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The Great Food Truck Race returns on the Food Network this weekend with seven teams of food truck novices—including a family of UT alumni—battling from New Orleans to Savannah, Georgia.

UT Culinary and Catering program alumna Shona House of Rogersville, Tennessee, heads up a team called Stick ’Em Up that serves various types of food on a stick. Joining her are sons Justin, who graduated from UT in May with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and sport management, and Landon, who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in history.

Season eight of The Great Food Truck Race premieres at 9 p.m. on Sunday, August 20.

Justin, Shona, and Landon House in front of their food truck.
Justin, Shona, and Landon House in front of their food truck. (Courtesy of the Food Network)

“We couldn’t be prouder of Shona,” said Greg Eisele, executive chef of the Culinary and Catering program. “Her excellent culinary skills and big personality are certain to come across to the show’s viewers. We’re delighted that one of our former culinary students is getting the exposure she deserves.”

Cooking and baking helped House get through her husband’s death six years ago, when her catering business, Faith Baked Cakes and Catering, became an overnight success and helped pay for her sons’ college educations. Now her sons are her favorite sous chefs, and the family is taking its famous Chicken and Biscuits, Lo Country Boil, and Tornado Dogs on the road.

Two years ago, Shona House competed on the Food Network show Sugar Showdown. That led to other offers from cooking shows and competitions, but she declined them all until The Great Food Truck Race.

“This was an opportunity to go on the road with my boys and cook,” House said in a recent interview with the Kingsport, Tennessee, Times-News. “And it was a run through the South, so it was southern cooking, and that’s what we do best. We cooked from our heart, and we had a great time doing it.”

In the first episode, the teams are greeted in the French Quarter of New Orleans by show host Tyler Florence and their dream food trucks. The first challenge, called Dough for Dough, requires teams to create their own version of a beignet and sell it in the French Market. The second New Orleans challenge is to create a dish using the flavors of a popular Hurricane drink.

Local chef Susan Spicer is the judge and one team is eliminated.

Team cooking, selling strategy, and business savvy are tested in every city, with the least successful truck heading home each week and a $50,000 grand prize for the last truck standing.

The winner will be named in the season finale on Sunday, September 24.

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Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,