Daniel Shemtob

"The Great Food Truck Race: All-Stars" champion Daniel Shemtob is careful to cook at home — usually it’s something like fish and veggies from the farmer’s market, but on the day that Shemtob and Mashed sat down for an exclusive interview, he was planning on shabu-shabu. "You want to know your ingredients, you know?" Shemtob reflected. With wood pulp having been found in many fast food chain’s burger buns, tacos, onion rings, milkshakes, and more, it’s hard to blame him for his preferences (via Los Angeles Times).

Shemtob is also excruciatingly selective about the ingredients he uses at his own businesses. His restaurants, for example, use organic masa to make tortillas from scratch, which Shemtob says is "huge." In fact, Shemtob boasts that his entire Born From The Lime Truck menu is ethically sourced, that all of its veggies are locally sourced, and that all of its meats are hormone and antibiotic-free (via Born From The Lime Truck).

But when on the road, and working 12-hour days trying to win a Food Network competition, the Born From The Lime Truck’s habits shifted. Why not just eat his own food truck food? "If you want to eat on your truck, which is what everyone would assume you would do — think about that trucks go home [from the competition] for five bucks," Shemtob explained. "So imagine you ate one taco and that’s the reason you’re going home. You can’t do it. It’s just, you won’t … I’m not going to do it. So what ends up happening?"

Daniel Shemtob ate this fast food chain every morning while competing on ‘The Great Food Truck Race’

Born From The Lime Truck crew

Here’s something the cameras don’t show you on "The Great Food Truck Race." Turns out, production only pays for contestants to eat one meal a day. And while Daniel Shemtob admitted to Mashed that "that’s not the hindrance of me eating," it certainly didn’t help, either. Surprise! The Food Network pays for Starbucks, and Shemtob — this is putting it nicely — isn’t a diehard Frappuccino fan. "It’s a Starbucks breakfast sandwich and it’s a coffee," Shemtob said. "I think eating anything 30 days in a row is going to [make you] feel sick, but eating a sandwich that’s not fresh," Shemtob trailed off. "Whatever system Starbucks uses — it does not do well for your system."

Nights weren’t great on Shemtob’s stomach, either. While competing, the Born From The Lime Truck team ended workdays around 11 p.m., according to Shemtob. That made dinnertime around midnight. "Which, what’s open at midnight? And that’s not good for your system," Shemtob said. "[My diet] went to absolute crap and I’m very much a believer of mental health from food. So taking [meal planning] out of your hands, not cooking your own food is already a huge problem. Then going to processed, fast food because that’s all that’s open is like the worst possible thing … it was not good." Ouch is right!

To give Daniel Shemtob’s competition-winning tacos a try, check out a Born From the Lime food truck in your city.