. "At each location, I'm going to provide you a different shellfish that you can keep on the menu all-day long. The team with the most sales from those shellfish dishes will receive an additional $500 in their till."

Downtown Shrimp

The trucks' first stop was in downtown Savannah, and their first shellfish was shrimp. Braised in the South was serving a blackened shrimp taco, and Mr. Po' Boys was selling — you guessed it — a shrimp po' boy.

Loud and Proud

Now that the trucks were selling side-by-side, they needed to do whatever they could to draw in the crowds. While Mr. Po' Boys was advertising via megaphone, Steve from Braised in the South was playing the triangle.

Down to the Wire

After selling scallop dishes outside of a civic center, the trucks were at their final location (a park) with their last shellfish (clams). With not much time left to sell, Braised in the South made a drastic last push to attract a few final customers: everything was 50% off.

End of the Road

After six weeks of competition, the battle for the south had come to an end.

Tachos vs. Po' Boys

It all came down to this. After opening their briefcases, one team would be $50,000 richer, and the other would go home empty handed.

Southerners Take the South

They won the pedicab challenge, they won the shellfish challenge, and Braised in the South won the battle for the south. "This is everything that we've been working for for the past month," Nick said. "It all feels like it's worth it."