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The greatest prize of all

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted October 15, 2012
poutine eating championship toronto
Match the snap: Jaws and Notorious B.O.B. in 2011; the poutine trophy; poutine. All three © MLE

Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut has unseated Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti at the Third Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto.

Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut has yet again proved himself to be the globe's most gifted gurgitator by publicly defrocking Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti of his robes of office at the Third Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship, held this past Saturday (13/10/12) in Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada.

Deep Dish, officially recognised as the Rake & Herald's favourite unicorn enthusiast, first won his poutine eating crown at the inaugural instalment of the event back in 2010 when he gulletised a whopping 26 half-pound (226.7 g) boxes (viz 13 pounds; 5.9 kg by weight) in 10 minutes, so setting a belly-busting record that stands intact to this day.

He then extended his mandate as poutine overlord the following year with a gob count of 19.5 boxes.

However, his tummy tally of 16.75 boxes at this year's all-you-can-eat gobathon was simply not enough to stave off the pounding poutine punches thrown at him by the San Jose mastication maestro.

At the bell, with the crowd in awe, Jaws emerged triumphant, a full 19 boxes of chewed-up poutine packed away inside his elastic belly of distinction.

But, in the words of Jimmy Cricket, there's more.

Not only was Deep Dish dethroned, but he was relegated to fourth place by the stereophonic chompings of Tim 'Eater X' Janus (who the previous Sunday (7/10/12) dramatically outjawed Jaws in a chilli-tastic DC chowdown shocker that literally rocked the world as though it were an unsuspecting duckling hit by the wake of a speeding powerboat) and last year's poutine silver medallist Bob 'Notorious B.O.B.' Shoudt, both of whom finished with 17 full boxes crammed down their craws.

Meanwhile, Matt Bonanno placed fifth with 13.75, which ain't bad at all considering this was apparently only his third contest to date.

Nice one, Matt.

And hat tips to Ben Do and Bonanno Fan for making us aware of this via the ever excellent Eat Feats website.

Cheers, both of you.


Bloody hell!

It turns out that Deep Dish was eating with a broken knee.

According to Major League Eating (MLE), which sanctioned the event, he was involved in some kind of late night bicycle accident.

Initially, it looked as though he would have to miss the chowdown altogether.

However, on hearing the news, Jaws, MLE reports, expressed his belief that "a champion has the right to defend his title".

As such, he promptly changed his travel plans; flew from California to Deep Dish's home town of Chicago; hired a van; and then drove Deep Dish and himself to Toronto, arriving at the venue with just literally minutes if not seconds to spare before the eating was due to start.

Amazingly, Deep Dish stood throughout the entire 10-minute competition despite having "a full-leg cast".

As MLE puts it: "This was the hour when glory called the bravest by name."

"Chestnut and Bertoletti answered."

Fair play to the both of them.

True heroes and no mistake.

Jaws, we salute you for your honourable and selfless actions.

Deep Dish, we salute you for your bravery and stoicism.

All at the Rake & Herald wish you a full and speedy recovery.

Get well soon.

The world needs its Deep Dish.

The full and moving story can be read here.

End of update.

We checked with a bloke down the pub who quickly confirmed our hunch that Jaws' victory in Toronto is undoubtedly the biggest thing to ever happen in the history of humanity.


Firstly, we bought him a packet of crisps and a pint of ESB.

Secondly, more than simply pinching Deep Dish's crown, much more than extracting revenge on Eater X and even more than attaining eternal glory and a winner's cheque for C$2,000 ($2,041; £1,270), Jaws has now got his hands on the greatest prize of all: the Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship Trophy.

And believe me, it's a beauty, a perfectly proportioned amalgam of 80s electronic detritus with a hand tastefully thrusting a chip-topped fork towards the heavens.

It is art.

It is Dada.

It is sculpture.

It is magnificent.

It is beyond compare.

It is the greatest trophy ever.

But what the bloody hell is poutine?

poutine eating trophy
A thing of beauty: The greatest prize of all. © MLE

Well, never having laid eyes on the stuff, let alone tasted it, let me explain.

Not to be confused with the Irish firewater known as poitín, poutine, as far as we can work out without getting too hung-up on specifics, is a Québécois fast-food dish consisting of hand-cut chips (or 'fries' as we Brits don't call them1) covered with gravy and cheese curds that is otherwise only found in high-end restaurants with a minimum of two but usually three Michelin stars.

Oh hang, I think I read that wrong.


How poutine got to end up in Toronto, Ontario we can only guess.

However, if you have a look round the highly entertaining Smoke's website, starting with the bit about who Smoke is, things might just start to fall into place.

Especially with regard to that fantastic trophy.

But what's it like to eat poutine competitively?

"Poutine is a quantity play," MLE chairman and MC par excellence George Shea exclusively told the Rake & Herald when we belled him up on the blower the other day.

"It's not as easy to eat by any stretch as it would be to eat chilli."

After all, "depending on how the chilli's cut up", this latter food can essentially be slurped down with a spoon, as was the case when Eater X out-chowed Jaws two Sundays ago.

But chips, cheese curds and gravy together in a half-pound box?

Against the clocks?

What's the gurgitator's take on it?

Cue one of our all-time favourite alimentary athletes.

Ladies and gentlemen, officially recognised by MLE as "the most punctual competitive eater in the world", Ms Larell Marie 'the Real Deal' Mele.

"I loved it!" she tweets us exclusively, explaining that she was "pleasantly surprised [on] tasting it for the first time".

Another gurgitator who clearly enjoyed the wholesome flavours, textures and aromas associated with this particular manna is longstanding Rake & Herald reader and regular triathlete Yasir 'the Doggy Bag' Salem.

"The poutine was so delicious!" he also tweets us in yet another world exclusive, adding that if he could he "would have more right now".

Supporting George Shea's assertion that competitive poutine eating is anything but a cakewalk, the Doggy Bag adds that the chowdown, his first stab at the discipline, "was really tough".

Undeterred and like a true hero, he vows that such piffling matters won't put him off in future.

In fact, he "will be back next year" for more.

Fair play, we say.

Echoing the Doggy Bag's sentiments, Mary 'I Love 'Em Hot!' Bowers likewise exclusively reports to the Rake & Herald via a direct twitterification: "I had a great time in Canada."

"Forty-two degrees [5.5°C] and rainy – the poutine eating contest was for the strongest and bravest of competitors."

"My performance was on the low side but still a personal best in poutine."

"Can't wait to top it next year."

So poutine is clearly a popular if challenging food to chomp with the seconds ticking.

But there's much more to poutine than meets the mouth, with George Shea also noting the cultural context in which this particular gobathon needs to be seen.

"Some [Canadians] view poutine with great pride and some people view it as 'Oh, that's not our real food. We don't love poutine'," he told us over the dog and bone.

"There's a cultural gap in some ways which creates a little tension."

"As a result, it's a very hotly contested event and it's an event that captures the attention of the entire Canadian nation."

"So that one's a lot of fun."

Two Canadians that clearly fall into the former camp of poutine appreciators are Meredith 'Deep Fried Diva' Boxberger and Ben Do.

At this year's eat meet, the Barrie-based Deep Fried Diva wasted no time in upping her gob count from 8.2 boxes scoffed last year to a new figure of 11.33.

In an ironic twist of fortune, though, she actually slipped down the winners' rostrum (not literally fortunately) from fourth to sixth despite her upping her poutine put-away rate (PPAR) by nearly 40%.

This, we believe, can be attributed to the presence of both Jaws and Eater X, who were absent from the table 12 months ago.

But if the Deep Fried Diva's feeling hard done-by (which we doubt because she always comes across as a rather friendly and smiley sort of person), spare a thought for her compatriot from Kitchener.

At last year's gobfest, Ben Do came third with 9.5 boxes under his belt.

This past Saturday, however, he successfully upped his PPAR by nearly 16% only to place seventh with 11 boxes dispatched.

Mind you, he was in pretty good company because that was exactly the same number of boxes the Doggy Bag ate.

Oh, and 'Buffalo' Jim Reeves.

And also Micah 'Wing Kong' Collins.

The Real Deal, meanwhile, proved herself to be far more individualistic, screaming boo sucks to dull conformity by necking 10.5 boxes instead.

Although this may well have been more the result of a clerical error than the spirit of punk rock residing within her.

"I didn't get the memo that 11 was the cool number to eat," she tweets2.

Ah well, these things happen, I guess.

Anyway, talking of communications cock-ups, here's Kok, a communicating cock.

poutine eating trophy again
There it is again! Face it. It's ace. © MLE

"Top eating all round and what a fackin' fantastic trophy," says Rake & Herald fashion editor, London cabbie and self-appointed competitive eating pundit Kok Wang.

"If I'd realised that was the prize, I'd have thrown me titfa into the ring a long time ago."

"I'll tell you what, that FIFA lot can shove their World Cup right up their jinker."

"That's a fackin' work of art, that is."

"Anyway, big shout out to Notorious B.O.B."

"That's the second time in as many weekends he's walked away with silver."

"What's more, right, I was having a gander round his website earlier and he seems like a right geeze."

"As you may or may not be aware, MLE is against home training on safety grounds."

"Now, whatever you think of that, this rule is something that Notorious strictly adheres to, meaning that when he gets up on stage and wolfs down a load of poutine or chilli or whatever, his performance is basically like that of a concert pianist walking in off the street and then belting out a load of flawless Chopin in front of the punters without once tinkling the keys since the last time they done a public recital round the old Joanna."

"Take, for example, the entrance in his Thoughts section for April 23 – St George's Day, by the way – where he talks about 'training hard' for two upcoming chowdowns by walking 'back and forth' across his garden a few times."

"Some, he observes, might just call it mowing the lawn."

"Notorious, on the other hand, calls it training."

"Furthermore, despite eating meat in competitions, he's actually a vegetarian the rest of the time."

"Think about it."

"This bloke doesn't just not train, he doesn't even eat most of the stuff he then thunders down like an expert in the company of some of the greatest gurgitators the planet has ever known."

"You'd think that if you had, I dunno, a meatball eating sesh coming up, you might be inclined to at least sample a few of 'em before the big day just to suss out the taste and texture or what-have-you."

"But not the B.O.B., mate."

"He goes in cold and comes out clutching a medal!"

"He claims to be 'competitive eating's only hardcore eater'."

"Well, I can't say he's the only one, but he's bloody hardcore, I'll give him that."

"Notorious B.O.B., respect is due!"

"And respect to that fackin' trophy an' all."

"It's a bloody peach."

1) Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut (19 0.5 lb boxes; C$2,000; first-place medal);

2=) Tim 'Eater X' Janus (17; see below);

2=) Bob 'Notorious B.O.B.' Shoudt (17; see below);

4) Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti (16.75; C$600);

5) Matt Bonanno (13.75; C$400);

6) Meredith 'Deep Fried Diva' Boxberger (11.33; C$200);

7=) Ben Do (11);

7=) Yasir 'the Doggy Bag' Salem (11);

7=) 'Buffalo' Jim Reeves (11);

7=) Micah 'Wing Kong' Collins (11);

11) Larell Marie 'the Real Deal' Mele (10.5);

12) Andrew 'the Bear but not to be confused with Jamie 'the Bear' McDonald' Kogutkiewicz (7.25);

13) Maria 'Edible' (7);

14) 'Wild' Bill Myers (eating with a fork) (5.75); and

15) Mary 'I Love 'Em Hot!' Bowers (5).

NB. According to the MLE website, the second prize was "$1,000 plus [a] second-place medal" while the third prize was "$800 plus [a] third-place medal".

While we assume MLE means Canadian dollars (hence our use of 'C$'), we're not sure what the plan was in the event of a tie.

Perhaps, both Eater X and Notorious B.O.B. won a grand or perhaps they simply split the second and third prizes between them, resulting in C$900 apiece.

Who can say?

Not us.

F--k knows what they did about the medals.

Cut the silver in half?

Answers on a postcard, please.


Yeah, they got C$900 "plus [a] second-place medal" each.

Which means there must have been a reserve stock of medals.

Or something.

End of update.

If you're interested in seeing some pics showing something other than that magnificent trophy, we advise you to have a click of this, which will lead you to a photo gallery on the excellent news site.

We say 'excellent' because it also has a great Weird News section, stories from which regularly pop up on our own Rake-O-Matic Newsfeed-U-Like when that Rake bloke can be arsed to update it.


Video-wise, we haven't yet found anything from this year's bash other than this, which includes a short, badly shot section between 1 min 40 and 4 mins 04.

The rest is a load of bollocks.

If you can hold your horses for a bit, though, it appears that a road movie is currently in the making that follows the exploits of Wing Kong, the Real Deal, Wild Bill and Notorious B.O.B. as they drive up from the States to take part in the said chowdown.

Imagine Thelma and Louise with face-stuffing, I guess.

Anyway, for more details on that have a clicksy here.

In the meantime, here's a short promo vid for last year's poutine pummelling we've embedded from Smoke's YouTube channel.

The music's flipping ace.

Sorta like Les Négresses Vertes really.

Only different.

Right, gotta go.

The chippy's just opened.


Scrub that about there being no vids.

In the time it took to get to the chippy and back the following got posted up (or at least brought to the Rake & Herald's attention by me looking at Eat Feats the moment I got in).

The first is raw footage embedded from JogBird's YouTube channel, while the second is an edited piece with a Jaws interview from the YouTube channel of KBDProductionsTV.

Now to watch 'em while eating me saveloy and chips.


It's just been brought to our attention that this was the first year that half-pound boxes were used, which might explain why last year's results were given in pounds not boxes on the MLE website.

How embarrassing.


However, rather than us rewriting everything, we'd like to invite you to play a little game.

It's great fun and very simple.

All you have to do is pretend we never referred to any pre-2012 results as being in boxes but instead in pounds.

To do this, just divide every pre-2012 total stated above by two.

So, for example, last year the Deep Fried Diva ate 4.1 lbs not 8.2 boxes.

Cool, huh?

Especially as we almost kinda get to cover our arses while you get to have the most fun ever.


Again, sorry about that.

Blame Kok.

Honestly, he's bloody useless.

See also X marks the shock, posted 8/10/12.


1) In the UK, what we call 'chips', North Americans call 'fries'. Meanwhile, what North Americans call 'chips', we call 'crisps'. Importantly, in British English 'fag' is a very common name for a cigarette. Here's some more linguistic differences.

2) The Real Deal actually tweeted: "Didn't get the memo tho that 11 was the "cool" # to eat 2day". However, with tweets, while we endeavour not to change the meaning, for stylistic reasons we do tend to turn them into proper printable English. Otherwise, it just looks weird in our opinion.

(Vids update same day; Deep Dish and prizes updates 16/10/12; correction re pounds versus boxes 18/10/12)

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