Gwenies Breakfast Wagon rolled onto the “Live with Kelly and Michael” set in Manhattan early Thursday morning to represent Schenectady as the food truck competed in the show’s Truckin’ Amazing Cook-off competition.
“It was very surreal,” said Gwen Grevely, owner and mobile chef. “It was just such a great experience.”
Gwenies Breakfast Wagon, a food truck that offers a unique breakfast diner experience on wheels, was nominated for the competition in early May when it participated in a food truck contest in Troy. Four of the trucks from that contest made it into the top 20 on “Live with Kelly and Michael.”
Gwenies was selected as one of the top 10 finalists.
Each week for the past few weeks, food trucks from around the country have cooked their specialities on the show. The food trucks are competing for the title of “mobile delicacy” and $20,000. The last food truck will be showcased next week, and the top four will be announced in two weeks.
The Slidin’ Dirty food truck from Troy is also one of the finalists in the top 10.
Gwenies Breakfast Wagon was taped on Thursday and aired Friday morning on CBS.
The invitation to compete in the contest came as a surprise for both Grevely and her family. Grevely opened Gwenies Breakfast Wagon in March after working for 13 years as a district manager for a clothing company. She always dreamed of opening her own diner and finally decided it was time to pack up her briefcase and follow her breakfast dreams.
“I carried my two-week resignation around with me for about three months,” she said. “It was a very scary decision to make but definitely the best decision I could have ever made.”
With the support of her husband, children and friends, Gwenies Breakfast Wagon was born.
“I just love to make breakfast, and it is my favorite thing to eat,” she said.
Grevely’s daughter designed the logo displayed on the front of the truck, an outline of a female chef cooking breakfast. The bright red truck is hard to miss as it travels all around the Capital Region, serving unique and traditional breakfast items. The truck makes its way to downtown Schenectady several times a month.
Grevely grew up in Elmira and moved to Ballston Spa when she was in high school. Her husband, a Schenectady native, now teaches at Schenectady High School. Together they have three children, and they reside in Schenectady.
In May, Grevely’s husband was checking his email and just happened to take a look in his spam mail box, where he came across an email from “Live with Kelly and Michael.” The email said Gwenies had been selected to compete in the food truck competition and they had just two hours to create and submit a video for the contest. He called Grevely right away, who was shocked.
“For giggles, we sent in the video,” she said.
Grevely said that being on “Live with Kelly and Michael” has been life-changing. The whole family made the trip to Manhattan to see Grevely cook alongside the celebrities.
“They were very nice, both very humble,” she said. “Very inviting.”
“The Big Lou” was Gwenies’ featured dish on the show.
“It is a huge sandwich,” she said. “We have gotten a lot of great response from it.”
The popular sandwich is made with two fried eggs, two slices of Swiss cheese and ham and served on two pieces of French toast topped with powdered sugar. And although it may be a favorite, Schenectady residents have their own sandwich to rave about.
“We have one sandwich called ‘The SchenEGGtady,’ ” Grevely said. “That is a real popular sandwich.”
Made with a round egg, bacon, tomato and avocado and topped with salsa, the breakfast sandwich is served on a bagel with cream cheese.
Grevely said representing Schenectady on national television has been an honor.
“It would be nice to be able to recognize Schenectady in the final two, so we need as many votes as possible in the next couple of days,” she said. “If we don’t make it to the final four, it was such a humbling experience.”
Votes for Gwenies can be cast on the “Live with Kelly and Michael” website. Viewers can vote for Gwenies once a day until Sunday, July 21, at 10 a.m.
For those looking to get a taste of Gwenies, Grevely suggests following Gwenies Breakfast Wagon on Twitter or Facebook. Grevely posts the truck’s location daily.
Grevely said that no matter where Gwenies finishes in the “Live with Kelly and Michael” competition, she will continue to “make happy bellies,” as her slogan says.
“If you have a dream and you kind of have been towing it around … or you are in a job that is making you miserable, you can do anything you want to do as long as you follow your passion and your heart,” she said. “I think a lot of times, people are afraid to do that.”