October 14, 2012
Competitors chow down at poutine eating championship
By Terry Davidson, QMI Agency
TORONTO - If your gastronomical dreams are filled with images of fresh-cut fries topped with piping-hot gravy and rich and rubbery cheese curds, then downtown Toronto was the place to be Saturday.
It was late that afternoon 15 competitive eaters from all around North America faced off at Yonge-Dundas Square. They gathered for the 3rd annual Smoke’s Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship, where a total of $5,000 in prize money was up for grabs with proceeds from the event going to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Competitors included New York’s Tim Janus, who once ate 141 pieces of sushi in 6 minutes. He joined Chicago’s Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, who holds 38 world records. Not to mention Philadelphia’s Bob Shoudt, known for once downing 23 pounds of salmon chowder in 6 minutes - with a spoon.
The event also featured two Canadians: Barrie native Meredith “The Deep Fried Diva” Boxberger, 27, and Kitchener’s Ben Do, 24.
Both competitors knew they had a challenge ahead of them.
“It’s a pretty stacked field,” said Boxberger as she prepped for the contest. “I’m going to try and keep up with the big boys ... Where I’ll end up, we’ll see.”
Do, who went into competitive eating after his cousin remarked that he ate too fast at the dinner table, said he was “hoping to make some money” at Saturday’s event, despite the “bigger field, bigger pressure.”
In ten minutes, each competitor had to get through as many snack-sized boxes of poutine as possible, with each box weighing around half a pound. Many bobbed back and forth like boxers as the psyched themselves for the contest. Others listened to music on headphones, each one getting into his or her own competitive head-space.
In the end, Boxberger finished in 6th and took home $200 for polishing off 11 boxes of poutine in the time allowed. Do, unfortunately, finished deeper in the field.
World champion eater Joey Chestnut took first place and $2,000 after finishing 19 boxes, and Tim Janus and Bob Shoudt tied for second with 17 boxes.