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Stephanie says

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted March 19, 2015
xanadu takes on the bear
Burger battle: Xanadu (in the red hat) takes 'em on. © Taste of Hamburg-er Festival

All Pro Eating's Stephanie 'Xanadu' Torres takes time out to talk to the R&H.

This past December 29, while many of us were gearing up for a punk-rock-infused New Year's booze up down the Leg Iron, well, me and few of the other Rake & Herald writers anyway, All Pro Eating's (APE) Stephanie 'Xanadu' Torres was busy wolfing her way through a huge great pile of chicken wings at the Hot Chicken Eating World Championship in Nashville, Tennessee.

When the bell rang after eight minutes of high-speed precision scoffing, 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) of wings lay stripped and lifeless before her, a total that placed her third behind David 'Tiger Wings and Things' Brunelli (4 lbs) and Molly Schuyler (4.75 lbs).

While, obviously, ever serious gurgitator takes their place at the table with the aim of winning gold, we reckon that wasn't too untidy a way to wrap up 2014, but how does Xanadu feel the year as a whole went?

Let's ask her, shall we?

"Last year wasn't the best for me competing-wise (actually, the past couple haven't been and I'm not upset about it one bit!), but other than that, the travelling and the events were adventurous as always," Xanadu exclusively facebookifies the Rake & Herald in a exclusive facebookification with the Rake & Herald.

"I seem to run into problems or detours when it comes to travel but I run with it like I do most things that fall in my way and it always makes for a good short story."

"And I love telling a good story."

And one such good story occurred in June 2012 when she boshed 71 cupcakes in eight minutes to land top gong and wedge worth $750 (£509) at the Deno's Wonder Wheel Cupcake Eating Contest in Brooklyn, Noi Yoik.

"I really enjoyed the cupcake contest," she says.

"It was indeed one of my greatest moments and times."

"After that, I had a bad incident that caused my capacity to drop and speed to change."

While all here at the Rake & Herald are truly sorry to hear this, Xanadu remains stoic.

"It's all gravy, baby," she says.

"I still have a great time just being invited to events and eating all the foods with the best people to eat them with!"

"As of now, I've lowered the amount I do drastically."

"I am really happy with what is going on in my life and I really want to hold on to that."

"Plus, it's not taking travelling out of my life and it's amazing."

"So as for this year, I'll just see what comes my way!!"

And when it comes to the different digestional disciplines that she could face over the coming months of 2015, Xanadu remains equally unfazed.

"I'm down to eat pretty much any food in a contest," she reports.

"I'm not afraid to try things I haven't [done before] and I think I'd even do black liquorice once, even though that's the one thing I'd most likely avoid."

xanadu with a big burger
Light lunch: I think she quite likes burgers. © Stephanie Torres

So how did this Las Cruces, New Mexico-based bouche battler first get into the art/sport/science of clock-based grub bashing?

"I got into the sport after my cousin and a few family members wanted me to do more challenges after I told them about a different challenge I did with a friend," Xanadu explains.

"I thought it would be fun to do some more (not thinking I'd meet anyone doing this or get a little bit known) and so I did some with a friend while travelling, as well as doing some with my roommate, again, on travels."

"I really like just being in new places or even taking a weekend trip to mountains or hiking places or lakes."

Since entering the alimentary arena in 2010, Xanadu (click here for her full Eat Feats bib sheet) has crossed jaws with some of the biggest names in gladiatorial engobulation, including, among many others, Takeru 'the Tsunami' Kobayashi; Matt 'Megatoad' Stonie; Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas; Jamie 'the Bear' McDonald; Michelle 'Cardboard Shell' Lesco; and, of course, Rake & Herald competitive eating editor Naader 'Freak8r' Reda.

So are there any gurgitators she particularly looks up to or who have inspired her during her craw-cramming career?

The answer, it seems, is no.

"To be honest, I don't admire and am not inspired by any gurgitators," she says, clearly never having watched that Rake bloke come a bollocks-awful last in poutine.

"I've never seen any of them as my lesser or greater or someone of inspiration with regards to competitive eating."

"We are all individuals with many other skills and talents that we can provide and all on our own journeys."

"I think the part that does strike me in a good way is knowing that they are doing what they enjoy on top of living their own separate lives."

"It's wonderful to see people have that unique hobby that they still engage in."

"It's a diversity of ages, backgrounds and outside interests."

"Just don't cause harm or purposely try to ruin it for someone else and I'm all good."

Wise words indeed, but does she have any advice for my mate Cheeky Monkey, who's thinking of trying his hand at the sport?

"Just have fun and keep it fun," she says.

"If you do well, then great, but if you don't, don't let it stop you if it makes you smile and laugh."

"I'm not the best dancer, but I'll still try to swing!"

Xanadu, of course, is well known for the array of fetching hats she wears in contests but do they help her wage war against the dinner table and should Cheeky wear one as well?

"Hats are just a thing I got into," she reveals.

"I have way more than have been seen during competitive eating."

"I have many looks and I think you'd need to follow me with a camera just to see them all!"

"But hats seem to be part of them."

"They don't necessarily influence me, but they top off the vibe for the day!"

So I'll tell him to get a bowler or a stove pipe then.

I reckon they'd suit him.

xanadu hat
But it's not just burgers, you know: Xanadu in one of her many hats. © Tim Cain

According to some researchers on the far fringes of science, there are actually things out there in the Multiverse other than competitive eating, including something called 'music'.

Indeed, from reading Xanadu's FaceBook posts, we reckon she's got some pretty good taste in that department, so what are her favourite bands or musical genres?

"I can't really say who or what is my favourite band/type of music," she says.

"I have a very wide foundation to all that I engage in."

"My infinite love for music, sound, instruments and lyrics has me endlessly finding new artists but also going back to the oldies, classics and influential music."

"There is something about every genre and era that one can take from and appreciate and connect with."

"It's about what you feel from it, how it makes you feel, what it means to you and connecting with it."

"You can also feel if the artist has passion in his or her work, too."

"That is something I need expressed because I'm a very passionate person."

"The more that it's not just a good beat and sound or rhythm, the better the experience you'll have with those songs or genre."

"Dating can be fun and all, but when you really love someone, they suddenly become the most attractive in your eyes and you feel everything a thousand times much more."

"But not every music is for everyone and I can be sounding just like some weirdo."

"But no judgement, we all are who we are and we have our own things that trigger us."

But Xanadu's interests outside of gurgitation don't stop there.

"I enjoy discovering new music and poets, especially local so I can support them up front."

"I write quite a bit and it's nice to always get a new fan."

"I'm learning to dance because I have always had an interest in it and have had fun with it over the years."

"Driving the more scenic parts of the state on time off is great, especially with my closest friends, and telling stories or creating stories on spot – I tend to be the one to tell stories that gets them laughing or even adding their own two cents in."

"I'll also create dishes or meals on spot and my best buds seem to love it every time so that's awesome!"

"I love to cook and eat and create meals that burst in your mouth, flooding your taste buds with that jump 'n' jive combination of flavours!"

Fair play, ma'am.

But enough of the chitchat.

Let's get down to some real brass tacks.

What's her favourite colour and does she have a power animal?

"I love teal and shades of green and shades of red," she reveals.

"I simply love colour, though."

"Not sure what my power animal is."

"Maybe Taz-Devil."

"There is so much more to that magnificent creature than people know."

"Also, Taz was always my fave."

So there.

Remember you read it here first on the food-fighting-tastic Rake & Herald and not the bloody Guardian.

So shove that in your pipe, Mr Murdoch.

Or does he own that other one?

Many thanks indeed for your time and answers, Xanadu! All the best for the year ahead and remember, the Rake & Herald will be rooting for you every munch of the way!

See also Xanadu eats to the beat, posted 2/12/13.

Are you a competitive eater and up for an interview? If so, send us an email or drop us a message via FaceBook or Twitter. We'd certainly love to hear from you, so get in touch now, why dontcha?

Sandi Toxic
was raised by wolves inside a disused clay pit near Lanjeth. You can befriend her on FaceBook here. She is still quite feral.

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