By Patrick Johnston | Times Record News
For Tagan Couch, it was an easy call to return for the second annual Food Truck Championship of Texas.
While the $10,000 grand prize is enough to tempt anyone, the event also gave her a chance to serve food to some of the thousands of people gathered in Graham Saturday.
“It’s awesome and the crowd’s great,” the Gypsy Kit owner said. “There are so many amazing trucks here that it’s a really hard competition. We love the competition, but at the same time I love being able to serve this many people.”
Couch came prepared last year expecting the inaugural competition to draw quite a crowd of hungry foodies, and even had a backup plan in case they began to run out of food.
“Last year, everyone sold out about 3 o’clock,” Couch said. “We had brought reinforcements in case that happened, so we were able to stay and serve until 6 p.m. last year. We’re hoping we can do that again this year.”
As the news of the new competition boasting “the largest food truck grand prize in Texas” spread, food trucks from all across the state and some from Oklahoma and other states began applying to try to dethrone the Gyspy Kit.
“On a daily basis we compete with two or three trucks around town,” Couch said. “So whenever you come here and there’s 40 trucks — some from other states and some from Austin, which is basically the Mecca of all food trucks in the nation — it’s a strong competition.”
The popular truck from Wichita Falls had a lengthy line for most of the day, but judges selected Bite My Biscuit of Watauga, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, as this year’s grand champion and $10,000 winner, as well as the Best American Cuisine.
So many food trucks wanted to drive down to the town of about 9,000 people to compete for the title won by Bite My Biscuit that organizers had to turn away 15 to 20 trucks.
“We’re pretty selective so that we can get the trucks that we want here,” said Krisa De La Cruz, CEO of Graham Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The group wanted to have a wide variety of dishes offered for festivalgoers to choose from, whether they stopped by after participating in the Possum Pedal Bike Ride or drove over from the Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition at nearby Possum Kingdom Lake.
“We kind of have a little bit of everything,” De La Cruz said. “Some dishes you might recognize and some that you may have never tried before. We tried to really make sure we had a diverse array of different food trucks.”
Of the 40 food trucks at the event, festivalgoers got the chance to select from a variety of sandwiches, tacos, barbecue, desserts and other unique options.
My Cupcake Garden of Plano, Texas, found a niche market in the food truck industry after looking around at the options available in their home market of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
“We searched every cupcake in DFW and we tried every flavor,” said Pamela Boyd, owner of the truck. “Nothing was like our down-home, taste-like-grandma-used-to-make cupcake made from scratch. And, nobody was using organic fruits and vegetables like the carrots, the raisins and the strawberries.
“We figured we could do a product we thought people would like.”
The cupcakes, which included such flavors as cookies and cream, cocoa cocoa chip, rainbow vanilla and lemon and blueberry, were also a favorite of the judges, who gave the truck the Best Dessert Award.
In addition to the flavors, the organizers wanted to recognize as many aspects of the food truck experience with their prizes.
“We try to recognize that with some of the awards,” De La Cruz said. “We do one for most unique menu and best food truck design and theme. We try to really think about the full package, not just the food.”
Other winners were:
Best Signature Dish: Yatai Food Cart of Fort Worth, and The Great Australian Meat Pies of Plano, Texas.
People’s Choice: Daddy Bob’s Smokewagon of Graham.
Best Truck Theme & Design: Munchies Bus of Corpus Christi.
Best Texas BBQ: Rock Bottom Boyz BBQ of Graham.
Best International Dish: Yatai Food Cart.
Best Food Truck Spirit, $500: Browns Bar-B-Q of Midland, Texas.
Most Unique Menu, $500: The Ginger Armadillo of Austin.