209 residents who turn their television to the Food Network this spring may see a familiar face.
Carina Stringfellow, joined by her cousin Priscilla Gutierrez and sister-in-law Lindsey Stringfellow, recently finished filming for season 12 of the cuisine channel’s hit show “The Great Food Truck Race,” where the Turlock native showcased her ability to make meals that seem like they come straight from the streets of Mexico.
Carina Stringfellow’s catering business, Super Sope, is one of seven teams that will compete on the show, using distinct ingredients in challenges that test their culinary skills. Each week sees the trucks visit a new town and try to outsell their competition, and the team that earns the least is eliminated from the show. At the end, the two final teams square off for a $50,000 prize.
“The experience was incredible, although I can’t speak to details about the show,” Stringfellow said. “I’m very proud of how far Super Sope has come. Not only being on TV, but showcasing my food and my love and passion for cooking was an amazing experience.”
Though Super Sope has made it to one of the biggest stages imaginable, Stringfellow’s catering company started out as just a simple idea to raise funds for Denair Elementary School. After selling sopes inspired by the street vendors of Mexico during a school festival, Stringfellow realized her cooking capabilities could catapult the idea to new heights thanks to positive reactions from her full-bellied customers.
“It was a concept that worked because it was small and tasty, but also memorable to the people coming to the booth. I realized just how amazing this could be on a bigger level,” she said.
She began catering events for family and friends, and her clientele began to expand. Then, she reached out to the Food Network for a chance to be on the show. Everyone who competes on the show is a brand-new food truck operator, so Stringfellow would fit right in — and she had a menu that could be competitive.
From specialty sopes like those that feature chorizo and potatoes to the more classic offering topped with sizzling chicken and refried beans, each item at Super Sope is handmade to order. Quesadillas are also a fast seller, filled with Monterey Jack cheese, deep fried and topped with options like lettuce, queso fresco or one of their house-made salsas or crema.
“What I love about this job the most is that I’m able to deliver not just really tasty food, but an experience for people because an authentic Mexican sope isn’t something you can just get anywhere,” Stringfellow said. “This is something you’d more than likely experience when traveling outside of the country, so to give people that here is pretty darn awesome.”
Currently, Super Sope is solely a catering company, though a food truck of their own is in the works and will be opening soon, Stringfellow said. Super Sope has experience catering all kinds of events, from baby showers and birthday parties to corporate meetings and weddings.
Location: @supersope_foodtruck on Instagram; Super Sope on Facebook
Hours: Call to book
Contact information: 209-800-7117
Specialty: Fresh, organic toppings