"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Saturday, December 30, 2006


By popular demand (one or two people asked), below are the answers to the “How well do you know me?” quiz. If you haven’t taken it yet, you can check it out here.

Some of you may be wondering how you got the dreaded “97 percent.” Although most questions have correct answers (6 points) and wrong answers (zero or negative points, depending on how wrong they are), other questions have “nearly correct answers” which are worth three or four points, with one six-point answer. That includes “What’s my favorite food?” All answers: pizza, chicken wings, Eagles cheerleaders, ice cream and hot dogs are worth three or four points, but the correct answer (burgers) earned you six points. Anyhow, here are the answers:

1. What is your age?
ANSWER: 31-40 years old

2. What is your gender?

3. In which contest did I make my IFOCE pro debut?
ANSWER: World’s Greatest Shoofly Pie Eating Championship

4. What food did I conquer to win my first eating contest?

5. Which eater joined Liz, J, Krista, Heather and I for a post-contest party at Krista’s sister’s house after the 3 Brothers Pizza Championship
ANSWER: Pat Bertoletti

6. Which key element of the shoofly eating contest did I fail to take an adequate amount of pictures of?
ANSWER: The Eagle’s Cheerleaders

7. Which of these meats have I NOT eaten?

8. How many chicken nuggets did I eat for dinner on Sunday, November 26th?

9. As a result of that dinner, what side-effect woke me up at 4:30 am the following morning?
ANSWER: Extreme thirst (Although I think a McNightmare might have been in there somewhere.)

10. What topping did I hold (or ask to be held, but got anyhow) on my giant burger at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub?
ANSWER: Onions (This question also had "nearly correct" answers, like "mustard" and "peppers" because retrospectively I would have rather held those instead of the onions.)

11. What’s my favorite food?
ANSWER: Burgers

12. Which branch of the military and which specialty did I work in before leaving for a career in competitive eating?
ANSWER: Navy/Electrician (Navy/Cook earned you three points, as did Marines/Sniper.)

13. What is my girlfriend’s name?
ANSWER: Heather (This is the ONLY correct answer!)

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I discovered a website that allows you to create your own surveys. Because I'm slightly self-absorbed (not really) and this blog bears my name, I made a quiz that tests your knowledge of my competitive eating alter ego, Mega Munch. Check it out here: How well do you know Mega Munch? (Nice title, eh?) When you're done, come on back here and let me know how you did. I think there's a link at the end of the survey. Seriously, it's easy and it's only 12 questions.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Santa Claus is the ultimate mega muncher. He eats this at millions of houses around the world and all in the span of about 24 hours. His reindeer can hold their own too. In a less popular Christmas tradition, my brother and I used to tie carrots to our door knob and sure enough, come morning, they’d be nibbled down to the greenery by Rudolph and the gang.

Sometimes I felt bad for the reindeer. Dragging that sleigh and all those toys around the world, and for what? Carrots tied to a doorknob while the fat man gets chocolate chip cookies and fudge served up to him on a silver platter? Oh well, he’s the one who knows if you’re naughty or nice so I guess a little ass kissing is warranted.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Not as a competitor, of course, but as a drunken, riotous spectator. Sure, the 20,000 seats sold out 24 hours after the sale started, but that's what eBay is for. I tried to find a Wing Bowl 15 logo to include here, but the one on the WIP website can't be copied, so I made my own. That's it on the right.

Doors open at 5 am on February 3rd and the event kicks off at 6, so the plan is for the three of us to take the train from Harrisburg to Philly the night before, meet up with an old Navy buddy I haven't seen in seven years for a night of whatever happens and get down to the Wachovia Center around 4 am for some pre-event debauchery (basically, drinking and other festivities in the parking lot before the contest).

In honor of the eaters who will be performing the next day, Beau (the winner of our recent Taco Bell contest), Carey (the Navy buddy who's been bitten by the CE bug) and myself will be doing a little competitive eating of our own the night before.

I'm pretty stoked about the whole thing. A day off from work, chowing down, hanging out with friends, drinking at dawn for the first time in pretty much ever and watching Steakbellie and the gang gorge on some wings. What's not to love?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

THE CIRCUIT (Episode 6): "Innuendo Break"

Can you give yourself your own nickname? The debate reminds me of the guy on the "office lunch break" Burger King commercials who tries to make up his own catch phrase ("I'm spicyyyy!"). Love those ads. Anyhow, the new Circuit is here. Click to enlarge and view.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Pretty much every one of the 50 people I work with know that I’m a “competitive eater.” It’s hard not to. I work in an advertising agency and we’re a pretty tight bunch so these types of things have a way of getting out there. And that’s cool, but I think at my next job I’ll keep my quirky little eating hobby a secret. (Just to dispel any rumors, no I’m not actively looking for a new job.)

As much fun as I have eating, I just don’t think it scores me any credibility points in the workplace. And for me, where on any given day I’m expected to dole out public relations advice to support multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, credibility is pretty important.

Then there’s the client situations. It could happen in a social setting or during the small talk at the end of the meeting, but on more than one occasion a well-intentioned co-worker has tried to fill an awkward silence or add to a conversation about food by outing me as a competitive eater. In those situations, I usually do everything short of deny it, saying something like “Aw, I just like a good buffet.” or “I think the announcement of the Eagle’s sponsorship would be better timed for early August.”

I'll admit, I haven't really tried to keep it a secret. Taking part in lunch break mini-competitions and full scale contests in the conference room have blown my cover. Not that I had a cover before then.

But the last reason I’d like to keep the fact that I eat entire pizzas in a matter of minutes to myself is because it’d be kind of cool to live this second, secret life on the weekends and be “Dave the mild-mannered PR guy” from Monday through Friday. At least between 8 am and 5 pm.

Friday, December 15, 2006


We're trying to figure out the next workplace-related eating contest that I can suck at. So far we've kicked around the following:


I like this idea because it's more speed-based, but it also involves the dreaded "milk factor." Not quite a whole gallon of milk (we all know what happens with that), but enough to turn the end of the contest into a race to see who can chug the fastest.


Pretty simple: One large pizza, first to finish wins. I like this one because it's pizza.


This one is nice because of the low cost of entry (less than $10) and large variety of food. For this one, we'd gather at a local buffett and, with the help of a kitchen scale, race to see who can eat the most weight of food in one hour. Some interesting pre-contest food studies and strategizing could be in effect here.

As for personal challenges, I'm exploring the logistics of a 24-egg omelet. Well, the logistics are actually pretty easy (buy two dozen eggs and a bunch of other crap). The tough part will be cooking it. As for timing, I'm probably going to give it a go sometime in the middle of January. I remember when I worked at a grocery store in high school I brought home a dozen eggs and scrambled them for dinner that night. Not pretty.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I might have mentioned this before, but with all the calories I consume with food, I can’t afford to be gulping down hundreds of empty calories every day with beverages, especially when there are plenty of no-calorie options out there. Except for beer, of course. But if zero-calorie, full-flavor beer was ever invented that would be very bad news for my liver.

So yeah, I drink mostly diet iced tea and diet sodas. I’ve also been trying to get in the habit of taking a multi-vitamin every morning but I keep getting hung up on the first step (“buy multivitamins”). Which is why I was pretty stoked to read on Slashfood that the good folks at Coca-Cola are launching a version of Diet Coke called “Diet Coke Plus,” which will be fortified with all sorts of vitamins and minerals. Expected arrival date is spring ’07.

And no, this isn’t like the time I wrote about the new “Diet Coke with Bacon.”

Monday, December 11, 2006


The globe trotting carnivorous blogger over at Weird Meats has a recent entry about his dog meat eating exploits in Shanghai. Yeah, dog meat. Awhile ago I created a list of all the meats I’ve consumed in my three decades as a proud animal eater. Dog wasn’t one of them. But I’d probably do it if given the chance.

To be honest, if I were ever kicking around a rain forest in South America and came upon a tribe of cannibals, I’d seriously think about sampling what’s in their fridge too—if they didn’t have me for lunch first. Besides, if you’re chillin’ with some cannibals, you probably don’t want to rock the boat too much.

But I digress. Weird Meats also has photos of the dog meat. It actually reminds of the strips of beef in get in my beef lo mein combo platter (I’m not insinuating anything, just making an observation based on appearance only). In Vietnam and some other countries, dog meat is actually somewhat expensive and eating it, according to a commenter on the Weird Meats post, is an activity reserved mainly for men. Sort of the same way eating cat is something women do. I’d assume.

Here’s a website devoted to dog meat. It’s called Delicious Dogs (Tagline: “Because, let’s face it, dogs are GOOD FOOD!”). Not that I’d know. Stupid societal taboos.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


When Heather is out of town or not home for dinner (i.e. I'm forced to prepare my own evening meal), I've been known to cook up a stack of about 10 pancakes, drench them in butter and Aunt Jemima and settle in for a couple episodes of the Simpson's on TiVo. Two or three times a month, it's also our Sunday morning routine while watching the previous night's Saturday Night Live. I love TiVo...almost as much as I love pancakes.

Friday, December 08, 2006


See, we're kicking ass so often that I forgot to mention the recent performance of Philly's own Wing Kong. About an hour before Steakbellie's on-air display of gurgitory awesomeness, Kong performed a live stunt of his own to get into Wing Bowl. His feat: Eating (drinking?) THREE POUNDS, FIVE OUNCES of baked beans in 43 SECONDS.

Man, I loves me some baked beans. In the oven for a few minutes with a little bacon on top. Maybe a squirt of mustard. Or, in my younger years, a squirt of mayonnaise. (I used to put mayo on everything, including using it as a dip for Doritos.)

Anyhow, enough of that talk. I'm getting nauseous and hungry at the same time. Check out the videos of Steakbellie, Humble Bob and Wing Kong's WIP in-studio performances here (including some vids of some failed stunts). Hopefully they work for you.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


PIZZA - Pennsylvania CrewTo say that this has been a good week for the United Eaters of Pennsylvania would be an understatement.

Let’s start with Humble Bob Shoudt (ranked #5 worldwide). On Saturday, the Philadelphian beat Sonya Thomas (#4) and Joey Chestnut (#2) to win the Carmines Meatball Eating Contest in Atlantic City. It was the first time in nearly a year that Chestnut lost a match to someone not named Kobayashi. Needless to say, it was a stunning achievement that shocked the competitive eating world…but it shouldn’t have. Bob is a machine, capable of beating any eater on the planet.

And today, the kilted pride of the UEPa, Eric “Steakbellie” Livingston (#38 worldwide) appeared on WIP-AM in Philadelphia in an attempt to become the fourth person to qualify for February’s Wing Bowl. To do so, he had to complete an on-air eating stunt. His challenge: eat a two-foot Wawa hoagie, half a gallon of lemonade and a bag of chips in five-and-a-half minutes. He did it—in three minutes and 34 seconds. His previous best time while training for the stunt was 5:23, which means he beat his top time by 33 PERCENT. That’s like a distance runner consistently putting up six minute miles and then waking up one day and breaking the four minute mark. Insane.

After the attempt, the DJ said (I jotted these words while I was listening at work), “What you have done has rivaled anything anyone’s ever done to qualify for Wing Bowl.” Keep in mind, that includes Joey Chestnut’s stunt from last year: drinking a gallon of milk in 42 SECONDS (video). The DJ then likened Steakbellie to Rocky, calling him the great hope of Philadelphia to defend the Wing Bowl title from the barrage of out-of-town eaters hoping to take the title. Last year’s champ was Californian Joey Chestnut.

Joey is getting beat up a lot in this entry. Could that be a sign of what’s to come at Wing Bowl?

Monday, December 04, 2006

THE CIRCUIT (Episode 5): "Naming Rights"

What's in a name? A lot if you're a professional wrestler, NASCAR driver or a competitive eater. This latest installment of THE CIRCUIT is dedicated to a great man with a great nickname, Pat "Pat from Moonachie" Philbin. If this comic strip had a nickname it would be "Click to Enlarge and Read."

Saturday, December 02, 2006


In the end, one taco was all that separated first from third. I’ll dispense with the drama and get right down to the totals. Each of us started with 19 tacos (more on why it wasn’t 20 later) and the contest went the full 30 minutes. We’d all hoped to break the 15 taco mark, but fell just short. Here are the finishers:

1. Beau "La Beauheme" Faulkner – 14 tacos
2. Jeremy “Franken” Steen – 13.5 tacos
3. Dave “Quote Unquote Mega Munch” Shoffner – 13 tacos
4. Mike “Wow, This Sucks” Wilt – 11 tacos
5. Adam “Down the Hatch” Downing – 8 tacos
6. Jeremy “I’m This Many” Steen Jr. – 2 tacos

Because he was only three years old, Jeremy Junior wasn’t eligible to be an official participant, but he ate one of our extra tacos at the beginning of the contest and another at the end, giving him 25 percent of Adam’s total. Not a bad showing for a rookie his age. We can expect to see great things from this kid in the near future.

TACOS - Competitive Eater In Training
Here's Jeremy Junior plowing into his first taco during minute one of the contest. I watched him intently, taking precise mental notes of his technique and style. Later, I tried to incorporate what I'd learned into my own game; looking for any edge I could find. Unfortunately, Jeremy Junior's mother was unwilling to feed me my tacos so I had to use my own hands. I can't say it cost me the contest, but it certainly didn't help.

TACOS - More set up
The Taco Bell folks stiffed us by four hard tacos (seriously, don’t act surprised), so three of us gave a hard taco to Beau and we gave one taco to Jeremy Junior, leaving each of us with 10 soft tacos and 9 hard tacos. Different strategies were employed by all. Ian, an almost participant-turned-taco-eating-strategist suggested stacking two hard tacos inside each other and wrapping that with two more soft tacos, thus creating one giant taco. According to Ian, “That way, you’ll only have to eat 5 tacos.” No one took his advice. Maybe we should have.

TACOS - The Five Amigos
Here we are getting ready for something that will probably haunt our bodies through the weekend and well into Monday. From left to right: Jeremy, Adam, Beau, me and Mike. Halfway through his first taco, Mike would set the tone for the next 29 and a half minutes by exclaiming with a full mouth, "Wow, this sucks!" He would also throw off my meticulous taco counting method and cause me to lapse into a late contest panic by slipping an extra hard taco onto my plate. His trickery might have actually helped me eat faster.

TACOS - The Champ
Our champ, Beau, rests peacefully after the contest. At about the 25 minute mark, Jeremy and I took note of Beau’s one taco lead and knew that it would come down to a few last minute bites at the buzzer. But Beau pulled through, thanks partly to some inspirational coaching by Scott and his smart use of hot sauce throughout the contest.

Congratulations to all (we're already planning our next event) and thanks to Megan for serving as the contest emcee/timekeeper, Jan the photographer, Joel the videographer and Heather the taco runner. A video of contest highlights will be posted sometime in the near future. Check out a full set of the photos here, including Adam "The Red" Downing, Brian getting spooked, my meat sweats and a nice money shot.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Like a runaway bus careening toward this car (don't we all wish), the UEPa continues to gain momentum. Billy from the superb foodie website SuperSizedMeals.com has a posting about our exploits at Denny's last month. Also don't forget to check out his entry about Pat Bertoletti's manhandling of the 5-pound burger at the Fieldhouse in Joliet, IL. It reinforces something I've known for quite a while now: I SUCK! (Just kid...no, really, I suck.)