Joey Chestnut can gobble down, in a hurry, just about any kind of food that is put in front of him. Regardless of the shape or the heat it delivers.
Every one knows about the hot dogs, with Chestnut a perennial champ of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 in Coney Island.
But tacos are no problem, either, as he showed again Saturday on day 2 of the Taco Truck Throwdown at Chukchansi Park.
Chestnut gave those on hand a show when he stuffed down 92 carne asada tacos in 8 minutes to win the World Taco Eating Championship at Throwdown 7.
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“The heat was really hard so I was sweating a little bit more than I should,” said Chestnut, who pocketed $4,000 for the win and said he’ll return next summer to defend his title. “I had little deep coughs where it came out a little bit. I wasn’t burping or anything; the food wasn’t settling fast enough, but it worked out.”
And if you think that means Chestnut didn’t get to enjoy what was put in front of him?
“The food was delicious,” he said.
Chestnut already had displayed the full scope of his taco talents in May by devouring 126 in 8 minutes to set a world record at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minn. He won $2,000 that day, breaking the old record of 103.
And actually, he was proven across all taco disciplines.
According to the Major League Eating website, Chesnut has eaten 54 brain tacos in 8 minutes; 30 fish tacos in 5 minutes; and 53 soft beef tacos from Taco Bell in 10 minutes.
Chestnut said he had a goal of hitting the century mark Saturday, but he didn’t know the tacos would be seasoned. If he had, he likely would have practiced.
Such is the professionalism one needs to bring to the table as a Major League eater.
“That’s the biggest thing in practice,” he said. “It makes it easier to find a rhythm and digest it. If you don’t know what it’s going to taste like it’s hard to practice, so practice is pointless. I kind of winged it.
“Next year I’ll have an idea what they’re going to taste like. I’ll be practicing a little bit more.”
The main competition came from world No. 2 competitive eater Matt Stone. But midway through the contest, Chestnut’s confidence grew when he noticed Stonie “slowing down.”
Stonie could only manage 83. Slacker.
“I had a pretty good feeling,” Chestnut said. “I was looking at Matt and he was slowing down and I was like, ‘I got this.’
“I had a lot of concern. Matt Stonie is a great eater. He’s really fast for an 8-minute contest. The crowd was definitely on my side. I just had fun.”
Taco Throwdown’s fastest eaters
Final results from the speed-eating contest at Taco Throwdown 7, with name, city of residence and total tacos consumed.
1. Joey Chestnut, San Jose, 92
2. Matt Stonie, San Jose, 83
3. Miki Sudo, Las Vegas, 70
4. Steve Hendry, Dixon, 49
5. Michelle Lesco, Tucson, Ariz., 46
6. Zach Armas, Clovis, 43
7. Pablo Martinez, Tulare, 33
8. Rich Franco, Fresno, 30
9. Aaron Stroope, San Jose, 27
10. Mary Bowers, Beverly Hills, 20
11 Sabrina Quezada, Perris, 9