Eat Your Way to Victory at the Carnival O’ Pizza

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Tara Bouley on October 26, 2010

Chris Floyd, the reigning pizza eating champ, from left: at Home Slice in 2008, winning the Sugar Mama's cupcake battle, qualifying for the Nathan's hot dog contest, and last year winning his 4th Home Slice title

Spectacles are unanimously a permanent fixture in American culture. It is most evident in the ever-rising popularity of shows like Fear Factor, Man vs. Food, Survivor, Bizarre Foods, and The Amazing Race. We eagerly watch people on TV do extreme things, anything over-the-top from cakemaking to fashion design to eating. Do you want to see a guy, week after week, glassy-eyed and food-drunk, sweat through another wing or 10lb burger challenge? Yes you do. And so do I.

Americans love a spectacle, no doubt. Competitive eating is one of the oldest and most beloved American spectacles. Bacon, hot dogs, cheesecake, burgers, deep fried asparagus; you name it, there’s a contest to see who can eat the most of it. Eating contests got their start at county fairs, typically in the form of pie eating contests. But like pizza, competitive eating blew up in New York City with the first Nathan’s hot dog eating contest that was held on Coney Island in 1916.

Rivals Chestnut and Kobayashi

For the last 6 years, Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, still the most famous eating contest, has been dominated by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA and Takeru Kobayashi of Japan. While Chestnut is what you might expect a competitive eater to look like, weighing 218 lbs, Kobayashi is only 132 lbs. It seems what he lacks in size, he makes up for in sheer will. In fact, most of the competitive eating heavy hitters are quite fit. Sonja Thomas, a slight, 105 lb woman from Alexandria, VA is a formidable eating champ who ranked in the top 5 at the Nathan’s hot dog contest more than twice.

You clearly cannot judge the eating prowess of someone by looking at them. And that might be what makes competitive eating so fascinating. The everyman quality of the competitors. You, your friend, heck your little sister might have what it takes to be a champion.

All competitive eaters have a technique, and they’re all different. Kobayashi breaks his hot dogs in half, so he can fit them into one mouthful. There are also some common techniques, like breaking the food up into little pieces before eating it. “Dunking,” a technique employed by Chris Floyd, the 4 year champ of the Home Slice pizza eating contest,  is a technique where a competitor will dunk the food in water to soften it in order to make it easy to chew. It sounds gross, but competitive eating is not about taste and it seems that dunking, especially with pizza crust, saves lots of chew time.

Do you have the gastronomical gift to stuff 16 slices of pizza down your gullet in 30 minutes? If so, now is your chance to throw down. Home Slice is hosting it’s fifth annual pizza eating contest Saturday, November 20th at the Carnival O’ Pizza. Chris Floyd has housed the competition 4 years in a row. This may be your year to dethrone a champion.

Ask anyone at Home Slice or download the application here.


3 Responses

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  1. Simon Pickles said, on October 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I really fancy doing this! And there’s still plenty of time to train for the event too!

  2. Don Dickson said, on October 26, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I came into Home Slice one Saturday afternoon to get two slices in my belly to keep me from spending the rent money at the HEB. I sat at the counter and ordered two slices and a glass of tea. There was this guy sitting a few stools away from me. His pizza arrived, piled high with numerous toppings. It looked mighty tasty.

    Given the two empty seats between us I said to myself “surely he’s waiting for his friends who are probably driving in circles looking for a place to park.” But the guy started chowing down. “How rude,” I thought.

    My two slices arrived and I started to enjoy them. But I couldn’t help but notice that the dude two stools away was really going to town on that pizza, and I was starting to have doubts that help was on the way. He was on the second half by the time I was on my second slice. And by then I could hardly avert my eyes. Damned if he didn’t eat that whole thing before I had snarfed down two plain cheese slices.

    I can put away some food, believe me. But holy smokes, I was impressed. My server explained what it was that I had just witnessed.

  3. Tara Bouley said, on October 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    So you witnessed the champ in training? I’m glad someone told you what was going on.

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