Marathon masticators follow a consuming passion
FOOD Detective is no slouch when it comes to wolfing down her food, but even she was taken aback to hear that a Californian, Joey Chestnut, knocked back 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win an American competition.
She hopes Chestnut is never in front of her in the cinema snack bar queue, but happily it seems the hot dog is not his only vice.
Nicknamed ‘‘Jaws’’, Chestnut inhabits a curious world of competitive eating in which he and other professional scoffers pit their stomachs against all manner of edibles, often under the umbrella of an American organisation known as Major League Eating.
Among Chestnut’s other claims to fame are swallowing 182 chicken wings in 30 minutes, drinking 3.8 litres of milk in 41 seconds and knocking back 2.86kg of deep-fried asparagus in 11.5 minutes.
His latest victory, at this year’s July 4th hot dog eating contest on New York’s Coney Island, wasn’t without controversy. Chestnut’s arch rival Takeru Kobayashi, banned from entering the challenge due to a contractual dispute, staged a breakaway contest on a Manhattan rooftop, knocking back 69 hot dogs — seven more than Chestnut — which rather throws a spanner in the works. Fascinated by this hitherto unknown world of duelling diners, Detective will keep an eye out for any future events staged on Australian soil. Her main competition will be Sonya Thomas, a diminutive 43-year-old from Alexandria, Virginia, whose achievements include eating 5kg of cheesecake in nine minutes, 80 chicken nuggets in five minutes, 65 hard boiled eggs in six minutes and 46 dozen oysters in 10 minutes. A woman after Detective’s own heart. More: ifoce.com.
RIVAL Sydney restaurateurs will put their competitive urges aside on Tuesday night when their front-of-house teams take over Sydney’s Quay restaurant to raise money for the StreetSmart charity. There will be canapes from 13 of Sydney’s top restaurants, a cocktail hour and endless wine, plus auction prizes including a seaplane flight to Berowra Waters Inn and the chance to get up close and personal with Quay boss John Fink. ‘‘Last year we auctioned off my hat and it went for $1000,’’ says Fink. ‘‘This year they want to auction off a date with me, which of course might create negative revenue, except that it will be at Quay. And, if they would prefer, I don’t have to go.’’ Tickets are $175 a head. More: streetsmartaustralia.org; quay.com.au.
FOR many chefs on the international food festival circuit, getting one’s hands on ingredients in far-flung places can be a challenge, which is why local reconnaissance often comes in handy. Detective still feels for Somer Sivrioglu, head chef at Sydney’s Efendy restaurant, who last year found himself scouring building sites for the supply of quicklime demanded by Turkish chef Musa Dagdeviren, visiting as part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival.
This year’s festival, in October,