Meet the First Vegan Winner of Food Network’s ‘The Great Food Truck Race’

Previous night, Los Angeles-primarily based Cuban pop-up Señoreata produced heritage immediately after nabbing the victory on season 15 of Meals Network’s The Wonderful Food Truck Race. Helmed by founder Evanice Holz, the Señoreata team is composed of Chely Saludado and Adri Regulation. Formally titled “Hottest Year Ever,” period 15 observed the trio compete versus Amawele’s South African Kitchen area Eso Artisanal Pasta sandwich concept Meals Flight Girl’s Received Balls, which slings arancini balls in non-regular flavors Mexican fusion truck Salsa Queen soul foods caterer Sauté Kingz Southern Delight Asian Fusion, which brings together Southern and Asian cuisines and loaded macaroni and cheese truck, It’s possible Cheese Born With It. 

Señoreata—the initially plant-based food stuff idea to gain a location in a finale of The Wonderful Food stuff Truck Race—went head-to-head with Possibly Cheese Born With It as the closing two groups raced to out-cook dinner and outsell every single other in San Diego for a likelihood to acquire the $50,000 grand prize. Both teams faced off in a collection of a few worries across two times. Up initially, Señoreata was tasked with creating a distinctive interpretation of Probably Cheese Born With It is vintage macaroni and cheese, a dairy-based dish and one of the concept’s greatest-marketing products. Likewise, Maybe Cheese Born With It had to put its have spin on Señoreata’s plant-based ceviche, a common South American seafood dish. Whilst their competitor opted for shrimp-topped macaroni and cheese, Señoreata wowed buyers with a vegan, 3-cheese rooster quesadilla that includes provolone, cheddar, queso fresco, onions, plant-based mostly fried rooster, and drizzles of garlicky crema.

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Following slinging their new creations outdoors of a nearby brewery, each groups had been shocked by host Tyler Florence with a next problem. This time, they had been tasked with building a new menu product that would pair with a craft beer of their picking out. While both equally teams opted for a light-weight, refreshing IPA with notes of lime, Señoreata’s tacos stuffed with pinto beans, its signature Cuban frita meat, and a drizzle of cilantro-garlic sauce proved victorious around Possibly Cheese Born With It is loaded macaroni and cheese topped with a zesty lime salsa and Tajín. 

But it wasn’t until finally day two of the finale that both equally teams would be place to the take a look at with still a different challenge. And this time, they have been tasked with building a up coming-degree spicy dish with just one of a few chilis: habanero, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, or the hottest chili in the world, the Carolina Reaper. Despite the fact that Señoreata’s stuffed gordita with Carolina Reaper salsa impressed the judges, it was considered way too spicy to end ingesting and Probably Cheese Born With It is elote macaroni and cheese featuring habanero arrived out on best. 

Even with the setback, Señoreata was in the end selected as the winner, with host Florence declaring, “You received 1 for the vegans!” Not only did the Cuban pop-up become the to start with vegan notion to gain the level of competition exhibit, it also gained by the optimum margin in demonstrate historical past, earning a whopping $9,911 in San Diego and beating its competitor by $4,222. 

“This present has been airing for 12 decades, to be the initial plant-based mostly thought to make it to the finale, though also serving a substantial area of interest cuisine with Cuban food items, feels indescribable,” Holz told VegNews. “When I was in significant faculty watching Meals Community, I wish I noticed a Latina-owned business and group of three girls of shade that I could relate to shattering glass ceilings. I’m genuinely moved by it and that my corporation has produced that form of effect on foodstuff.”

The prize money, Holz shares, will be evenly divided. “[Law] and [Saludado] place their lives and get the job done on hold to help me chase my dream and deserve to shell out it nonetheless they want,” Holz mentioned. “As for me […] it is been a dream to have manufactured it this considerably on Food Community, and I approach to put the revenue straight again into the firm.” 

Señoreata’s vegan Cuban cuisine 

Launched in 2017 in East Los Angeles, Señoreata got its get started when Holz packed her Prius to the brim with ingredients and a mobile kitchen area, prepared to sling her plant-primarily based, Cuban fare at occasions across the town. Currently, the pop-up has gained a cult pursuing with dishes these as Cubano sandwiches created with jackfruit lechon (jackfruit pork in a citrusy, peppery marinade) buttery, guava- and cheese-stuffed pastries and loaded cassava fries topped with pickled onions, avocado, cilantro garlic sauce, dairy-free of charge queso, and lime.

“I’m rewriting the narrative of my have expertise as a initial technology, contemporary, Cuban-Brazilian American, and generating food stuff my personal way.”
—Evanice Holz

Though Señoreata built its debut 5 yrs back, the pop-up’s roots can be traced to Holz’s own vegan journey. 3 several years just after adopting a vegetarian food plan in superior college when a friend inquired, “Hey, want to go vegetarian?,” Holz arrived throughout a Meals Community Magazine column spotlighting a plant-primarily based chef and his vegan canine. Holz’s curiosity took more than, and she manufactured a New Year’s resolution to go vegan for two months, in the end sticking with the way of life alter for good. 

Soon soon after adopting a meatless diet, nonetheless, Holz found herself longing for the Cuban food items she grew up ingesting. The entrepreneur, a initial-era Cuban-Brazilian American, begun asking her father and grandmother for their conventional recipes. Building them plant-dependent, Holz notes, was easier than she imagined. 

“When I went plant-primarily based, I had to get started discovering how to cook since my father absolutely did not know what to prepare dinner for me. He did not recognize the principle of veganism,” Holz explained. “I started off [veganizing] picadillo and arroz con pollo. I went from there, producing recipes at 19 decades aged. Señoreata is an extension of that entire experience.”


Ultimately, this culinary journey helped Holz cultivate a much better link to her Latin American heritage. “I’m rewriting the narrative of my have knowledge as a initially era, modern day, Cuban-Brazilian American, and producing meals my very own way. It is all about figuring it out—that’s the 1st technology tagline,” Holz claimed. “Señoreata is me figuring it out, and here’s what I’ve [learned]. I sense even much more linked [to my culture] than when I was consuming these dishes as a little one.”

Vegan for la cultura 

With her look on The Terrific Foods Truck Race, Holz hopes to encourage viewers with entrepreneurial ambitions to just take the first stage towards launching their very own business. She also aims to showcase how delectable plant-primarily based cuisine can be and establish that it retains up to omnivorous dishes. 

“I believe we could possibly encourage other men and women to set additional plant-dependent dishes on their menu simply because they see, ‘Oh, it’s possible there is one thing to this,’” Holz mentioned. “I know there’s nevertheless a great deal of folks who assume plant-based mostly foodstuff is a little something foreign, but I believe if you launch the stigma driving vegan foodstuff, [we can] unwrap it, provide it back again to essentials, and provide it in a way that is culturally relevant.”

It’s this desire for culturally related, plant-centered meals that fuels Holz. Outside of her operate on the Food items Network, Holz is in the early phases of opening a restaurant in Joshua Tree. The entrepreneur, who splits her time among Los Angeles and the significant desert, dreams of bringing far more vegan choices to Joshua Tree, wherever plant-centered dining establishments are number of and considerably involving. Outside the house of her food items ventures, Holz strategies to launch food-arranging solutions and courses that instruct reduced-money families how to prepare dinner plant-centered on a spending budget. 

For a taste of Señoreata’s vegan eats, check out the pop-up on Instagram to learn the place they are heading next.  

For much more vegan Foods Community, study:Satisfy the Chefs on Foods Network’s Vegan Episode of ‘Beat Bobby Flay’13 Vegan-Welcoming Food stuff Community Times
1st Vegan Baker Seems on Food stuff Network’s ‘Holiday Wars’

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