Damien’s been to Hell and survived
His mouth went numb, he got the shakes and his mum was nervous, but Damien Hazlewood wasn’t going to let a pizza beat him.
The Papakowhai man conquered Hell Pizza’s Angry Dragon on June 6. It claims to be the hottest pizza in Australasia and can be sold only to those aged over 18.
The ring of fire contains extraspicy sauce, pepperoni, capsicum, black pepper and the killer ingredient – ghost peppers. Known in their native India as bhut jolokia, they are considered the hottest chillis on the planet.
You can’t eat one if you’re pregnant and Hell’s staff wear gloves to prepare each pizza.
Those who eat an Angry Dragon – in store, for proof, and inside 20 minutes – get their picture on the store’s wall, a certificate, a full refund and, best of all, a free pair of underpants.
Hazlewood, 40, loves a challenge when it comes to hot food and couldn’t resist when he heard about the Hell promotion.
‘‘ I can pretty much take it. When I order a vindaloo I always ask for ‘ Indian hot’ and I like to challenge myself,’’ he said.
At the Hell Pizza store under the Canopies, Hazlewood’s friends and family watched him eat the six slices in 14 minutes.
His mother, Gloria, a nurse, was ready in case he collapsed or started throwing up, he said.
The first few pieces went fine, but No 5 started to hurt a bit.
‘‘There was no way I wasn’t going to do it, but those last couple of pieces weren’t easy. I didn’t enjoy it. ‘‘My mouth went numb and my nose and face started to feel real weird. My hands and legs were shaking a bit and I was buzzing. But it went away.’’
Store owner Mia Thompson said 20 Angry Dragon pizzas were sold in the first three days of the promotion, but only Hazlewood stayed to eat it in-store.
The Angry Dragon pizzas are available only until stocks last – the ghost peppers were imported and there are a limited number.
And what did Hazlewood do to celebrate after overcoming the Angry Dragon?
‘‘I didn’t feel sick and I was still hungry, so bought some more pizzas. Not the hot ones, though.’’
Hot stuff: Damien Hazlewood with his Dragon Slayer underpants after his recent pizza triumph.