The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Cover Story -


MWO R D S : R OWA N S PA R K E S PHOTOS : S TEWA RT M C L E A N en – we’re a com­pet­i­tive lot.

So, nat­u­rally, when the idea of tack­ling a food chal­lenge came about, it didn’t take long for me to bravely, or per­haps, fool­ishly step into the arena.

The gas­tro­nom­i­cal gaunt­let in ques­tion – the Big Boy Chal­lenge – is of­fered up by the good folk at Apex Milk Bar at Ma­nunda.

The chal­lenge in­volves wolf­ing down the Big Boy, a 25cm-tall burger with five beef pat­ties, five slices of cheese, a hash brown and a pineap­ple frit­ter, all topped with crispy onion rings.

Oh, and it doesn’t end there, not by a long shot.

You’ll also have to scoff a large serv­ing of shoe­string fries and a large milk­shake – all within 12 min­utes.

Hav­ing binge-watched all three sea­sons of at univer­sity, I had some idea of the method that would help me get through this meaty mad­ness.

Con­sume the meat and cheese com­po­nents first, fol­lowed by any veg­eta­bles or other foods, and then get to work on the starch-heavy car­bo­hy­drates.

On the day of the chal­lenge, I wake up early and do some light ex­er­cise to build up my ap­petite.

I keep break­fast small, opt­ing for a muesli bar and a cof­fee. From now un­til the chal­lenge, I’ll only be chug­ging wa­ter.

By the time of the chal­lenge, I’m pretty hun­gry and my pangs give me con­fi­dence that I can suc­cess­fully take this gar­gan­tuan beef-beast down.

Upon en­ter­ing the milk bar, I coolly in­struct the staff to start the prepa­ra­tions.

Per­haps a lit­tle too blasé, as the owner is quick to in­form me that of the 65-plus meat-heads who have at­tempted the chal­lenge so far, only three have pre­vailed.

With this piece of in­for­ma­tion, my prefeast con­fi­dence be­gins to slowly fade.

Nerves take over, ac­cen­tu­ated by the grow­ing crowd of spec­ta­tors who have just wan­dered in af­ter fin­ish­ing the day at Trin­ity Bay State High School. Have I bit­ten off more than I can chew? Tak­ing a seat at my ta­ble of fate, I pon­der ad­vice gained from watch­ing food chal­lenges on YouTube and give my­self a fi­nal pep talk as the beef block­buster, fries and shake are placed in front of me.

The theme song sounds over the speak­ers and, with that, the clock starts.

Wast­ing no time, I rip the top bun off, re­move the hash brown and pineap­ple frit­ter and get to work on the beef and cheese – the bulk of the meal.

The pat­ties are fan­tas­tic – juicy, wellsea­soned and straight off the grill.

I start off with prom­ise, pow­er­ing through two of them within two min­utes.

I keep at the pat­ties, break­ing up the flavours by nib­bling on a cou­ple fries or an onion ring in be­tween mouth­fuls, and us­ing small gulps of wa­ter to help them slide down my throat.

Now five min­utes in, I no­tice my pace slow­ing.

So too does the crowd, who try to rally me with ex­cited squeals.

I strug­gle to make a dent in what is left on my plate as I fo­cus my at­ten­tion on keep­ing the food I’ve al­ready eaten in my stom­ach. And, here come the meat sweats. Beads of part-sweat-part-beef juice cas­cade down my face like Bar­ron Falls in the wet sea­son.

I dab my fore­head and try to take an­other bite. I can’t.

I feel the dis­ap­point­ment of the three vic­to­ri­ous chal­lengers, whose photos are pasted on the ‘Wall of Fame’ behind me, as they look down on me with shame.

With four min­utes left on the clock and a fair amount of the burger buf­fet still sit­ting in front of me, it be­comes ap­par­ent that this glut­tonous glory will not be mine to­day.

With a bel­ly­ful of beef, I look around at the de­jected crowd – they recog­nise de­feat too.

I en­ter­tain them by tak­ing a few more bites, hop­ing that with each nib­ble I can re­store a bit of pride.

Any­one who knows me prob­a­bly won’t be too sur­prised to learn of my fail­ure.

I started off strong, but in the end it was just too much food. Hats off to the team at Apex Milk Bar. They put on a de­li­cious spread, didn’t laugh too hard when I crashed and burned, and even ded­i­cated a song to me –

– as I walked out the door dis­ap­pointed in my ef­forts, but well-fed none the less.

Take on the Big Boy chal­lenge at Apex Milk Bar, 24 Hoare St, Ma­nunda. It’s free if you suc­cess­fully com­plete the chal­lenge – oth­er­wise it’ll set you back $29.95.

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