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6 a.m., Feb. 22
On Monday I wrote about San Diegan Troy Johnson debuting a new show on Food Network, but he's not the only local who made it onto that station this year...or even this summer. Dyann Huffman, Mark Manning, and Kristina Repp -- the trio behind the Devilicious food truck -- grinded gears with fellow mobile restaurants on the second season of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race.
After coasting through the first round of the competition in Las Vegas they were ousted during the second leg in Salt Lake City. Undone by $1 off discounts, but unfazed, they're back home with new energy and the benefit of some lessons learned. I interviewed Huffman shortly after Devilicious' return to find out a little bit more about the show and their business.
What were the most memorable moments of this experience? So many! The day Food Network called and asked us to send in our application and video...the day we found out we were accepted...the people, the cities, the ups and the downs. I can't pick just one memorable moment. It was a once-in-a lifetime experience.
What was the most fun part of the competition? All the amazing people we met; we have made some lifelong friends.
And your impressions of host Tyler Florence? Tyler was great and a really nice guy.
Did you feel at all overshadowed by stronger personalities from regions such as Boston and L.A.? Absolutely not. Since we unfortunately went home on the second week, we did not get much chance to show our personality. But trust me, we can hold our own.
What was the recovery process like after being sent home? We drove 12 hours straight to get home from Salt Lake City, took a couple days off, then went right back to work. I really missed my six-year-old son, my dog, and my bed. We were all just happy to be home.
Have you seen an immediate spike in popularity/sales since your appearance on Food Network? Of course. We opened our doors in January and have grown steadily since day one. However, the growth in the past two months has been astronomical. But it's not just curiosity and one-time customers. Once they try the food, they come back again and again. Our customers are not just customers, they have become friends and some almost family.
Please explain how this experience has benefited you as people, cooks, and a business. We have "speed bumps" all the time in our day-to-day business. Now we just stop what we are doing, calmly evaluate the situation, find the solution, and move on. We can work in any situation, any environment, and with any menu now.
Why did you originally decide to go into the food-truck biz? Devilicious was born because we were tired of going to work every day for someone else. Oddly enough, I always said I would never own a restaurant, and now I own two…and they have wheels! We haven't worked this hard in years, and it has been the most rewarding and amazing journey so far. We can't wait to see where Devilicious will take us next.
What does the future hold for your business? We are launching Devilicious Squared in two weeks -- the sky is the limit. Oh, and if anyone out there has any suitable commercial space available, send us an email.
Where can we catch you over the next couple of weeks? Check out our website at deviliciousfoodtruck.com to keep up with our weekly schedule! Better yet, follow us on @deviliciousfood or our Facebook page and we will update you daily on where to grab some Devilicious grub.
The Devilicious food truck's Dyann Huffman, Mark Manning, and Kristina Repp (photo courtesy Food Network)
The Food Network's chef/host Tyler Florence mows down on a Devilicious offering during a truck stop challenge (photo courtesy Food Network)