The Biggest Red Flag That Turns Tyler Florence Away From A Food Truck - Exclusive

Year after year, celebrity chef Tyler Florence dedicates himself to eating and thinking about food truck fare. In fact, during the 16 seasons so far of "The Great Food Truck Race," the show's host has sampled dishes from well over 100 different food truck cuisine offerings, sometimes in conditions that would make any non-superhuman question their commitment to street food. Remember that time in Alaska when teams served up food in snowbanks and negative 16-degree weather, "Survivor"-style? This season is likely tamer (at least weather-wise). We'll see Florence stay warmer in Los Angeles, munching on crepes, meatball subs, Pakistani curries, and Jamaican tacos. 

You name it, and it's safe to say that Florence has had it in food truck form. But as the chef recently told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview, it's neither a particular climate nor a kind of food that sets off alarm bells in Florence's head. The physical state of the food truck itself is either a green light or a big red flag for the Food Network star. "If the truck is dirty, if they haven't washed the food truck, how good can the food possibly be?" Florence told us. "If you get some truck that looks a little banged up, I don't think I'm going to be eating from it."

Signs a food truck is doing things right, per Tyler Florence

That age-old adage — "don't judge a book by its cover" — doesn't apply to food trucks. Actually, according to Tyler Florence, a good food truck is going to have thought a lot about its image. The design of a food truck should make you smile, per the Food Network star. "You literally have this mobile billboard you're driving around the city with," he told us — and a good food truck will take advantage of that. It's a huge green light, he said, "when food trucks are clever and [have] a thoughtful, tasteful design that celebrates what they do, and it looks like a carnival, or it looks fresh and clean, or — most importantly — it looks happy."

The next most important thing that Florence says he looks for in food trucks is placement. Unlike a restaurant, a food truck may not offer seating, but it should nonetheless be accessible. "When you're driving a food truck, you got to make sure that you're visible and there's plenty of parking where you're going to go," he explained. "If I see a food truck or I'm searching out food trucks specifically, make sure that you're adjacent to a place that's easy to get to and the parking's going to be convenient for me — make it easy to enjoy it." 

Catch more of Tyler Florence on new episodes of Season 16 of "The Great Food Truck Race," which you can tune into on Sundays on Food Network.