Chat with Joey Chestnut
Chestnut bested Takeru Kobayashi in the July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest and became the No. 1 ranked competitive eater in the world. Now, Chestnut will try to hold off Pat Bertoletti, who qualified for the hamburger championship by eating 85 burgers. Chestnut ate 87 in qualifying. The Krystal Square Off IV World Hamburger Eating Championship will air on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, live from Chattanooga, Tenn.
Send your questions now and join Chestnut in The Show on Thursday at noon ET.
Buzzmaster (11:59 AM)
Joey will be here any minute!
Buzzmaster (12:00 PM)
Joey will be here soon, so keep sending in your questions!
Joey Chestnut (12:02 PM)
Hey what's up, I am happy to be here! I love getting feedback from you folks as far as competitive eating!
Were you shocked when you beat Kobayashi?
Joey Chestnut (12:03 PM)
I went in expecting a huge number, 66/67. I had talked to Kobayashi in previous years and he told me he did not think that the human body could eat more than 50, so I felt very positive going in from a mental standpoint. I felt confident.
In the competitve eating world, which food is considered the toughest to eat in a competition?
Joey Chestnut (12:05 PM)
Wings are considered the toughest because it goes by weight and it is hard to get a lot of meat off the bone. The bone gets in the way a lot and you have to always adjust your technique. But the hot dog eating is always the biggest competition, and there is so much pressure at that contest.
Jason (Scarsdale NY)
how does one 'train' for this sorta thing?
Joey Chestnut (12:06 PM)
I often compare it to the way a marathoner or body builder trains. You build up a tolerance, and it can take months. Every week I do a practice contest, and get my body used to that much food.
Kraig (New York)
A belated contgrats on the Hot Dog win. I was wondering if dosctors have ever told you that competitive eating is bad for your health?
Joey Chestnut (12:08 PM)
They have told me there are risks, but the main risk is getting fat. You cannot lose track of calories, so i am very disciplined in my diet when I am not in a competition; I do count calories all the time. Going into a contest I do not eat solid food and take in minimal calories for days so I am hungry. After a contest I try to eat fairly healthy. One doctror said I was at risk for diabetes and another one said I was not at risk. There is really not that much research out there.
After a competition with a certain food, say wings, are you capable of looking at wings/eating wings right afterwards, or does it take a while to be able to eat that food item again?
Joey Chestnut (12:09 PM)
It does not take me too long. I love to eat! I don't think have ever gotten sick of eating a food, unless it is bad food. I once ate some bad crab cakes and it took me a while to recover!
I have my first eating contest coming up and I was wondering: Is it easy to cheat in an eating contest? Does it happen a lot? What are some techniques?
Joey Chestnut (12:12 PM)
It is pretty easy. People are tricky and there are some interesting ways. People in hot dog eating contests can put hot dogs from their plate onto another persons plate or hide a bun in their water. Or people who eat very messy are hard to keep track of as far as how much they have actually eaten. But at the highest level, you are being watched pretty closely, so the real winner always emerges.
Competition aside, what is your favorite food to eat?
Joey Chestnut (12:13 PM)
I love Italian food, such as pasta or lasagna. And I even like a good pizza. That is what my mom raised me on, so that's what I feel natural eating!
How upset does your stomach get after a big competition?
Joey Chestnut (12:15 PM)
Sometimes it is not that bad. This year at the 4th of July I ate 66 hot dogs, and my tolerance was built up over such a long time my body was used to it and it felt the same as if I had eaten 20 hot dogs in my first contest. It is a matter of building up tolerance and getting your muscles to adapt. But in 2005 at the hot dog contest I went in a little dehydrated and I did not want to drink water because it takes up capacity and after that I was very unhappy. I got a little heat stroke and my body was not doing so well after that.
Did you ever look to pick up a Pepto Bismol endorsement?
Joey Chestnut (12:16 PM)
I have been hoping for that! My managers have said they are looking, but we are still waiting. But I would love to do that!
Frank the Tank
Is it true that it is better to be fit instead of fat for a competition? If so, why?
Joey Chestnut (12:17 PM)
You do not have to be skinny, you can be a little overweight, but you must be healthy, because you are pushing your body. You need to have good cardio and control your breathing. But I do not buy into the belt of fat theory.
Marc (Port Chester, NY)
Are eating competitions harder when the food is very spicy?
Joey Chestnut (12:19 PM)
For me it is. It is always easier for me to eat food I eat on a normal basis, and I rarely eat a lot of spicy food. So for me, yes. Sweet contests are also hard because of the amount of sugar and your body gets a huge rush and you can get sick to your stomach.
Cody (Minneapolis, MN)
Have you been banned from any "all you can eat" buffet restaurants?
Joey Chestnut (12:20 PM)
No not yet! Usually they enjoy my presence.
Are you good friends with any of the other people on the eating circuit?
Joey Chestnut (12:22 PM)
Actually most of us are really close because we travel together, party together, and help each other train and motivate each other. So we are really close.
Chris (Orlando, FL)
How often do you wear the mustard belt?
Joey Chestnut (12:24 PM)
Anytime I have company over my house! But I do put it on once a week, because it is the biggest prize in competitive eating and I don't plan on losing it for a while.
I know this will sound dumb, but are there drinking contests? And I don't mean alcohol ones like in college, I mean are there like Pepsi drinking contest?
Joey Chestnut (12:25 PM)
There are no real sanctioned drinking contests. But on the road we do challenge each other by seeing how fast we can drinka gallon of milk.
Sounds like Petey is looking for a career change.
So if you walked into one of those places offering a 2-pound t-bone steak, you could put it away without a problem?
Joey Chestnut (12:26 PM)
No problem at all. Unless it really tasted bad.
I know this question sounds funny but I am totally serious. Has anyone ever died from competitive eating ie choking?
Joey Chestnut (12:29 PM)
Not in a sanctioned event, but there have been radio station contest where people have died. There was a woman who drank too much water once, I believe two gallons, in an unsanctioned contest. But in sanctioned contest it is pretty safe, and there are always EMTs there just in case. And as far as choking, the muscles in my throat are so strong I cannot imagine choking.
Does drinking watr during a contest help digest the food or does it just make you fuller and tougher to eat as much?
Joey Chestnut (12:30 PM)
It is necessary in a contest. We use it to help swallow and it gets the food to the bottom of our stomach. I like to use warm water because it loosens up the stomach and makes digestions easier.
Joey Chestnut (12:33 PM)
Thanks for chatting with me today! I am prepared for the Krystal Square Off and I am hoping to beat Kobayashi's record!