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The Bear equals Bacci record

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted September 25, 2012
the Bear wins Bacci Pizza in Chicago
Chomping champ: The Bear (second from left) savours success at Bacci. © Bacci Pizzeria quite possibly.

After giving Takeru Kobayashi a run for his money in Barrie, Jamie 'the Bear' McDonald has now stormed to victory at the Bacci Jumbo Slice Eating Contest in Chicago.

This past Saturday (22/9/12) saw more than 60 gurgitators flocking to the original Bacci Pizzeria on Taylor Street in Chicago's Little Italy to flex their jaws at the 10th Annual Bacci Pizza Fest Jumbo Slice Eating Contest, a 15-minute all-you-can-eat gobathon with a top prize of $1,500 (£924).

However, despite their best efforts none could match the masticatory mastery of the Bear, who chomped down a total of 7.5 jumbo slices, or pretty much a whole 30" (76.2 cm) pizza, to equal the record set by Rich 'the Locust' LeFevre back in 2005.

Meanwhile, Craig Reed clocked up a total of 4.5 slices to win silver, with John Mistretta placing third with a tally of 4.11.

"I am happy with my performance," the Bear exclusively tells the Rake & Herald by email.

"I won and I tied the record set by Rich."

"I was shooting to best it but didn't quite make it."

"Just like the week before [in Barrie] I think jaw endurance was my limiting factor and 15 minutes is a long contest for chewing pizza."

"Amazingly, the Bear's still technically a rookie," says Rake & Herald fashion editor, London cabbie and self-appointed competitive eating pundit Kok Wang.

"The thing, though, that gets me is just how calmly he eats – 'laconic' I want to call it."

"Some gurgitators jump around like Kriss Kross when they're eating, but the Bear, he looks completely focussed and totally unflustered."

"He seems to set himself a rhythm and then just sticks to it."

"If you don't believe me, have a butcher's at the following vid he uploaded to YouTube and then watch the one where he wins the Fried Mushroom Eating Championship."

"I'm telling you, the Bear's like a machine."

"Unfazed, unflagging and utterly unstoppable."

"A bit like Henry Rollins in his Black Flag days."

"Except he doesn't sing or jump about the stage to hardcore punk music."

"Which is probably a good thing 'cos that could be a distraction and nothing distracts the Bear when he's got a chomp on."

"Like I say, he's a fackin' munchin' machine."

the Bear wins Bacci Pizza in Chicago
Chomping champ: The Bear (second from left) savours success at Bacci. © Bacci Pizzeria quite possibly.

As someone who has to share an office with Kok, I'm not naturally inclined to agree with him on stuff, except the need for more Scotch obviously.

However, when it comes to the Bear being unstoppable once he gets 'into the zone', there's evidence to suggest that Kok's onto something.

For instance, as reported by the Illinois-based Northbrook Patch, the Bear recently walked into Real Urban Barbecue in Highland Park and casually ordered a light snack known as the Hungry Home Wrecker.

This 7 lb (3.2 kg) sarnie, the paper explains, consists of a 10" bun filled with pulled pork, sliced Texan sausage, assorted pickles and half a litre of coleslaw.

Apparently, these tasty little morsels cost $30 apiece but if you can scoff one in 40 minutes, they rip up the bill and you get it for gratis.

While many had tried, none had succeeded.

Until, that is, the Bear popped in unannounced and did it in 25.

What's more, after polishing it all off, the Bear, so the paper notes, "sat in his car for a few hours before heading to Highwood to eat 10 taquitos".

Not bad, eh?

But that's just one example among many.

Heck, the day before equalling the Locust's Bacci record, the Bear swung by Chicago's BadHappy Poutine Shop and promptly ate everything on the menu.

In 47 minutes.

All in all, it's been a pretty busy few weeks for the Bear and as such few could fault him for putting his feet up for a bit.

So how does he intend to spend this coming weekend?

At home in Connecticut with a copy of Gardener's World and a packet of Bombay Mix?

Maybe, but that's not what he told us.

Yep, that's right.

On Saturday, the Bear'll be chomping down alongside the likes of Eric 'Silo' Dahl and Stephanie 'Xanadu' Torres at the All Pro Eating-sanctioned National Peach Fried Pie Eating Championship in Dallas, Texas before nipping over to Las Cruces in New Mexico for Sunday's Second Annual Fire in the Whole Enchilada Eating Contest.

He gets around, does our Jamie.

But somehow he never seems to lose his appetite.

You can watch more of the Bear's videos at his YouTube channel here.

See also Kobayashi keeps PIE crown, posted 15/9/12.


1) Sadly, we don't have the full Bacci Pizza Fest Jumbo Slice Eating Contest results to hand but thanks to a bit of digging round the interweb and a gander at the excellent Eat Feats website, we're pretty much 100% certain that the Top Three (with prize money) was as follows:

1) Jamie 'the Bear' McDonald (7.5 jumbo slices; $1,500);

2) Craig Reed (4.5; $750); and

3) John Mistretta (4.1; $250).

Well done to all those who took part. Sorry we aren't able to name you all but maybe next year, eh?

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