Alan Harding – Food Truck Hero

I was catching up on some TV this week, when I happened across the Food Network’s popular “Chopped” series – this time, the “Chopped Champions” tournament.

For those who are not fans, Chopped is a contest in which four chefs come to a kitchen and prepare three courses from a basket of “mystery ingredients.” After each course, one of the chefs is removed (“Chopped”) and the remaining chefs continue; after dessert, of course, there is only one chef left, who wins $10,000.

In one memorable episode, Alan Harding, the Brooklyn restauranteur and food-truck chef, won his episode with some truly amazing dishes made from some of the most unlikely ingredients I can imagine.

“Chopped Champions” carries this a bit further, by inviting back chefs who have won a previous Chopped episode to compete for $50,000.

Chef Harding was one on the episode I saw this week, making delicious and beautiful dishes out of ingredients I found, frankly, disgusting (if you don’t know what “lamb fries” are, well, you should really look it up…). He won, albeit not easily, and is going to the finals to compete for $50,000.

I have never met chef Harding and never eaten his food, but he’s a hero to me. He has showed a national audience that a food-truck chef is not only a real chef, but capable of putting out better food than chefs who work in restaurants. I think he’s really instrumental in helping “legitimize” gourmet food trucks and educating people that amazing food comes from them.

I’m looking forward to the final round… unfortunately, I can’t find any mention of it on the Food Network website, so I’ll take a look on Tuesday night and hope it’s there.

P.S. I don’t have to mention The Great Food Truck Race, right? If you’re reading this, I assume you’re watching that. Sunday…

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