Back in the early 2000's, I pitched VICE magazine's then-editor some food content. He basically scoffed at me. “Food?” he said, “That's just not the demographic we're going for.” So I've watched with great interest as VICE has produced more and more food content over the last few years. Obviously food is way hipper than it was 10 years ago, but to work for VICE this content has to be painfully, outrageously, flawlessly hip.
Much of the content VICE has produced has worked on both levels — it's interesting foodwise and hip enough to pass muster. Eddie Huang's Fresh Off the Boat series is actually quite good (although he lost me a bit with the Bang Bus episode). Munchies, which is basically a chef profile show produced by VICE, is also good — far more laidback and fun than other food shows about chefs.
This week, VICE launched a new web series, Truckers in the Wild, which follows Max and Eli Sussman, Brooklyn chefs (and brothers), as they explore the world of food trucks. But unlike the other food web shows produced by VICE, this one suffers from its gimmickry. The idea is that these guys find a food truck, then “take it out of its comfort zone.” For the first episode, they take a fancy cupcake truck to a heavy-metal bar in Brooklyn. “Will metalheads like cupcakes?” We're supposed to wonder, as if people who like metal are somehow different from the SoHo shoppers the truck usually caters to. It's an awkward device that doesn't really work, at least not in the initial episode.
The show is produced in collaboration with Hellmann's, and the product placement in the show is also kind of painful. In episode 1, the cupcake truck owner mixes up a batch of cupcakes using Hellmann's instead of butter. “I guess it can be used for lots of things!” the hipster Brooklyn chef host says, and we all squirm just a little.
Watch the full first episode below.
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