Scranton has been put on the map, once again, and this time around, it’s being recognized for something good – and downright delicious.
Last week, the What the Fork food truck had a crazy seven days after the announcement that they had made it from the list of Top 10 food trucks in the nation according to “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” to the Top 4.
From the Top 4, a round of voting pushed the truck to the Top 2, sending them flying to New York City last minute to tape a cook-off with the other top competitor, Mustache Mobile, an eatery touting its cheesesteaks from New Jersey. On Aug. 1, What the Fork served up its now-famous pulled pork tacos to the judges – celebrity chefs/restaurateurs Josh Capon, Andrew Carmellini, and Jean-George Vongerichten – as well as producer Michael Gelman and members of the audience.
Though What the Fork knew the outcome that morning, they had to stay tightlipped until the next day, when the winner was announced. What the Fork nabbed second place and $5,000, yet Mario Bevilacqua and crew feel this was a win, on all accounts.
We caught up with Bevilacqua after the announcement was made to chat about the experience.
THE WEEKENDER: Last week was a whirlwind – you moved up in the competition very quickly and then suddenly found yourselves in New York on Thursday taping. What was that like for you?
MARIO BEVILACQUA: It was great because we had no time to get nervous. We found out, got our truck cleaned head to toe, grabbed some gas, and took off. It all happened so quickly we didn’t really comprehend what an impact it would have.
W: Did you find out who won on Thursday as you taped, and was it difficult to keep that under wraps?
MB: We found out Thursday morning. It was very hard to keep it from family and friends that had supported us from day one and have voted and shared. It certainly would have been harder if we had a $20,000 check to come home with!
W: What’s the most valuable thing you learned from this whole experience?
MB: To remain humble. Katie, James and I can’t walk into any public establishment without being recognized and applauded. It’s very important to myself and #TeamFORK to stay grounded and keep the focus on the food and customer service, which got us to this point.
W: What was the most memorable part of the whole experience?
MB: The opportunity to have a world-known, unbelievably talented, three Michelin starred restaurateur taste my creation.
W: You were awarded $5,000 for the second-place prize. What are you going to do with that money?
MB: Already blew it at Mount Airy Casino! Ha ha, just kidding. Giving all my staff a bonus and applying the rest towards the next truck.
W: Anything you would like to say to WTFork fans? To your employees? To anybody?
MB: Thank you. Thank you for voting, thank you for supporting, and thank you for helping my team and I have that once-in-a-lifetime experience – and the 15 minutes of fame.