by David “Rek” Lee
If you’ve been following Korilla BBQ on the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” these past few weeks, you saw them kicking ass and taking orders. Whatever the challenge, they exceeded expectations by utilizing community partnerships, out-of-the-box thinking, and plain good ol’ barbecue. While other teams struggled to stay in the competition, our guys always placed in the top three. It seemed like only a matter of time before host Tyler Florence handed them their oversized check and they brought the food truck crown back to NY.
And then it was over.
In the beginning of the Week 5 episode which takes place in Memphis, Tenn., the trucks must appease the taste buds of Interstate BBQ owner, Jim Neely in a Truck Stop Challenge. As other trucks scramble to put together their dish, Korilla BBQ is literally shown lounging. We’ve seen this seemingly over-confident attitude before and it was always justified. But this time, Judge Neely disapproves of their dish saying he “didn’t care for it.”
No worries, right? Korilla BBQ is the team who did in fact forfeit a challenge only to come out victorious for it in Week 2.
But when Tyler announces the speed bump, no meat allowed in the food, we begin to worry about whether the guys have any tricks left up their orange sleeves. They don’t. It’s disheartening to watch the customers walk away at the mention of “tofu only”, but what can you expect from a meat-based food truck in a town that loves its meat.
Finally, as the show winds down to a close, Tyler says he has some bad news. Instead of just rattling off the numbers each truck made, he reveals that one of the competitors had broken the rules. Apparently, when the show’s producers counted up the totals, Korilla BBQ had close to $3,000 that didn’t match up to food receipts. They had cheated!
The reaction on Twitter was overwhelming. Hundreds of fans tweeted the truck expressing their disappointment while others showed their support saying there was no reason to watch the show anymore. Others mocked the truck saying they had shamed Koreans and patrons should count their change more carefully. HodgePodge even started selling “Integrity… Learn It” shirts (probably because of last week’s scandalous revelations). All Korilla BBQ could offer in response (due to a six-month non-disclosure agreement which they were reminded of shortly before Sunday’s airing) was, “WE WOULD NEVER CHEAT ON YOU NEW YORK”.
Now, if you’ve been following Korilla BBQ on the Food Truck Race AND on KoreAm for our weekly discussions, you know not everything is what it seems on the show. It’s a shame we can’t have them for our weekly behind-the-scenes discussions when the people need it most, but we’ll be sure to catch up with them in a few months (“1st amendment rights went on a haiatus and won’t be back till Spring,” Korilla BBQ also tweeted).
So, until then, you can distance yourselves away from the shameful acts committed (because three Koreans don’t represent ALL Koreans), or rock the orange and black proudly (because it’s innocent-until-proven-guilty especially if they smell like Korean grill). But there’s no denying the fact, the Korean boys made reality TV really interesting for a while. And by the savory aroma in NYC, they’re still out there spreading their love for Korean cuisine.