Seven food truck teams embark on a food truck race that could earn them a life-altering prize of $50,000. In the premiere, the teams meet Tyler in Los Angeles, the center of the food truck revolution, and the race begins with the teams’ first Truck Stop challenge, a game-changing twist posed in each episode: Instead of starting in Los Angeles, the race commences in San Diego. To even the playing field, the teams begin with empty trucks and an equal amount of seed money. They have three days to prepare, promote and sell their food by any means necessary. After a weekend of triumphs, teamwork, and tests of character, the totals are tallied and the trucks find out who continues the great race and who goes home.
With just a few miles before they reach the small art community of Santa Fe, N.M., the six remaining teams make frantic calls to local tastemakers to rally support for their weekend of sales. After meeting Tyler in Santa Fe Square, they receive a stipend and the action begins. The teams are interrupted as Tyler calls with their Truck Stop challenge: the teams must each add a special dish to their menu that includes local red or green chiles. Over the weekend, secret judge Eric DiStefano (Coyote Café) samples each of the dishes, and the winning truck receives immunity from the weekend’s elimination.
The five remaining teams roll into Fort Worth, Texas, the beef capital of the world, and assemble in front of the courthouse. After the weekend’s competition gets underway, Tyler calls the teams with their Truck Stop challenge: butcher a side of beef and incorporate into a special dish. Unaware of the challenge’s steep odds and secret judge “King of Fort Worth” Tim Love (Lonesome Dove), the challenge winner earns $1,000 towards its final tally, an amount equivalent to immunity.
The final four trucks arrive in New Orleans and meet Tyler at the Louisiana Superdome. The competitors run into shockingly unpredictable weather; one minute it’s clear, and the next it’s a major downpour. Putting even more pressure on the teams, Tyler calls them with the Truck Stop challenge: the teams must close down their trucks for the night and meet him near the Mississippi River at day break to prepare a classic catfish dish for a local legend, Chef Jacques Leonardi (Jaques-Imo and Crabby Jack’s). The winning team earns $500 and the opportunity to immediately open their truck for business, while the three losing teams endure filleting 700 pounds of catfish before returning to their trucks.
The remaining three teams pull into Jonesborough, Tenn., population 5,000. Nervous about how this small town will react to them, the teams meet Tyler on Main Street and realize that this leg of the race will hinge on their sales acumen and food quality. The trucks battle over the crowd assembled for a music festival but keeping their attention proves difficult. In the Truck Stop challenge, Tyler tells the team’s to meet him at Old Man Johnson’s farm to cook an authentic five-course prairie meal over an open fire to be judged by two cowboy historians from the American Chuck Wagon Association. As a reward, the winning team moves their truck to a greater populated town where they have the chance to beat out the competition.
The final two teams meet Tyler in Manhattan for an epic battle on the hungry streets of the Big Apple. In the final sprint of the competition, the trucks race through the five boroughs and scramble to make $500 at each location before moving on. To turn up the heat, Tyler calls the teams in the middle of the race with a Truck Stop challenge that brings them back to Brooklyn where they have an hour to prepare the other team’s signature dish for judge Chef Nate Appleman (Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria). Chef Appleman awards a hefty advantage to the wining team, and it’s a nail-biting finish as both teams chase the Manhattan finish line where the winner of The Great Food Truck Race is crowned and receives the well-deserved prize of $50,000.