A dream that took 10 years to make for Mrs. Fox River Grove comes true with a unique dining concept.
Shauna Fetterman, a culinary-themed chef, will compete on the 15th season of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” with her Arancini-themed concept, Girl’s Got Balls.
“It’s a handheld gourmet food,” she said.
The season premieres at 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, on Food Network and Discovery+.
Arancini is an Italian rice ball traditionally made with risotto, Parmesan cheese, and fillings like pancetta and peas, then breaded and fried. Fetterman gives them their own touch.
“I’ve actually been wanting to be on the show for about 10 years now,” Fetterman said. “I really like him and will always watch.”
The eight-episode season, hosted by Tyler Florence, was filmed in Southern California and features nine teams of aspiring food truck owners from across the country. Competitors, whose specialties range from fresh pasta to vegetarian Cuban dishes, not only have to cook great food, but they also have to show their marketing prowess and selling skills in challenges to earn more money than their competitors and stay in the race.
The season will conclude with the broadcast of the finale on July 24, with the last two teams going head to head in San Diego and vying for the $50,000 grand prize.
Fetterman said she came up with the idea of the concept that would become Girl’s Got Balls about 15 years ago.
After graduating from culinary school in 2009, Fetterman learned how to make risotto and arancini while working at an Italian café in Barrington called Gavi. Her boss, who is Italian, encouraged her to play and create new combinations of arancini for daily specials. This bestselling experience was born “Cheesy Pig,” where risotto balls are stuffed with pulled pork and macaroni and cheese flavors like cheddar and gouda.
Fast forward to 2020, and Fetterman has found herself working a customer service job that has been wiped out during the pandemic.
She said it was the last push she needed to realize her dream.
“I needed to do something,” said the single mother of two. “My kids lost their father (her ex-husband) to COVID, and I needed to do something to show them that if you work hard you can achieve anything. We needed some positivity in our lives.”
She took the last $400 she owned in her name and launched Girl’s Got Balls, initially selling them out from under a tent at local festivals.
The concept came together faster than the name.
“I literally have a piece of paper with at least 50 different names going around different words for the balls,” she said.
Her sister tried to talk to her about her final choice.
“She said it was tacky and no one would buy it from me, but after the company launched, everyone loved it – everyone was so supportive, young, old,” she said. “Honestly, I have not received any negative feedback.”
After a year working under tents, she purchased a cargo trailer that had been converted into a food truck. With a few modifications, I was able to get it on the road in a couple of months. They can be found most Tuesdays at McHenry’s VFW Post 4600, as well as at non-catering breweries, festivals, special events, and neighborhood pop-ups.
Fetterman says she eventually sees that she has a “small fleet” of food trucks, as well as a restaurant.
“Carrie (Jones, co-worker and teammate from the show) and I have been discussing it nonstop, and we have plans and a full concept of opening a brick-and-mortar site in the near future.”
She says the restaurant will be in Fox River Grove, where she has lived for 27 and Jones for 18.
“We want to stay close to home,” Fettermann said. People have been very supportive of us. “
She said her experience on the show lived up to 10 years of expectations.
“I loved every second of it,” she said. “I remember the first time I got into the food cart they gave us, and I knew I was where I should be.”
You can find the following Girl’s Got Balls on their Facebook page and eatatggb.com. They are scheduled to participate in the second annual Woodstock Food Truck Festival on June 4.