UT Culinary & Catering Program Alumna Shona House, Sons to Compete on Food Network Show

“The Great Food Truck Race” returns Southern-style this summer on the Food Network, with seven teams of food truck novices battling from New Orleans to Savannah, Georgia. This high-stakes road trip is full of beautiful scenery, Southern landmarks, and intense food challenges.

UT Culinary & Catering Program alumna Shona House of Rogersville, Tennessee, heads up a team called Stick ‘Em Up that includes her sons Justin and Landon, both UT graduates. Together, the trio serves up delicious bites on a stick.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Shona,” said Greg Eisele, executive chef of the UT Culinary & Catering Program. “Her excellent culinary skills and big personality are certain to come across to the show’s viewers. We’re delighted that one of our former culinary students is getting the exposure she deserves.”

Cooking and baking helped House get through her husband’s death six years ago, when her catering business (called Faith Baked Cakes and Catering) became an overnight success and helped pay for her sons’ college educations. Now her sons are her favorite sous chefs, taking their Chicken and Biscuits, Lo Country Boil, and Tornado Dogs on the road to feed the masses.

Season eight of “The Great Food Truck Race” premieres Sunday, August 20, at 9 p.m. The House family will celebrate the premiere with a free public event at Occasions on the Square in downtown Rogersville. The event will feature food prepared by the Houses as well as a broadcast of the show on two large-screen televisions.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect from the new season:

In the first episode, the teams are greeted in the French Quarter of New Orleans by show host Tyler Florence and their dream food trucks. The race kicks off immediately with the first challenge called “Dough for Dough,” where they must create their own version of a beignet and sell it in the French Market.

“This was an opportunity to go on the road with my boys and cook,” House said in a recent interview with the Kingsport (Tenn.) Times-News. “And it was a run through the South, so it was southern cooking, and that’s what we do best. We cooked from our heart, and we had a great time doing it.”

“New Orleans was awesome,” House continued. “I had never been to New Orleans before. Both of my boys had but I hadn’t. That is the culinary capital of the United States. The food down there is absolutely amazing. I got to experience that with my boys.”

The teams find out running a food truck is harder than they thought. The second New Orleans challenge is to create a dish using the flavors of a popular Hurricane drink. Local chef Susan Spicer determines who created the best plate, then one team is eliminated and the rest move closer to the finish line.

Team cooking chops, selling strategy, and business savvy are tested in every city, with the least successful truck heading home each week and a $50,000 grand prize for the last truck standing.

Other competitors this season are: Braised in the South – Charleston, South Carolina (Nick Hunter, Steven Klatt, Brandon Lapp); The Breakfast Club – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Ashanti Dixon, Taylor Randolph, Mikey Robins); Mr. Po’ Boys – Dallas, Texas (Cedrick McCoy, Ryan Thompson, Esther Torres); Papi Chulo’s Empanadas – Cherry Hill, New Jersey (Sarah Hasbun, Carleena Lara-Bregatta, Luis Lara Polanco); The Southern Frenchie – Little Rock, Arkansas (Donnie Ferneau, Meaghan Ferneau, Amanda Ivy); and Wicked Good Seafood – Falmouth, Massachusetts (Bill Henrique, Ryan Schuhmacher, Dan Torres).

The winner will be named in the season finale on Sunday, September 24.

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