The world has seen its fair share of gluttonous masters of munch, so much so that the art of eating has actually turned into a profitable professional sport. But not just anyone can join the ranks of the elite eaters. It takes hard work, dedication and a stomach that defies all that is natural. We salute these notable men and women by running down 10 of the greatest feats of eating throughout history.
Standing at 7-feet, 4-inches and weighing in at well over 470 pounds, at his peak, André the Giant had what you might consider an unhealthy appetite. As the legend goes, a waitress at the Red Blazer restaurant in New Hampshire made a snide remark when he ordered a two-pound burger. André decided to get a little payback, ordering one of every single thing on the entire menu. As he ate, the waitress sat by and waited, and waited, and waited. His meal took several hours to finish. Just as impressive, André the Giant was also known for drinking 156 beers in one sitting.
Chestnut, arguably the world’s top competitive eater, has won six straight Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests. He set the world record in 2009 by eating 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Some say that record will never be beaten. But, then again…
The man simply known as “Kobi” holds the “unofficial” world record, having eaten 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, just two years after Chestnut officially set his record. However, the Major League Eating governing body does not recognize Kobi’s record because, well, he didn’t do it on their turf. So, two men, each claims to hold the record for eating the most hot dogs. I think we’re all winners in this fight.
In a span of two years, Michel Lotito, known as Monsieur Mangetout, ate an entire Cessna 150 light aircraft. He did this by cutting the plan into bite-size portions and consuming about two pounds per day. This is no small feat, not even for a man whose stomach lining and intestines are said to be twice as thick as the average man’s.
The Ghost Chili is recognized by Guinness World Records as the “hottest pepper in the world.” It would be quite impressive to see someone consume just one. But Ms. Tamuly went all-in, eating 51 of them in under two minutes. Then she rubbed it in — literally — by smearing the seeds of 25 chilies in her eyes without shedding a single tear.
This record also falls under the “one is enough” category. English lad Ken Edwards thought it would be fun to down 24 cockroaches in one minute. Adding to the showy nature of this feat, Ken typically dons fangs when he eats cockroaches, a nod to his old “bug eating comedy act.”
Gross, huh? Well, if it helps, according to scientific research, the brain is considered to be one of the most “nutritionally-dense organs” found in an animal. So credit Kobayashi for balancing his hot dog hinds and whatnots with a little nutritious brain food.
OK, so maybe this story has been debunked over time, seeing as it would not be physically possible for anyone to consume that much food in one day. But, one has to imagine that the King’s daily does of peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwiches could add up in no time. While this eating feat is in fact a myth, you have to give the King credit for his eating habits and eccentricities. He once flew 800 miles just to consume a sandwich made from a whole loaf of Italian bread, peanut butter, jelly and a pound of bacon. Now, that’s dedication.
There’s no singular eating feat one can point to when it comes to Vitellius the Glutton, though he did once hold a feast where 1,000 different types of birds were served. But the “godfather of gluttony” deserves to be on this list. Known for being a lazy, obese, gluttonous ruler in the 1st century, Vitellius would throw up to four food banquets a day, where he would indulge in many meats and rare foods. Oh, right, and he reportedly starved his own mother to death.
The world record for most cheesecake eaten in nine minutes may not seem all that impressive,until you consider that Sonya weighs in at around 105 pounds. Currently, Ms. Thomas — known in eating circles as “The Black Widow” — owns 19 world records, including MoonPies (38 in eight minutes) and tater tots (250 in five minutes).