***UPDATE (June 14, 2019)***
“Team Rolling Indulgence” — which consists of three employees, including the head chef, of Carvers Steaks & Chops in Washington Twp., — survived the first cut in Episode 1 of the Food Network series “The Great Food Truck Race,” meaning it will return for the show’s second episode, which airs at 9 p.m. this Sunday, June 16 on the Food Network.
The local team survived despite somewhat disappointing sales at the show’s first stop and despite its food truck being run into by one of the other competing teams.
The show started with nine teams, and one is eliminated each week, until the winning team collects $50,000. The final episode that crowns the winner will air on July 28.
***ORIGINAL STORY (June 6, 2019)***
The head chef at Carvers Steaks & Chops in Washington Twp. and two of his, well, closest colleagues were chosen to compete in this year’s Food Network series, “The Great Food Truck Race,” which airs its first episode this Sunday, June 9.
Drew Ballard, head chef at Carvers Steak & Chops, said he has always had a concept for a food truck in his head, so when he saw an online casting call for “The Great Food Truck Race” several months ago, he responded by submitting an entry for “Rolling Indulgence,” a 1950s diner-like food truck concept freshened up for 2019.
And on Feb. 3 of this year — the day he had planned to propose to his now-fiancee and Carvers head cocktail server Jess Sarra — he got a call back from the network. They were interested.
Ballard went ahead and proposed. Sarra said yes. And the couple and their roommate, Carvers head bartender Travis Day, started refining the food-truck concept and assembling a more detailed pitch to the cable network’s executives.
“Feb. 3 was a day that changed our lives,” Ballard said.
The Food Network approved “Team Rolling Indulgence” as one of the contestant teams for the 2019 season (Season 10) of the cable network’s show. After Ballard persuaded Carver’s owners and its general manager to grant him and his two colleagues time off from the restaurant (the head chef praised his Carvers crew for stepping up and filling in while they were gone), the three-member team participated in the shooting of The Great Food Truck Race earlier this year.
Here’s how a Food Network release describes Season 10 of the show:
“The Great Food Truck Race celebrates summer with a Tyler Florence-hosted culinary beach battle along the Atlantic coast, with nine teams of aspiring food truck owners with unique concepts competing for a $50,000 grand prize. Each week, the caravan of competitors hits a different seaside town for high-stakes food challenges that test their cooking chops, business skills and selling strategies, and the least successful truck is sent home until the one team left standing is awarded $50,000.
The Great Food Truck Race kicks off in Myrtle Beach on Sunday, June 9th at 9 p.m. and then hits Hilton Head, Daytona Beach, Tampa, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, culminating in a Key West finale on Sunday, July 28 at 9 p.m.”
Ballard, Sarra and Day are now back at work at Carvers, and of course are forbidden to discuss how they fared in the show’s competition or even disclose how long they were off work, since that might provide a hint about the show’s ending.
Here’s how the Food Network describes the Rolling Indulgence team from Dayton on its web site:
“Drew Ballard has traveled the country and worked his way up to become head chef at a high-end steak restaurant, where he works with his fiancée Jess Sarra, who he met in high school, and best friend Travis Day. The trio have a family dynamic — they not only work together, they live together. They are ready to hit the road and win it all to create their own path in the food industry.”
Ballard worked his way up from Carvers busboy and server assistant at 17 to head chef a decade later (he turned 27 just a few days ago), with restaurant stops in California, Colorado and South Dakota in between.
The Carvers chef said he and his teammates were “proud and humbled to represent Dayton on a national stage, especially since our local culinary and brewery scene is so awesome right now.”
If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen or heard of the Rolling Indulgence food truck, well, that’s because Ballard and his team created the brand specifically for the show. It has yet to make its local debut.
“But all three of us would love for Rolling Indulgence to have a future,” Ballard said.
There are still details to be worked out, the Carvers chef said, but, “Hopefully you may be seeing it in the Dayton and Cincinnati area soon.”
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