Marathon mas­ti­ca­tors fol­low a con­sum­ing pas­sion

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - MICHELLE ROWE

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,

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