The Truth About The Middle Feast From Great Food Truck Race: All Stars

In a recent Facebook video, Food Network celebrity chef, perennial "Great Food Truck Race" host, and devoted food truck-booster, Tyler Florence promised viewers that the premiere of "The Great Food Truck Race: All-Stars" was going to be one for the books, featuring seven of the best teams to ever have graced the show, of which Florence is the host. The "All Stars" season is the latest installment in "The Great Food Truck Race" competition series, which has, thus far, "transformed food truck dreams into cold hard cash realities 13 times," as Florence pointed out in the video.

Florence also said that he has selected the strongest competitors in the game before he began introducing each of the seven teams that will be competing for the "Great Food Truck Race: All Stars" crown and prize money. Among those teams is the punnily-named, "The Middle Feast," which won Season 5 in 2014. Here is the truth about this trio of food truckers whom Florence refers to as the epitome of "street food strategists" (via Facebook).

This "Middle Feast" may not be exactly what you were expecting

"The Great Food Truck Race: All Stars," which premieres on Sunday, June 6, 2021 (9:00 pm ET/PT on the Food Network and also streaming on Discovery+), is billed as the "return" of seven fan-favorite food trucks from prior seasons of "The Great Food Truck Race," according to a press release from Discovery+. Among the seven "alumni" teams is the trio known as "The Middle Feast," which is led by California-based chef and food truck operator Tommy Marudi, who worked with his team to a winning title in Season 5 back in 2014. There's just one wrinkle, however.

Tommy Marudi is the only member of the original Middle Feast team whom you'll see coming back for the All Stars season. Back in 2014, The Middle Feast was comprised of Marudi, his younger sister Hilla Marudi, and a close friend of both Tommy and Hilla by the name of Arkadi Kluger (via From The Grapevine). For this go-round, Tommy Marudi is joined by a different sister, Daniella Marudi, and Gabriel Villagrana (via The Orange County Register). So, the truth about The Middle Feast is that it's not exactly the team you might remember from Season 5.

Here is what we can tell you about Tommy Marudi, team leader of The Middle Feast

Tommy Marudi, who heads up The Middle Feast team on the soon-to-premiere of "The Great Food Truck Race: All Stars," is the operator of the food truck known as The Middle Feast, which provides "Los Angeles and surrounding areas with gourmet Middle Eastern Cuisine with a twist and made with seasonally-inspired and locally-sourced ingredients," according to its website. Tommy was born in LA but spent his childhood in Israel, according to The Middle Feast's blog. His passion for food began when he took a job working at his uncle's restaurant in Tel Aviv, and ever since, Tommy has been honing his cooking skills as well as his business strategy. 

At 24, he moved back to Los Angeles to begin working as a chef at a variety of popular restaurants, but what he always really wanted to do was have his own food truck where he could mash together different flavors from all kinds of cuisines, including Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Asian. In 2014, he leveraged his skills and strategy into a win on the fifth season of "The Great Food Truck Race." 

So, why the change-up?

So far, there's been no word from Tommy Marudi, Tyler Florence, or the Food Network as to why The Middle Feast team that will be competing on the upcoming All Stars season of "The Great Food Truck Race" has two new members or what prompted the change in personnel. However, it appears that Arkadi Kruger has left The Middle Feast business entirely — as in the food truck, and not just the All-Stars team — and started his own culinary venture in the San Francisco Bay Area: a catering business called Olive, according to The Jewish News of Northern California. It also appears that his business partner is his wife, Elinor Nahmani. We wish Kruger and Nahmani the best of luck in this endeavor. 

As for Hilla Marudi, there's been no word as to why she isn't competing as part of The Middle Feast team this season. Perhaps she'll be taking care of the business in Los Angeles while Tommy treks through Northern California, where this season's installment is being filmed on location. What is also not yet known is whether any of the other teams competing this season will reflect any personnel changes. We'll just have to tune in on June 6!