A Twitter joke doing the rounds recently said that "selling coffee from a trailer is the new starting a podcast", though that does a disservice to trailers.

As any food show fanatic will know, food trucks are not the dreamy pastime you take up as a hobby. They're demanding, competitive and, of course, some of the most exciting foodie spots you can find. And if you're hungry for some low-stakes (for you) drama, we've the show for you.

The Battle of the Food Trucks is a new cookery show coming to RTÉ Player, which follows along as six food truck chefs from across Ireland go head-to-head to be crowned Ireland's finest food truck, battling it out through various challenges and themes.

Hosted by James Patrice and with Eric Matthews, Head Chef at Michelin starred Chapter One Restaurant and cookbook author Gina Daly of The Daly Dish as expert judges, it's sure to set your stomach rumbling and your heart racing.

"It's a very different cookery show, that's for sure", Patrice tells RTÉ Lifestyle. "They're not only being judged on their incredible food they produce and how it tastes, but they're also being judged on how they present the food, how the food showcases their food truck and showcases their brand because it is at the end of the day a business.

"Even though it is different food trucks, they all have the same challenge with the food, adapt to a challenge every week."

Judges Eric Matthews and The Daly Dish

Even for an onlooker, the workload is immense. "It's quite nerve racking. I have to say", Patrice laughs. "There's there's a lot going on. They're under pressure and they have a lot to contend with. And that's before they even go near the judges. So I don't envy the chefs, I don't envy the judges. I'm quite happy in my position as host to kind of go around, flutter around and ask the questions that the audience would like to know!"

Just because these are food trucks doesn't mean it's just sandwiches and pastries. Like many food trucks around the country, these six contestants will tackle everything from the simplest snack to full and complex meals, all served in takeaway contains with flair.

"It could be a really familiar meal that you're comfortable with or quite a popular food truck dish and they elevate it and they give it a twist and make it their own", Patrice says.

"And then there was some recipes I hadn't even heard of. I heard someone say, pulling oats which I didn't even know you could do. I can barely pull a man, never mind an oat!"

For many of us, food trucks and coffee vans became our social hubs during the lockdown, with more people eating outside and on the go and picking up coffees and nibbles on their long walks. For Patrice in his neighbourhood of Malahide, he had a few go-to's as well.

"I love Puck Burger in Malahide, then there is Griolladh as well – ham and cheese sandwiches basically but they have a twist to them!"

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Once the reserve of bustling US cities and London boroughs, food trucks have boomed in popularity in Ireland, especially since the outbreak of Covid-19. "I don't think we'd have a battle of the food trucks if it wasn't for the pandemic", Patrice says, adding that their popularity is only "reinforced by outdoor dining".

"They are a real meeting point for people. And they're great for meeting up friends safely, getting your nice and easy-to-eat dish that you can eat on the go."

"I think it's high time we in Ireland learned to pop the coat on, put up with the cold and sit outside and enjoy a nice meal", he adds. "While we're all waiting for vaccines and we're still waiting for things to, I suppose, feel safer, like the food truck dining is ideal for that.

"And I think that they'll keep going, even when normality does resume because I think the people will find it quite attractive and it's something different.

The chefs involved in the show have their own journeys too, with some coming from the chef profession and with years of restaurant service under their belts, while others turned their passions in to realities by investing in the food truck. "They all have reasons to be where they are", Patrice adds.

Finding a good food truck is the ideal pastime for foodies, and Patrice is no different. Sometimes it's a recommendation from a friend, or a tag on Instagram. "You might be going purely by the look of the truck. You know, they say don't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you do judge a truck by its cover", he says.

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"You can't beat a nice glam food truck as well, you know what I mean? Maybe some nice lighting, a few flowers here and there and all of those quirks and features."

Branding is a major part of making it in the food truck world, given most advertising is through word of mouth or social media. This plays a role in the show, as chefs are tasked with creating dishes that will entice customers online.

"It's all about being smart and being effective with how they brand themselves", Patrice says. "So it's about how a dish looks, how it photographs and sometimes how it will translate to social media. If it's a video or a reel you only have three seconds to capture the user's imagination and to get them to your truck."

So if everyone and their mother is thinking of starting a food truck, is it possible that we could have too many options? Never, says Patrice. "I think the more food trucks the better", he says.

"We have plenty of lovely lush green space in Ireland, let's fill it up!"

Watch The Battle of the Food Trucks on RTÉ Player each week from Thursday 22 June.