The truck is cleaned and detailed, the crew groomed and ready.
Now chef Mario Bevilacqua of Dunmore will have just six to eight minutes on Thursday to show the country why he should be the country’s top food-truck chef — and win $20,000.
Bevilacqua, owner of What the Fork food truck, assisted by fiancee and co-owner Katie Graziosi, will prepare his trademark pulled-pork taco on “LIVE! with Kelly and Michael” this week. They will tape the segment on Thursday for airing on Friday or early next week as part of “LIVE’s Truckin’ Amazing Cook-Off.”
Bevilacqua and nine other food-truck chefs from Schenectady, N.Y., to Austin, Texas, are competing for the grand prize. The show’s viewers will decide which food truck they like best.
Bevilacqua said last week he and his crew, which also includes chef James Bodnar, Chelsea Alexander and Ethan Snyder, were heading to New York today after he got the truck cleaned and detailed. The show’s producers have reserved hotel rooms for the What the Fork crew.
“We’re all getting haircuts and will get our chef coats pressed and embroidered,” he said.
The segment is scheduled to air Friday, but a producer told Bevilacqua it possibly could get pushed to Monday or Tuesday.
A crew from the show will start laying out the truck at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
“Hopefully, everything will be ready by 10 o’clock,” Bevilacqua said.
That’s when shooting is scheduled to begin.
He said he and his family plan to watch the segment together when it airs. After that, he will immediately open the truck for business.
He said those who go to the What the Fork Facebook page after the show airs will find a surprise.
Hosts of the ABC-TV morning show Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan announced the top 10 contenders for the contest on May 20, after viewers nominated their favorite mobile eateries. What the Fork will be the last of the 10 competitors to go on the show.
For 48 hours after show airs, viewers can vote on the “LIVE” website for their favorite food-truck chef.
Kelly and Michael will announce the four with the highest ratings. After another audience vote, the top two chefs will compete on the show in front of the “LIVE” audience and a panel of judges for the $20,000 grand prize. The runner-up gets $5,000, Bevilacqua said.
“If we win, we’ll see truck number 2,” he said.
Bevilacqua, 25, and Graziosi, 24, of Old Forge, along with Bodnar, have run their mobile kitchen since July 2012, serving “Modern American” cuisine, “street food” and “bistro fare” at various locations in Scranton, Dunmore, Dickson City and Wilkes-Barre.
The bright-green truck now offers what its operators call American fusion cuisine. The pulled-pork taco is the most popular item on the varying menu, but offerings can include crab-cake sliders, grilled cheese, Korean braised short ribs, “house fry,” made of a Russet Burbank potato with Himalayan salt, and sweet-potato chicken tenders with candy sauce.