Jay-Z’s Made In America Culinary Competition

Jay-Z’s Made in America Culinary Experience

Keiristin, Restaurant Critic at Bacon and Bellini attends Jay-Z’s Budweiser Made In America Culinary Competition.

Jay-Z’s Made in America Culinary Competition was the perfect event for food lovers and food critics.   It was held on Sunday, July 29, 2018 at the Fillmore in Philadelphia and was an event was filled with 60 hopeful Food Trucks from Philadelphia, Maryland, Washington, DC and surrounding states vying for a chance to be one of the premiere food trucks at Jay-Z’s Budweiser Made in America Festival 2018.  To learn more about the festival, visit Made In America

The Competition

Each Food truck had their own booth at the competition.  The Food Truck was tasked with making their signature dish and display.  Tasters and judges went to each station to taste the food.  If we like the food, we would give the food truck a ticket.  We could give as many tickets as we want to our favorite Food Trucks.  The winners were based on a combination of taste tickets and judges feedback.  Only the winning trucks in each category will be allowed to participate in the Made in America Festival on September 1st & 2nd, 2018.

The Categories are Finger Foods, Sandwiches, Latin, Italian, Vegan, Desserts, and Miscellaneous.

The Food

My first taste was from ChiWaffles, a Chicken & Waffles Food truck.  I tasted the Red Velvet Waffle with Chicken and honey ranch dressing.  The waffle was sweet and moist. The chicken was seasoned and served crispy.  I didn’t know what to expect with the honey ranch dressing, but it was the perfect cool creamy accent to the waffle.  The dish was so good, I forgot to add syrup.  It was great just as served.  I really enjoyed ChiWaffles.  If you see this food truck, stop what you are doing and go buy some ChiWaffles.  To learn more about ChiWaffles, visit Chi Waffle

My next taste test was Lil Trent’s Grill, who showcased Philly Cheesesteaks with Cheese Wiz.  The steak was tender and juicy.  The crowd will enjoy these classic cheesesteaks. For more info, visit Lil Trent’s Grill on Facebook.

Since the festival will be held in Philadelphia, this Food Truck should be very busy.  Those attending from other cities will definitely get their cheesesteak fix here.

Not to be outdone, the Food Truck, Grubaholics also offers cheesesteaks.  However, they serve cheesesteaks with a twist.  Grubaholics is the home of the Jerk Chicken Cheesesteak.  They season and marinate their boneless chicken breasts for 24 hours.  The chicken is then grilled and served on a fresh Italian roll with pepper jack cheese and signature jerk sauce.  This jerk cheesesteak was hot!  I had to find water immediately after taking the first bite.  If you order this cheesesteak at a festival, be sure to have both napkins and water.  Visit Grubaholics at

Sum Pig food truck was up next.  Sum Pig served 14 hour hickory smoked grass fed beef brisket topped with their signature tangy BBQ sauce.  The brisket was tender and the sauce was tasty and tangy.  For more info visit Sum Pig

Let me tell you about this next booth.  Gigi & Big R Caribbean American Soul Food has some really good food.  They do not have fancy promotional products, but it does not matter.  Their food speaks for itself.  Their food tastes so authentic, and reminds me of eating dinner at someone’s home.  The meat was the star of the booth, as it was tender, juicy, and full of flavor.  They also served rice and beans and Macaroni and cheese.  The macaroni and cheese was just ok.  I think I got the bottom of the pan.  I imagine a fresh, hot pan of macaroni and cheese would taste a lot better.  For more info call (215)471-0164

I turn the corner and arrive at the Mama’s Meatballs, who served turkey and broccoli meatballs stuffed with Asiago cheese topped with pesto, arugula, parmesan and marinara.   The meatballs were juicy and taste like a full meal all in one.  For more info visit Mama’s Meatballs

Now to my favorite booth FMK, Frankie Mae Kitchen, which is booth #11 and the winning booth.  Their food is delicious! They were by far my favorite booth. I predicted they would win the competition.  Guess what…..they won!

Now I will tell you why.  Their menu consists of Chicken Delicioso, described as finger lickin’ Honey-Glazed Grilled CHicken served over a Cilantro Jasmine Rice and Sauteed Vegetable Medley.  The next dish is Shrimp Boat, described as Sweet Cherry Pepper Herb marinated Gulf Shrimp served over Cilantro Jasmine rice, Sauteed vegetable Medley and topped with Pico de Gallo.

The also serve a Slammin Salmon, a 5oz Grilled Atlantic Salmon, lightly dusted with the chef’s spices.

FMK’s food is served hot.  The food is visually stunning.  These are dishes you expect to see at a restaurant, but they pull it off effortlessly in a Food Truck setting.  Be sure to visit their booth.  You will be pleased.  Be sure to check them out online.  They are also available for catering! FMK

The next booth was Epicurean, the Jamaican food prepared by the makers of Epicurean Jerk Sauce.  This sauce can be found at Wholefoods. It is a very tasty, and very spicy. It will add character to your jerk chicken.  For more info visit Epicurean Jerk Sauce


Laughing Crab Catering sells crab cakes that are average at best.  They have lots of filler, and are just okay.

Next, I visited Trips Tasteful booth.  Trip is a wounded veteran who has the heart of a champion.  His BBQ sandwiches are great.


Now to desserts.  Ice Cream anyone?  What about homemade ice cream?  Well, there was ice cream galore!  Check out Bassetts Ice cream, established in 1861.


The best ice cream was from Dre’s.  They even had sweet potato pie flavored ice cream! Find out more about Dre’s at Dre’s Ice Cream


Of course, at the Festival, you will find the best natural popsicles from King of Pops.

The purpose of the culinary competition was to select the food trucks who would be able to participate in the MADE IN AMERICA music festival on September 1st & 2nd, 2018.

Live the festival and Experience the food.   Have a great Labor Day weekend.


Miscellaneous Category

FMK – 1st place winners, Brotherly Grubb, Laughing Crab Catering, The Dump N Roll,  The Cow and the Curd, Epicurean

Finger Foods Category

Chewy’s, The Little Sicilian, Humpty’s Dumplings, Trip’s Tasteful


El Tlaloc, Tica’s Tacos, Mi Pueblito Tacos


Grubaholics, Mama’s Meatballs, ChiWaffles, Sol Kantina, Innovative Catering, Lil Trent’s, GiGi’s & Big R’s Soul Food


Authentik Byrek Food Truck


Paper Mill Spuritto, Skinny Buddha


Bassett’s Ice Cream, Ben & Jerry’s, Dre’s Water Ice & Ice Cream, King of Pop’s, The Snowball Experience, Lil Pop Shop

Check out Bacon And Bellini on Bacon and Bellini Youtube to watch video coverage of the event and to see an exclusive interview with the winners who received the most votes FMK!


Click Here to Watch the Video!

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