Palmer­ston North set to heat up

The Tribune (NZ) - - OUT & ABOUT - JONO GALUSZKA

Fans of hot food in Palmer­ston North will be able to pit them­selves against fel­low chilli-heads for the first time, when the hottest com­pe­ti­tion in the coun­try vis­its the city for the first time.

The NZ Chilli Eat­ing Champs are head­ing to the city for the first time, with a heat be­ing held at The Rose and Crown on Fri­day, May 12.

Com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­iser Clint Meyer, who is also the direc­tor of Fire Dragon Chill­ies, said he got the idea af­ter a few peo­ple said he should put on a com­pe­ti­tion. ‘‘It started as a bit of fun. ‘‘Now, some of them take it pretty se­ri­ously.’’

The Palmer­ston North heat would in­volve com­peti­tors be­ing given food or straight chill­ies each round.

They then must chew what­ever they are given for 30 sec­onds be­fore swal­low­ing.

Peo­ple are dis­qual­i­fied if they can­not eat what they are given, take a drink, leave the ta­ble, or vomit.

While that may sound like hell to some, Meyer said he had to turn peo­ple away at one heat be­cause there were too many keen to com­pete.

Com­peti­tors must sign a waiver, which gave away any li­a­bil­ity to the or­gan­is­ers for po­ten­tial mis­for­tune, in­clud­ing death.

But Meyer said no one had ever had ‘‘last­ing dam­age’’.

‘‘It’s non-toxic, so the worst that can hap­pen is you vomit.

The win­ner of the Palmer­ston North heat would get an in­vite to the fi­nal, held in Auck­land on June 25 at the in­au­gu­ral New Zealand Hot Sauce Fes­ti­val.

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