Southern Pride Asian Fusion represents Colorado Springs in Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race
Updated: Jun 15
With dreams of owning a food truck and a restaurant, team Southern Pride Asian Fusion joined Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race based in Southern California to see where the opportunity would take them!
Hosted By Tyler Florence, the show premiered on June 5th on Food Network and Discovery+. In the eight-episode season, nine teams of aspiring food truck owners with specialties ranging from fresh pasta to plant-based Cuban dishes must prove their cooking chops, marketing savvy and selling skills in high-stakes challenges to beat their rivals and stay in the race.
DJ Williams, Houston Greenlee and Gio Greenlee met as students at Paragon Culinary School in Manitou Springs, Colo. and bonded over their military background, having served in Afghanistan and Iraq. When DJ and Houston saw promotions for the show, they messaged each other with shared interest to participate.
"I saw the call for teams on my Facebook feed and knew that DJ wanted a food truck. We sent each other messages asking, 'do you want to do this?'" said Houston. "We all talked and thought we should take the opportunity to see where it goes."
Prior to the show, DJ owned and operated Last Bite BBQ which specialized in Southern food, while married couple Houston and Philippines-born Gio brought the Asian fusion to the talented trio. Their vibrant mix of Southern comfort food and Asian cuisine is sweet, savory and one-of-a-kind. Gio, who grew up making rice, said his favorite Filipino dish is adobo which is a marinade that includes vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and other spices that can be added to different dishes.
When Food Network informed them they would be joining the show, they began creating staple dishes to start as a main menu, including chicken sandwiches with an Asian flair and mac and cheese with adobo flavors and Sriracha.
The name Southern Pride Asian Fusion reflects their Southern-style bbq, Filipino flair and pride for their cultural foods, pride in being army veterans, and also pride in Houston and Gio being married men.
As all three of them are veterans, they were used to waking up in the early morning and working until late, but missed their homes in Colorado Springs.
"The most challenging part of the race was living out of a suitcase and not being able to go home and grab a drink," said Houston. "But the positive was that I had two amazing team members - my husband and DJ. As you know I was a queen out there selling the food, and they were the rockstars in the kitchen."
All three team members noted that they gave the race their all. "We put all our heart into every dish we made, and shared our love and passion for cooking," said Gio.
DJ agreed that having a "good supportive team made it easy and we could lean on each other along the way."
After the show, DJ made his way back to Colorado Springs where he opened Southern Pride Asian Fusion BBQ Food Truck. He fulfilled his dream of opening a food truck and running a family business to get his food out to the community. Southern Pride Asian Fusion BBQ Food Truck is now available at breweries and other venues in Colorado Springs.
Gio and Houston moved to the Philippines, which they had originally planned to do in 2019 before the pandemic hit. Gio's dream is to be the first full-blooded Filipino to become a Michelin star chef.
Houston says, "You have to chase your dreams because dreams do not chase themselves. Our motto has always been teamwork makes the dream work."
Tune in to Food Network on Sundays to see how the team does in the competition.
Kicking off in Laguna Beach with a spicy hot pepper challenge, The Great Food Truck Race's route then hits beach locations for intense cooking rounds and selling challenges, from Venice for a visit from Chef Antonia Lofaso and a hemp-inspired menu challenge to a selling competition at The Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Other stops include Los Angeles where the teams compete against two-time Race winners The Lime Truck, Redondo Beach for a lunch-on-the-go challenge judged by Race alumni Seoul Sausage, serving beach volleyball players in Manhattan Beach and a visit to the Glamis Dunes, culminating in a head-to-head finale in San Diego where only one team is awarded the life-changing $50,000 grand prize.
“The Great Food Truck Race’s innovative teams, mind-blowing food and beautiful locales make this show a perfect way to celebrate summer,” said Jane Latman, President, Home and Food Content & Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery. “The only thing hotter than the food is the rivalries – these teams are truly in this competition to change their lives and move forward in their quest to have their own business.”
The other teams competing are: Amawele’s – San Francisco, California (Pamela Drew, Wendy Drew, Emma Januarie); Eso Artisanal Pasta – Morristown, New Jersey (AJ Sankofa, Kristina Gambarian, Matt McFadden); Food Flight – Atlanta, Georgia (Kate Schulz, Betsy Wallace, Grant Stevens); Girl’s Got Balls – Fox River Grove, Illinois (Shauna Fetterman, Lizzy Scudder, Carrie Jones); Maybe Cheese Born With It – Toledo, Ohio (David Gedert, Mahogany Reign, Keith Logue); Salsa Queen – Salt Lake City, Utah (Salsa Queen Zapata, Jim Birch, Missy Workman); Sauté Kingz – Daytona Beach, Florida (Count Foreman, Jessica Foreman, Jesshuan Foreman); and Señoreata – Los Angeles, California (Evanice Holz, Adri Law, Chelly Saludado).
The Great Food Truck Race is produced by Critical Content for Food Network and discovery+.