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Fried Chicken Dumplings & the 5 Coolest Dishes We Can Expect From Lifetime’s ‘Supermarket Superstar’

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Unless you’re one of those Trader Joe’s/Wholesome Choice/farmer’s market people, chances are when you go to the grocery store, you stick to the tried-and-trues. You know, Chef Boyardee, Yoplait, Nestle. Every once in a while, the marketing geniuses in the food industry manage to introduce a totally new product into the mainstream (Greek yogurt and kale anyone?), but for the most part, we consumers are stubborn little assholes who need to be told ad nauseam that something is worth our time before we even consider testing it out ourselves.

So what happens when someone — anyone, be it your mom or your sister or your neighbor — has a brilliant food product idea that most people would probably love if they’d only give it a shot? Why, put it on TV of course.

That’s the basic gist behind a new show from Lifetime airing this Monday called “Supermarket Superstar.” Each hour long episode will follow three home chefs as they pitch their unique and specialized product ideas to several food world celebrities for the chance to have their creations launched nationally through The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company grocery chain.

“Almost anyone can cook a great meal,” reads the press release (take that, Masterchef!), “but this is the first food comeptition show that provides a platform for individuals that can change the way millions of Americans shop and eat.”

Last week, we headed out to the preview event at the Smog Shoppe in Los Angeles, Calif. to see what all the fuss was about. Some of the chefs’ products, admittedly, were bland. Others we wished were taken over by the “grown-ups” and made better. A select few, however, we wanted to buy right then and there. Here’s a round-up of the five dishes that impressed us most:

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Fried Chicken Dumplings AKA “Pao! Bao Fried Chicken & Gravy Bao” — Ben VanCleave, Los Angeles, Calif.

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East meets South with these fusion dumplings stuffed with a variety of fillings, including the featured Fried Chicken & Gravy; definitely the most innovative and eye-catching product we saw all day — Appears Episode 101: “Snacks,” September 2

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Frozen Cheesecake Cookie Sandwich AKA the “Smoogy” — Tekisha Collins, Indianapolis, Ind.

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Named by Collins’s son, the “Smoogy” features frozen cheesecake filling sandwiched between a sugar cookie and graham cracker blend — Appears Episode 107: “Baked Goods,” August 12

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Barbecue Shrimp Cocktail Sauce AKA “Famous Flaming Ember BBQ Sauce” — Leon “Torchy Burns” Williams, Valley Village, Calif.

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For anyone who’s tired of boring bottled shrimp cocktails, Williams’ unique twist on barbecue sauce can be served either hot or cold, splattered on ribs or dripping of plump, dangling shrimp — Appears Episode 106: “Barbecue,” September 9

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Crab Pie — Monica VanCleve, Austin, Texas

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Exactly what it sounds like, savory crab baked into a crispy crust like a “crab quiche” — Appears Episode 108, “Dinner Entrees,” September 16

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Chinese Tamales AKA “Chimales” — Dominic Lau, San Gabriel, Calif.

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As owner of LA’s own “Don Chow Taco Truck,” Dominic Lau combines fresh masa stuffed with either Kung Pao Chicken or Chinese BBQ Pork to create his signature fusion dish — Appears Episode 105: “Global Cuisine,” July 29

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Supermarket Superstar premieres Monday July 22 at 10 ET/PT on Lifetime

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Turns Out The Great Food Truck Race Season 3 Contestants Have Never Driven Food Trucks Before—Wait, What?

I can’t say I know from experience, but I’m sure running a food truck is ridiculously hard, which is part of what makes Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race so fun. Week after week, we get to stand on the other side of the too-tall serving counter and see what makes the geniuses behind the Lime Truck, Ragin’ Cajun’ and Nom Nom tick.

The only problem this season? None of the contestants has ever run, worked in or driven a food truck before. Insert montage of piss-poor parking jobs and broken lampposts here.

Veritable virgins to the game, this year’s crop of rookie GFT Racers is said to make up for their lack of experience with innovation and skill, and can probably best be described as “dreamers”—gutsy, stupid, impossibly driven dreamers, whose hard work might just land them the $50,000 grand prize and the right to keep the keys to their glitzy new rides, so graciously provided to them for the show.

(Although, it does beg the question of what exactly FN plans to do with the trucks once the teams are eliminated. Maybe pull an Extreme Makeover: Food Truck Edition and let everyone keep them anyway? Fingers crossed!)

For seven weeks, the eight teams will travel across the country from Long Beach, Calif. to Portland, Me. dealing for the first time with dead truck batteries, smoking engines and claustrophobia, and chances are the results will be awesome. At the very least, this year’s group will be much more relatable than previous years, due to the sheer fact that none of them have any clue what the actual f*ck they’re doing. And if by the end one lucky team does manage to figure it out, we viewers might even have the chance to patron their truck in real life. Shall we consider this the opposite of food television blue balls?

Here’s a quick look at this year’s teams:

West Coast:

Momma’s Grizzly Grub

Location: Wasilla, Alaska
Cuisine: Homestyle Pasta
Pictured: Corkscrew Pasta Topped with Tomato Sauce and Nutty Cheese

Barbie Babes

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cuisine: Australian Barbecue
Pictures: Burger Topped with Egg, a Pickle Spear, and Fresh Peppers, and Fries

Pop-A-Waffle

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cuisine: Sweet and Savory Waffle Creations
Pictured: Chicken Fajita Waffle

Seoul Sausage

Location: Los Angeles, California
Cuisine: Korean-Style Sausages
Pictured: Charred Kalbi Burger

Under the Crust

Location: San Diego, California
Cuisine: Gourmet Handheld Pies
Pictured: Mini-Pies with Creamy Dipping Sauce

Midwest:

Pizza Mike’s

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Cuisine: Italian Street Food
Pictured: Beef Sandwich with Sweet Tomato Spread

South:

Coast of Atlanta

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Cuisine: Gourmet Seafood
Pictured: Seafood Taco with Peach Pico de Gallo and Jalapeno Hush Puppies

East Coast:

Nonna’s Kitchenette

Location: Parsippany/West Caldwell, N.J.
Cuisine: Italian Meatballs
Pictured: Sausage Sandwich Topped with Red and Yellow Peppers

The Great Food Truck Race season 3 premieres this Sunday, August 19, at 10 p.m./9c.

[Photos via Food Network]