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The Great Gavonne bares all

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted February 09, 2013
jo 'the great gavonne' rose
Jo Rose: The Great Gavonne. © Jo Rose

He's outspoken, he's controversial and he says he's the "worst competitive eater in the world". Ladies and gentlemen, the Great Gavonne...

Brooklyn-born Jo 'the Great Gavonne' Rose is no ordinary gurgitator.

There's something special about Jo.

Something very special indeed.

Unique in fact.

For in his own words, he is the "world's worst competitive eater".

A mighty big claim, but can he back it up?

"I am the world's worst because I usually finished last (except for amateurs) in contests," he exclusively tells the Rake & Herald by email absolutely f--king ages ago but 'cos we went offline for a bit we've only now got around to writing up the interview (sorry, Jo).

"Later it took on a new meaning when I was considered the worst person, personality-wise," he adds.

'Gavonne', by the way, is American-Italian slang for 'dirtbag' or 'lowlife'.

Well, that's what it reckons here, anyway.

"It's been over a year, close to two since I competed," he continues.

"I am banned by [Major League Eating (MLE)] and word of mouth usually means I am not accepted in local contests."

"I was to compete in a sausage contest in October but I wasn't feeling well that day and was not sure if All Pro Eating, which hosted the event, would have let me compete if I showed up, even though I was approved beforehand."

But when he does compete, what sort of stuff does the Great Gavonne like to shove down his gob?

"I love hot dogs, they are my favourite," he confides, noting that he appeared in two Nathan's qualifiers in Queens, Noi Yoik for MLE back in 2008 and 2009.

However, while he may be a Rose by name, he's not much into his dead plant matter.

"I don't like most vegetables and would never eat them or pickles," he says.

"I mostly do meat."

So how did this 54-year-old building maintenance worker get into the greatest sport on Earth if it wasn't to chobble back copious amounts of freebie sprouts and turnips?

"I got into [competitive eating (CE)] because I was interested in a female eater, who later put me in jail."

Or 'gaol' if you prefer the British spelling for chokey, although the American one would score you more points in Scrabble.

J is worth eight, you see.

"I am interested in CE as a cultural phenomenon but have an axe to grind because of the way I was unfairly treated by [certain organisation's we're not going to name in case they try to sue us] regarding the circumstances surrounding my going to jail."

"Also, competitive eaters are an easy target to make fun of."


"I don't like most of them since they can't take a joke and have blocked me on Facebook and Twitter."

However, he does like 'the Lovely' Juliet Lee, Joel 'the Cannon' Podelsky and, of course, the Rake & Herald's own favourite competitive eater, the fantastic, the wonderful, the super-flippin'-superhumanly-fan-flippin'-wonderful Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas.

Furthermore, he's also a big fan of Takeru 'Kobi' Kobayashi, is "pals with" and admires "enormously" Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut and has "a big crush on" Stephanie 'Xanadu' Torres.

Hear that, Steph?

Get your coat, love, you've pulled!

But there's more to the Great Gavonne than meets the eye.

In fact, there's a load of stuff that meets the ear.

Yep, that's right, not only is our Jo the world's worst competitive eater, he's also something of a Hey Joe axe-wielding wild child mentalist metalist guitarist.

Or something.

"I play mostly hard rock, stuff like Deep Purple, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath," he shouts above the din of crashing drums, which he also plays1.

"It's mostly a hobby now, although I still write songs," he wails down a microphone2, adding that while he "used to play in bands when [he] was younger" he may well put another one together sometime this year.

But music's not all that floats his boat.

"My other interests include pornography and video archiving."

A bit like Rake & Herald fashion editor and self-appointed competitive eating pundit Kok Wang, then.

Except for the video archiving.

Kok just likes bongo mags.

And scud flicks, of course.

To read the Great Gavonne's CE Confidential blog, click here. Meanwhile, to see him slap his guitar about, have a butcher's at his YouTube channel. Furthermore, you can also check out his Twitter feed by clicking this. Top stuff, Jo. Thanks for answering our questions and apologies for the delay in writing it all up!

If you're a competitive eater and you fancy a profile/interview-thing, drop us an email. Just don't hold your breath. We were meant to run this one sodding months ago and there are still about 80 people we promised to send questions to but haven't. Not that it's our fault, of course. We blame society. Or the economy. Or something. Thatcher probably.


1) Not really. The interview was by email, remember?

2) Not really. The interview was by email, remember?

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