On “Great Food Truck Race” Week 1, Hodge Podge ROCKS Some C-Town Love.

Cleveland's Hodge Podge food truck draws a crowd for the premiere of season two of "The Great Food Truck Race," on Food Network. photo Food Network

By Joe Crea | The Plain Dealer

Cleveland's Hodge Podge food truck draws a crowd for the premiere of season two of "The Great Food Truck Race," on Food Network. photo Food Network

Double the money: that’s the extra challenge in season two of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” hosted by chef/author Tyler Florence. This year, grand prize winner of the reality cooking competition wins $100,000.

On the season premiere, eight competing truck crews are hungry for that brimming pot of gold:

— Hodge Podge from Cleveland, specializing in a mix of “midwestern comfort food.”

— Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (Boston).

— Seabirds, a vegan trio and the Lime Truck, both from Orange County, CA.

— Korilla BBQ, a Korean cuisine team led by a Columbia University grad and his high school buddies from NYC.

— Sky’s Gourmet Tacos from Los Angeles.

— Devilicious Food Truck from San Diego.

— Cafe Con Leche from Los Angeles.

After the usual preliminaries — bellowed greetings, exuberant response, a rundown of rules and provisos — Florence announces the second twist of the season. The first round of competition will take place in Las Vegas.

Episode one includes a big set back for Sy’s Gourmet Tacos: a tire blows out on the highway. After plenty of roadside scrambling, they’re met with a dose of attitude and some bad blood from Korilla BBQ.

Come Day Two, Hodge Podge may have hit a trucker’s jackpot: they locate Sunday services at a Las Vegas mega-church. Thousands of cars are parked, and services are nearly over. Hodgson and company park, and get ready for huge sales.

Except the crowds pass them by. Hodgson gets creative, and starts playing the carnival barker trying to draw the crowd. He sells a few orders of chicken and waffles, but in short order the crowd dissipates. Fortunately, a call from one of Sin City’s most-read food bloggers draws him to the city’s Chinatown.

This being a reality competion, of course there’s got to be a kick in the groin: Florence announces this week’s “speed bump” — everyone has to proceed like they’ve run out of propane. The vegan crew is fine: they have a raw foods chef on board. Not so easy for the grilled cheese crew: a George Foreman grill isn’t quite as effective as a griddle.

Chris goes hot-head, shouting down his girlfriend Jacquelyn. The Roxy boys could have grilled cheese on her head, she was so steamed. (Smart move: he later confesses his bad manners in an on-camera sidebar.)

In the end: Hodge Podge makes it into third place, just behind top-sellers Lime Truck and Korilla. But one truck, the lowest seller, has to go home.

“I know you gave it your best, but it wasn’t enough,” says Florence…

Sky’s Gourmet Tacos are outta here.