Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Querencia Mia is bringing a piece of New Mexico to Alaska.
The team – made up of Albuquerque residents Marie Yniguez, Queneesha Meyers and Michael Neu – is participating in “The Great Food Truck Race.” The new season premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday on Food Network and discovery+.
The six-episode season, hosted by Tyler Florence, begins with greeting seven food truck teams, each with its own truck.
In the first episode, Florence welcomes the teams to Flattop Mountain, overlooking Anchorage, Alaska, to begin the biggest, boldest road trip ever.
To get the keys to their trucks, the contestants must break them out of 200-pound blocks of ice, and that’s just the beginning of their culinary adventure.
The teams compete to see who can prep and sell the most food, with the least successful truck heading home.
The route then hits Palmer, home to some of the largest vegetables in the world; deep sea fishing in Homer; panning for gold and Alaskan crab challenge in Seward, and a scavenger hunt in Talkeetna.
In the season finale, the two remaining teams go head-to-head in Fairbanks, and the last team standing is awarded the $50,000 grand prize.
Yniguez, owner of Slow Roasted Bocadillos, brought along Meyers and Neu for the experience. Meyers is a pastry chef who owns Q’s Cakes & Sweets Boutique.
“Whenever Marie asks you to do something with her, you do it,” Meyers said. “She’s my girl and I trust her.”
When Yniguez asked Neu to participate, he jumped at the chance, as he just began cooking in May.
“I told her if I could get off from the military, I would go,” said Neu, who serves in the Army Reserves. “It worked out perfectly.”
It was the first time in Alaska for all three contestants.
“I had butterflies because it’s a different experience,” Yniguez said. “Traveling to Alaska has been on my bucket list. Then you pair up the trip with a competition, and it made everything seem perfect.”
Yniguez said the experience helped her realize how much you don’t need in the kitchen.
“We had some really small pots and had to figure out how to use them,” Yniguez said. “We had to find unconventional ways to accomplish our tasks.”
Meyers said that the trio represented New Mexico well through the whole adventure.
“It’s easy when there are cameras around to bring the drama,” Meyers said. “We were truly ourselves. We weren’t trying to be someone else. The biggest takeaway is you don’t have to go too crazy to sell some beautiful food. And you don’t have to spend too much money on it either. The creativity speaks for itself.”
Yniguez said putting together the team was perfect, and they all got to experience it together.
The trio also had to acclimate to the weather and the surroundings.
“It was a team effort, and we went through everything together,” she said. “We battled it out together. It was cold and definitely extreme Alaskan weather. Q’s eyes were freezing up, and Mike’s beard had ice all over it. It was definitely a time to go big or go home. People in Alaska got a taste of New Mexico.”