and the WINNER is……….
Palms were sweaty, i looked down holding onto the back of Debs back shoulder… she is only 4’9″ so it natural for me to lean on her… they announced #3 for Traditional, nada. then #2, nada, ok so we are #1.. nada… What? must be a mistake about all those people that almost attacked us about an hour ago… I told the boys back in the kitchen we were not coming back without placing.. a $30k food trucks parked cranking out a cuban every 20 seconds, on there 5th delivery of food in a day and we just went 0 for 3. So the final round was the non-traditional, back in the stance, head down, more sweaty palms… #3 place nada, strike 1, #2 place nada, strike #1… ok here it is the winner is…. and i am about to move through to the stage past deb only to hear Faedos Food Truck. What? Wait they won last year, and they place first in Traditional and Non-Traditional, and they were just on the cover of Latin Times… Hmm… my girl hugs me, I smile….she is very emotional. You know that smile that you see in award ceremonies… That look of dignity when your ego just a direct hit the floor bounced back up like a yo yo. And then some random fan, walks over and whispers in my ear, “its a fix”. nah… we are not going there… I decided we are going to win or not win with class. We get back to the truck and they are just exhausted at this point. We wrapped things up scratching our heads and said we’ll get em next year! In the meantime, we have some cash that needs to make its way to the bank!
On Monday we realize there is one more category… PEOPLES CHOICE! We reach out to the organizer to find out the results or the process and we get the rest of the story. She tell us she will have the results by end of day. She also informs that apparently there was a miscommunication with out entry into the competition. I could tell on the phone she was genuine. They requested 75 samples of both traditional and non traditional. We only submitted 50 samples of each.. We did such an amazing presentation with retro storage crates, mojo dip, rice, individual boxes that the media and vips in the VIP/Judging area rushed our table and some of the judges did not have a chance to taste our sandwich. Hence, we sort of disqualified ourselves. She apologized and said next year we need to give up more food and that she plans on hiring an independent accounting firm that will oversea the entire process. That explained why all day we were the rave with the crowds but silent with the judges.
All in all we are thrilled, to be competing with such good company, to be judged by Tampa’s Dignitaries and the Columbia Restaurant. They say the cuban sandwich is the most diverse sandwich made well it doesn’t get anymore diverse than a Russian Jew overseeing the making a pork sandwich on Passover, the day before Easter, in the heart of Ybor City!! We have the most diverse workforce as well. I think race and creed is represented. Many thanks go out to the Staff, and all those that QUIT on us or just said we would never make it. They said you can’t sell soup in Florida, they said you will never succeed. Those that quit saying the management of this Company was too harsh or too intense. Well its the intensity that fuels success. Its intensity that creates change! And we are just warming up!! Thanks for all the support Tampa!
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